The Guyana government stepped in on Friday and bailed the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) out of its financial predicament allowing for the male and female rugby teams to compete at this year’s Rugby America’s North (RAN) 7s Championship this weekend in Mexico.
The two teams participation had hung in the balance after the GRFU announced it needed around seven million dollars more to send the two teams to Mexico, adding that it had requested assistance from the government.
GRFU president Peter Green last night by e-mail confirmed that the government had answered the union’s call but the specifics of the government’s assistance was not disclosed. Green, however, stated via email that “We are grateful and hope to prove our worth.”
“The Union and its players wish to express their gratitude to the President His excellency David Granger for intervening and affording the National teams the chance to participate at this high level along with contributions from the GOA, Noble House Sea foods, The Ministry of Natural Resources, Minister Harmon, Norton and others. Despite not attaining the targets the teams departed prepared for sacrifices to bring glory to their country,” a release from the GRFU stated.
Meanwhile, the GRFU selection committee dropped a bombshell when it announced the men’s team, which incidentally departed Guyana yesterday for Mexico, for the Sevens tournament.
Among the casualties are former national captain, Ryan Gonsalves who has been a fixture in the national set up for more than a decade, along with the experienced trio of Vallon Adams, Rupert Giles and Blaise Bailey.
The four players, who were part of the team that represented Guyana at the Hong Kong 7s earlier this year, have been replaced by Rondel McArthur, Jamal Angus, Dominic Lespierre and Lancelot Adonis.
The release from the GRFU explained that Gonsalves has been given full time responsibility as the National XV’s captain with a view towards participation in a number on international engagements next year.
With the extreme importance of this championship series looming Skipper Ryan Gonsalves has been mandated with full time responsibilities as National fifteens captain spearheading a formidable side which will include the likes of USA Based Vallon Adams, Ahmad Isaacs and Trey Selman along with latest local sensation Osei McKenzie as the Green Machine venture into deeper waters participating in the Americas Rugby Championships for the first time with one other North American team (Mexico or Trinidad) along with two south American teams to be named in the B Tier Tournament in August. Prior to that the Green Machine will be locking horns in the tier 1 grouping comprising USA South, Mexico and Cayman Islands prior to participating in the Americas Championships over the coming months April to July. Successful participation will see Guyana being promoted to play against the likes of Argentina, Canada, Chile, USA, Colombia. Guyana are currently ranked 9th in the Americas and 49th in the world. The rosters for 2018 will be released shortly. It is to be noted that the senior players will find themselves being rotated between the sevens and fifteens squads / and even playing in both if needed, as the Union’s technical staff strive for the right balance to achieve success,” the release stated.
During the two-day event this weekend, 10 men’s teams and seven women’s teams will compete in the two-day tournament.
Guyana, an eight-time overall winner has been placed in Pool A along with Barbados and the Cayman Islands. Pool B consists of Jamaica, Bermuda and the Dominican Republic. A tough Pool C will see Trinidad and Tobago, the host, British Virgin Islands and ruggers from Curacao locking horns.
The men’s competition on the first day will be a pool round robin, with seedings based on the 2016 standings. On day one the top two teams in each pool go through to play off in two further pools and the remaining four teams will play off in a separate round robin tournament as follows:
The format allows for six teams after day one to be in contention to win the tournament and qualify for CASCO Games 2018.
On the women’s side, a round robin tournament over two days will take place, where each team will play each other (three matches each day per team) and final positions will be based on final standings in the group. Women’s teams include Jamaica, Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, Bermuda, Dominican Republic and French Guiana.
All matches will be streamed live and fans can follow the action on social media using the hashtag #RAN7s.
The squad of selected players for this year’s RAN Championships which will also be serving as the Qualifiers for The World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Central American and Caribbean Games in 2018 is as follows: Dwayne Schroeder, (Capt.) Avery Corbin, Patrick King, Rondel McArthur, Jamal Angus Lancelot, Adonis, Rickford Cummings, Peabo Hamilton, Richard Staglon, Claudius Butts Ronald Mayers and Dominic Lespierre.
The women’s team reads:- Collette Hope, (Captain), Latoya Cordis, Alisha Mentore, Cleotta Dublin, Sabola Gray, Cindy Fraser, Tricia Munroe, Sasha James, Shonette Mc Farlane, Abioce Heywood, Kean Andrews and Mandy Browne.
Officials: – Petal Adams, Manager, Theodore Henry, Coach and Abiola James, physiotherapist.
The national women’s team is scheduled to depart today.