The national 15s rugby team departed for Colombia yesterday on a quest to secure maximum tournament points during the inaugural Americas 15s Rugby Challenge which kicks off Sunday.
Guyana’s outfit will compete against powerhouses like Mexico, the host country and Paraguay.
Each team will play three games in the round-robin tournament – August 26 and August 29, with the final round set for September 1. The winner will be the team with the most tournament points.
According to the fixtures, Team Guyana first takes to the field against Colombia Sunday. The local ruggers will then tackle Paraguay Wednesday followed by an all-important match up against arch rivals, Mexico next Sunday.
The first edition of this new tournament, created by Rugby Americas, will be run by the Federación Colombiana de Rugby, which has chosen the city of Medellín to host it; the venue will be the Estadio Cincuentenario.
Two representatives from each region will take part: Guyana and Mexico will represent the North and host Colombia and Paraguay will represent the South.
Paraguay and Colombia are ranked 40th and 41st in the World Rugby Rankings and are also the best ranked teams among the four participants in the Championship. Guyana arrives as the 2017 RAN Senior Men’s Champion and Mexico has been invited because of its major market designation.
Manager of the team, Solomon Sam stated that despite being the lowest ranked team in the competition, Guyana will be seeking to pull off upsets. He also noted that “we have nothing to lose” and said as a result, the team will be playing freely and without the pressure of some of the other teams.
“All the teams are ranked higher than us and it will be a challenging tournament, but we have nothing to lose. So we expect to go out there and play freely and to the best of our abilities.”
Sam added that he was confident that his mixed squad, which is made up of “five rookies, young hungry players and seasoned veterans,” will give a good account of themselves.
The 26-member squad named recently is: Ryan Gonsalves (Captain), Jason Tyrell, Allain Crawford, Rondel McArthur, Kevon David, Grantley Williams, Richard Staglon, Jamal Angus, Cloyd Prowell, Lancelot Adonis, Avery Corbin, Claudius Butts, Godfrey Broomes, David Garnett, Joseph Rahaman, Cyon Kitt, Ahmad Isaacs, Vallon Adams, Walter George, Sean Phillips, James Osborne, Daniel DeAbreu Toby David, Selwin Henry, Oneil Charles and Jamal Darrell.