Cayman Islands National XVs Rugby team outscored Mexico in the second half but fell victim to a sluggish start in a 34-24 loss to Mexico in Rugby Americas North semifinal play Saturday (2 July) in Mexico City.
This year’s tournament doubles as a Rugby World Cup qualifier, which means the loss ends Cayman’s run to try and qualify for the competition.
The game was played nearly 8,600 feet above sea level, which some say helped Mexico jump out to a 27-7 lead by halftime.
Cayman outscored Las Serpientes 17-7 after the break but fell just short. Michael Wilson scored two tries while Harold Westin had one for the Cayman Islands. Shaune McDermott hit a penalty and three tries.
Cayman Islands Head Coach Phil Pretorius posted the following on social media following the loss:
To the players you showed immense courage. A physical well prepared side was gasping for air after 10 minutes, at 8,616 feet above sea level, (where) no international games should be played. After trailing 7-27 at halftime we only conceded a charge down try from the halfway line in the 2nd half and scored 17 points ourselves. That was a testament to your courage and commitment. That score could have easily gone to 70 as in the case of Bermuda and that was at 7,350 feet! Instead you achieved what very few has achieved before and that is by outscoring Mexico in Mexico comprehensively in the 2nd half. Another 10 minutes and we could have won the game. Talk is cheap but rallying when your lungs and legs won’t have any more tells you about the character of the team.
From a personal point I thought we had the beating of Mexico even with their vastly superior numbers and funding.
Mexico now plays Guyana in the Rugby Americas North championship on 23 July.