Cayman’s Rugby Sevens finishing 5th overall at the 2017 RAN Sevens in Mexico. Cayman started day one with a loss to Guyana 26-14 but followed that up with a win over Barbados 21-14. Cayman’s Robbie Cribb says the team’s improvement on an 8th place finish from last year’s Rugby Americas North Sevens Championship is a positive takeaway.
“It’s still not where we wanted to be, but definitely an improvement. Day one, Guyana squeaked by, we were in it right until the end, the ball didn’t bounce our way. With Barbados, we struggled with them last year so it was nice to get the win there.”
On day two, Cayman lost a close game to eventual winner Jamaica 19-17 and got blown out by Mexico 33-0. In the fifth and final game of the tournament, Cayman defeated Bermuda 21-14 to secure 5th place. Cribb says the Jamaica game was a turning point.
“We had a lot of missed opportunities, but at the end of the day, we were right there with them (Jamaica). Against Mexico, a lot of big hits, very physical game, but we didn’t get the job done. We had a little bit of redemption, finishing the tournament on a high beating Bermuda.”
Cayman Rugby Technical Director Jovan Bowles added the team showed moments of brilliance.
“If you look at all our games, we had massive moments of control. We were patient, the one element we did lack was our defensive structure. We had problems with our line integrity, spacing and being honest in spacing, and that lead to us overcompensating when the competition moved left to right. When we had ball in hand, we were dictating the game of rugby from start to finish.”
Bowles says however the loss to Jamaica was debilitating.
“Our most important game against Jamaica, in a lot of those moments with the 50/50 balls against Jamaica, we were losing the ball on contact. Our supportive structure wasn’t available. Overall we were in it all the way through.”
The fifth place finish takes Cayman out of qualification for crucial regional tournaments in 2018 such as Commonwealth Games, CAC Games and Rugby Sevens World Cup. The new Cayman Rugby Sevens season begins July 2018.