U16s rugby get experience on U.K. tour

Cayman Rugby’s Under 16 side has completed a developmental tour to the United Kingdom where they played three exhibition matches and participated in training sessions.

On their first day in the UK, players underwent training with Jason Duffy, the head coach of England’s U16s, who also oversees the Junior development of Sedbergh Rugby.

The second developmental training session saw the CRFU U16s being trained by the professional coaches from Sale Sharks Rugby Football Club. “The CRFU were also shown how the Sale Sharks setup before a match and what preparation goes into a professional rugby game,” a Cayman Rugby release noted.

The Cayman players were given the opportunity to watch the senior Sale Sharks play in an Aviva Premiership match against the Worcester Warriors and then meet some of the players, including former internationals such as Peter Stringer and Mike Phillips.

Cayman’s U16s played their first game was against Macclesfield Rugby Football Club, which has a handful of their Under 16’s involved in the Sale Sharks Academy.

“Our players fought hard but lacked the defensive fortitude to hold back the Macclesfield attacking opportunities. The team learnt that in order to attack we needed to defend better and as the one on one defensive technique improved, as did our overall game,” the release said.

Cayman ended up winning the second half three tries to two with a final score of 50-22 in favour of Macclesfield, following their strong first half showing.

The second game saw the CRFU U16’s take on Durham City Rugby Football Club. “We were also exposed on this day to the wonderful opportunities that Durham University provides. Players could ask questions relating to academic requirements for enrolment. Durham University Rugby Coaches were able to answer any questions relating to rugby at Durham and at universities generally,” the Cayman Rugby statement added.

The game against Durham City was the second in two days and CRFU U16s had a better defensive showing. The first half left both teams at one try each. In the second half, the Durham side ended up stretching Cayman over the field and holding on to possession of the ball was a challenge for Cayman. “We learnt that ensuring we have enough focus and concentration for 70 minutes of rugby will get us the win,” the team noted. Durham City finished the game with a 24-14 win.

The final game saw the CRFU young men face many difficulties and challenges. Fatigue, Unfamiliar weather and playing conditions together with muscle soreness due to playing two games in two days. Wharfedale Rugby Club was the final game.

“The Cayman players represented themselves well in the final game. Defensive strength was not in our favour but the grit and commitment was very evident in the final game on tour, and the experiences learnt from this and the other games will be invaluable going forward, as will the overall experience of a tour of this nature in what is an almost alien environment for most of them,” a Cayman Rugby representative said.

Here’s a bit of background about the trip:

In May 2016, our then Cayman Rugby Football Union (CRFU) U14’s had accomplished another undefeated tournament in the Bahamas at the Annual Freeport International Rugby Festival.

The Coaches and Management at that moment knew that in order to develop this group further, they would need to be exposed to stronger opposition. The Americas currently have no tournaments available at a time that Cayman could have all its overseas school based players and our locally based players together on island for preparation.

An opportunity was found with one of the top rugby schools in England, Sedbergh School. Through the hard work and planning by Chris Rowland, Mick Kehoe (Management of the CRFU U16’s), and Martin Speight and Jason Duffy (Sedbergh School) the three-game tour was organised.

“Our appreciation and thanks must be given to all our sponsors as well as Sedbergh School and the clubs we played on the tour. Tim Fury and Tradeview for their title sponsorship. To our other supporting sponsors, Island Supply, Rawlinson & Hunter, FFP, Queensgate Bank and Trust, Fidelity Bank, Cayman Junior Rugby Trust and the Children’s Clinic Cayman Islands, we thank you for flying the flag of development for Rugby in the Cayman Islands,” the CRFU release said.

“We are looking forward to seeing the next group of Cayman Islands U16s take this tour and grow as a players and individuals. We also look forward to continuing to see the growth of our current CRFU U16s,” it added.


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