The way forward for rugby
A new head coach for the men’s national rugby team will be named by the executive members in the Bahamas Rugby Football Union(BRFU)shortly, with national team training starting immediately afterwards for all selected players.
The head coach should have been named before the Christmas break, according to BRFU Director Elystan Miles. He revealed that the hold up was due to the indecision to go with a local or an international coach.
He said: ”In the past we have had success in bringing in some foreign coaches, but our local game has developed enough where we think we can do everything domestically now. That is kind of important to us. The selection process has started already. We are now down to a short list, so before any announcement is made, the capitan has to be informed and the squad has to be made happy. We are quite democratic, but the decision shouldn’t last too long, really. No names are released as yet, but we should probably know in about a week or two. As it stands now, because everyone has to be informed, the announcement might be made this weekend, which means the national team will start training by Monday. That will give us about four months for the NACRA tournament.”
Since there are no major international tournaments for the men’s national team this year, the squad will only prepare for the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association(NACRA)Championships. These regional championships will host countries like Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Mexico, the United States, the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. It does not qualify any country for any major international tournament, but the World Cup is next year and The Bahamas is hoping to take part.
Miles stated that the NACRA tournament will be used a warm-up by the national squad for other major events. So, in order to have success at this regional tournament, the BRFU is organizing some games, between April and May for the team. This, said Miles, should help the team improve on its fifth place finish from last year’s tournament, that was held in Cayman Islands. About 12 countries participated in that tournament in 2010 and Miles is expecting about the same amount this year.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t finish in the top three,”said Miles.”Trinidad is still the powerhouse in the region, but there is no reason why we shouldn’t be better than everyone else. I think we would have a struggle when it comes to Trinidad, but we will be ready.
“The winner in the north will go and play the winner in the south. We expect the winner of the north to be either us, Bermuda or Mexico. These are the three strongest. We know we have to win two games, so I am guessing that those two games will have to be over Bermuda and Mexico. There is also Cayman, Jamaica and the USA so I am only guessing. We have to be better than Bermuda to qualify, so we will have to win the away game, which is in April and then the home game, probably against Mexico in May, and that will decide who goes on to play in the championship. I will be disappointed if we don’t make the championship.
“There will be a couple of pre-tournaments. We will be going to the Rugby Fest in February-that is a huge tournament in Fort Lauderdale. About 40 teams will be competing in that tournament. We have also invited a lot of American clubs to come down and play games in February and March. We already have a couple confirmed for March, but we need to get a lot more games in. Getting games is the most difficult thing for us, really. We can train all we want, but if we don’t have the competition, it is hard. We have to travel to the states so we can get some more games in and also get teams to come down. We try to help out by paying for either ground transportation or accommodation, whatever we can do to get the competition here, but that has always been a struggle, getting the competition here.”
In other related rugby news, the local league will continue with play on Saturday at the Winton Rugby Pitch with one game scheduled-the Cuckoos playing Baillou. That game will start at 3:00 p.m.