Jamaica Rugby’s Mens 7’s team returned from the World Rugby Challenger Series in Chile and Uruguay with creditable 10th and 8th place finishes. The new competition, which pits 16 countries against each other over two consecutive weekends, is fully funded by World Rugby as part of their commitment to improve the second tier of nations and provided a pathway to the iconic 10-leg annual World Series.
Jamaica posted wins over Paraguay, Colombia, and Brazil before beating European and African oppositions for the first time in Portugal and Uganda, while losing narrowly to Papua New Guinea and more decisive losses to the professional teams such as 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Olympic hosts Japan, Germany and Hong Kong.
“It was a great opportunity for our guys to experience this level of competition in back to back weekends, and fantastic preparation for the Olympic Repechage tournament in June where we will face even more intense opposition,” said Jamaica Head Coach Steve Lewis. “While we showed distinct improvement, there remains a gulf between ourselves and the fully-funded teams such as Japan and Germany and we did not show the requisite accuracy in those games I was hoping for. But we are clearly moving in the right direction and the future is bright with solid contribution from new players such as Mike St.Claire and the teenager Dylan Davis.”
Next up for Jamaica is the Olympic qualifier in June where both the Men’s and Women’s programs will be hoping to book a ticket to Tokyo. “We are grateful to the Jamaican Olympic Association and the Sports Development Foundation for their continued support, as this support has aided us to get to where we are right now. It is our hope that we can get support from corporate Jamaica and give our national teams (Crocs and Lady Crocs) more consistent support and development to bring us to tier one and compete with the big boys and girls” said Chairman Jerry Benzwick.