Bermuda banking on extra experience
Bermuda start their North American Caribbean Rugby Association Championship campaign with a qualifier against USA South in Atlanta tomorrow.
Roedolf van der Westhuizen, the Bermuda coach, whose side left the Island yesterday, has strengthened the experimental squad that was demolished by Mexico 56-9 in an international friendly last month.
He is expecting a tough game against USA South, a much younger and quicker opponent, although he is confident that Bermuda’s extra know-how and experience will give his side an advantage.
“We have made some changes from the game against Mexico and believe that we are fielding our strongest line up for this game,” Van der Westhuizen said.
“Our focus will be to be very clinical in defence and compete hard at the breakdown to ensure we have sufficient ball possession to dictate the pace of the game.
“The USA South team will be a much younger team than Bermuda, which can be seen as a disadvantage if you focus on speed and fitness, however, the experience we have will count just as much and even more in a tight game situation, which I expect this game to be.”
Van der Westhuizen took charge of the coaching reins before last year’s NACRA Championship, replacing Lawrence Bird, who had led Bermuda to consecutive tournament wins.
In the absence of several key players and, perhaps owing to undercooked preparations, Bermuda finished bottom of the North Zone and have to qualify for the championships, starting with their match against USA South. Bermuda’s first home match of the campaign will be against Cayman Islands at the National Sports Centre on June 7.
Bermuda’s squad: Backs: Tom Healy, Tommy Edwards, Neville Zuill, Paull Davis, Rich Cumbers, Corey Boyce, Dan Cole, Bongani Ndlovu, Paddy Graham, Richard Boyd
Forwards: Paul Dobinson, Mike Williams, Dustin Archibald, Dave Rourke, Tashon Desilva, Paul Canfield, Thomas Greenslade, Peter Dunkerley, Jahan Cedenio, Edward Barnes, Adam Richards, Conor McGlynn
n The Bermuda Rugby Football Union has hailed the success of its Serevi Rugby coaching programme, which involved several coaches including Ben Gollings, the England sevens legend, visiting the Island this month.
More than 350 youngsters, aged between 10 and 19, took part in the development programme, which is sponsored by XL.
A BRFU spokesperson said: “We’re very passionate to spread the enjoyment and the core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. They are providing a positive influence on how rugby can change lives.”
Serevi Rugby is run by Waisale Serevi, a top former Fijian sevens player.
Serevi and his coaching team are regular visitors to the Island as part of their three-year agreement with the BRFU’s Beyond Rugby Programme.
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