Van der Westhuizen praises team despite defeat
Bermuda’s new rugby coach Roedolf van der Westhuizen remained upbeat despite losing his first game in charge of the national team against USA South at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.
Bermuda 14 USA Rugby South 24
The surprising defeat means Bermuda are unable to defend the North American Caribbean Rugby Championship (NACRA) title they won under previous coach Lawrence Bird in 2011 and 2012.
USA South’s triumph sees them advance to the Championship finals as the North Zone group winners.
A Lucas Baistrocchi penalty gave the visitors the lead before teammate Derek Wolfe powered over the line for a try that Baistrocchi then kicked between the posts.
Bermuda hooker Michael Williams reduced the deficit with a try converted by winger Andre Landy before both sides were reduced to 14 men when Dustin Archibald (Bermuda) and Dave Meehan (USA) were sent off.
In the second half USA added another try through Kirk Swanner, converted by the reliable Baistrocchi, but Bermuda fought back when Jaman Cedenio burst through the USA South ranks to score.
Outside Centre Thomas Edwards kicked the conversion but USA then pulled further ahead through a try by Ty Elkins.
Van der Westhuizen believed his team should plenty of heart but lacked discipline in the first half.
“I’m a bit gutted, I don’t think we were clinical enough at times and put ourselves under pressure at set phases,” said the South African.
“I think we just didn’t play clinical enough and discipline played a part in the first forty minutes. It’s time to go back to the drawing board and start over.”
He added: “I’m proud of the boys; they showed heart and among the chaos with red cards and yellow cards we never lost sight of what we were trying to do.
“I thought we had a fantastic second half and if we had played that way in the first half then we would have been in front and not chasing.”
Van der Westhuizen urged his players to respond to the defeat by beating Cayman Islands in their final North Zone game in a two weeks.
Bermuda must beat Cayman to avoid the North Zone qualifiers next summer.
“It’s not a complete dead-rubber (against Cayman); we need to win that game to keep our second seed so we don’t have to qualify for the top zone next year,” he said.
“Although we can’t make the final we can still go to Cayman and give them a good-hiding.”
Bermuda’s squad: Paul Dobinson, Mike Williams, Dustin Archabald, Aldo Campbell, Darren Richardson, Conor McGlynn, Thomas Greenslade, Peter Dunkerley, Tom Healy, Chris Naylor, Andre landy, Paull Davis, Tommy Edwards, Antonio Perincheif, Alun Thomas, Bongani Ndlovu, Jahan Cedeno, Teshan Desilva, Pieter Erasmus, Patrick Graham, Steven Husbands, Patrick Richardson
USA South’s squad: Chad Haynes, Eduardo Herrera, Jason Hinchmann, Dave Meehan, Stephen Hickey, Tyler Bishop, Derek Wolfe, Brenden Smith, Charlie Hutchings, Lucas Biastrocchi, Mark Fulmer, Ty Elkins, Amir Kahn, Rod Ceasar, Ben Winiarczyk, Wayne Chermley, Michael Dixon, Matt Abernathy, Kirk Swanner, Jake Finger, Grant Snyder, Mason Howard, Josh Wolverton