Requalifying might help Bermuda, says rugby chief
Bermuda rugby coach Roedolf van der Westhuizen believes his team will benefit from having to requalify for next year’s Caribbean Championship.
Van der Westhuizen’s side were defeated 20-14 by Cayman Islands in Georgetown at the weekend in their final Championship game to finish bottom of the North Zone group.
The defeat means Bermuda will have to qualify for the second round stage of the competition in 12 months’ time, which Van der Westhuizen believes isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
“I’m not too disappointed about us having to requalify for the simple reason it’s easier to prepare if you have more games to play,” said Van der Westhuizen, whose side lost their opening Championship game 24-14 to USA South.
“If we have two or three games before we get to the second round stage it will be beneficial to our cause.
“It was a little bit hard to play at this level straight off the bat without any warm-up matches.
“I don’t think (qualifying) will be a hindrance at all. It will probably be for the good of Bermuda rugby and the team are quite looking forward to the new challenge of getting back up there.”
Van der Westhuizen, who replaced Lawrence Bird as head coach, reckons it’s important Bermuda build more games into their Championship preparations.
“If we qualify next year and stay in the top group, the real challenge is how we address the issue of not playing enough games before the start of the Championship.”
He added: “The players will have a well deserved break now. I think it’s been three-and-half years of constant rugby and that’s one of the reasons we struggled this season the players haven’t really had a break.”
Despite dominating for long periods against Cayman, Van der Westhuizen said his team made critical mistakes at crucial times of the game.
“The game was ours for the taking and we played most of the rugby as we did in the USA South game, but clinical mistakes cost us.
“We gave the ball away cheaply which is unfortunate and we let in a penalty try towards the end which made it difficult for us to win it.”
Bermuda’s scorers were Tom Healy (try) and Tom Edwards (three penalty kicks).