Players told to forget about win over Turks
Bermuda's rugby players have been told to forget about their emphatic win over Turks and Caicos, and turn their attention to Bahamas in 12 days time.
Roedolf van der Westhuizen is expecting his side's second game in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association Championship to be a much tougher encounter.
The Bermuda coach told his players yesterday that they needed to forget about Saturday's win “very, very soon.”
“I said to the players today [Monday] via e-mail ‘put this behind us, it was great, but it's done. What's ahead of us is going to be much more difficult',” he said.
Van der Westhuizen said that his first win as coach, while “fantastic, and a bit of a relief” had increased the pressure on him and his coaches.
“It puts more pressure on us as a coaching staff to ensure we focus harder for the second game because realistically Bahamas are not going to be a pushover,” he said. “If anything the danger is we go into that game thinking we have won it already because we were able to rollover Turks and Caicos.”
Such was the gulf in ability between Bermuda and Turks that the home side could have been forgiven for switching off, that they stuck to their game plan was something Van der Westhuizen took a great deal of satisfaction from.
“When you play a weaker side than yourself then there is always a danger of lowering the quality of your game to their standards, and getting into the sort of headless chicken frantic type of running around as everybody tries to score tries,” he said.
“There were one or two times we did go away from our game plan, but for the most part we stuck to our structure and most of our tries came through three or four phases, and the gaps opened, and that's why most of our tries were by the winger [Durnferd Davis] and full back [Dan Cole] because the forwards did the hard yards.”
The forwards got on the score sheet too, with Paul Dobinson and Van der Westhuizen both scoring their first international tries in the second half. The Bermuda coach made his debut on Saturday, a moment he called “a big honour”, as did Chris Stafford, Richard Howells, John Quigley, Nigel Burgess, and Patrick Calow.
Although all the players came through the game largely unscathed, barring the usual dead legs and shoulders, Bermuda will be forced to make changes for the game in Bahamas on March 21 by work and family commitments.
However, the strength of the 30-man squad means that any disruption should be minimal and Van der Westhuizen expects to take a strong team to the Bahamas.
Bermuda last played in the Bahamas in 2012, when a Jahan Cedenio try and 11 points from the boot of Ian Henderson was enough to see them to 16-8 win over their hosts.
Eight players remain from that team, although in the backs only Tom Healy and Tommy Edwards have survived. In the forwards Dobinson, Cedenio, Thomas Greenslade, who was an integral part of Bermuda's dominant pack against Turks, Mike Williams, Aldo Campbell and Peter Dunkerley, the captain, were all part of the team three years ago.
Bermuda’s North American and Caribbean Rugby Association Championship game against Turks and Caicos was just one of five matches played at the National Sports Centre on Saturday.
Five other games including boys and girls youth teams, and the senior women’s teams, all took place at North Field in front of a healthy crowd of supporters.
Roedolf van der Westhuizen, vice-president of the Bermuda Rugby Football Union, said it had been nice to see those games happen, especially as overnight rain had put them in doubt.
“I’m very, very pleased at the fact that we could get a youth girls game, two youth boys games, as well as two women’s games played on Saturday,” he said.
“I’m very pleased we were able to play all five of those games and it was really, really nice showcase for the sport, not only at senior level, but through the ranks.”