Perinchief returns to Bermuda squad
Antonio Perinchief makes his return to the Bermuda team for this week's Serevi RugbyTown Sevens after spending seven months on the sidelines.
Perinchief was banned by World Rugby after failing a drugs test in Mexico in December, when Bermuda were playing in the NACRA Sevens and CAC Games.
That suspension was finally overturned in June after the governing body accepted the fact that the positive test for the anabolic steroid Clenbuterol was brought about by eating contaminated beef.
Tom Healy, the Bermuda coach, is happy to have Perinchief back and hopes he is able to put the past several months behind him.
“Through no fault of his own, Antonio's had a really tough time,” Healy said. “But, he's trained with us since he's been cleared, was one of our better players in Mexico, and is another young guy who could do really well [at Sevens] if he commits and sticks with it.”
Bermuda leave for Colorado today, with nine locally-based players scheduled to be joined in Glendale by several members of Serevi Rugby. The Bermuda contingent is a blend of youth and experience, and includes senior players such as Healy, Dan Cole, and Tashon DeSilva alongside Nick Pell and Haleigh Tucker.
Pell and Tucker will both be making their first appearances for Bermuda at this level, and Healy hopes they can force their way into the starting line-up. Pell, in particular, is one player Healy feels has earned his opportunity with the team.
“Nick has been working [hard] all summer, has devoted time to the gym, he's eager and it's when you have a player like that, that makes you want to invest further in him.”
The small Bermuda contingent, and the need for guest players, is down to a lack of players on the Island who meet the increasingly high standards that Healy, and the Bermuda Rugby Football Union, is demanding for the Sevens squad. Those standards have been raised by the success Bermuda is beginning to enjoy in the sport, and the amount of money that the BRFU is investing in Sevens rugby, which is now an Olympic sport.
“For whatever reason, other guys weren't available for selection, which put us in this predicament,” Healy said.
“There is a lot of focus on getting fit and improving skills, that requires a lot of effort from players, and time to train, and when players do train they are pushed. We apply expectations of what we want to get out of this, and that causes some guys to shy away.
“They're not motivated to give that level of commitment, which is fine, but like I said, the expectations are high and justifiably so.”
Last year Bermuda won the shield competition in Colorado, and Healy believes with the change in playing personnel, doing so again would constitute progress on Bermuda's part. Ideally, the Bermuda coach would like his side to get to the next level, and would see finishing twelfth or above as an improvement.
Bermuda face a tough task though as they have been grouped with Glendale Raptors, who have traditionally made the semi-finals of the cup competition, as well as the Upright Rugby Rouges, a team made up of young Canadian players with aspirations of playing at the highest level.
Bermuda play their first games on Friday against Stars Rugby, the other team in pool B, at 5.06pm (Bermuda time), and then take on Rouges at 8.02pm. On Saturday, Bermuda play Glendale Raptors in their final pool match, with the cup, bowl, and shield competition quarter-finals taking place that afternoon. The semi-finals and finals will be on Sunday.
Bermuda: Tashon DeSilva, Nicholas Pell, Tom Healy, David Lunn, Dan Cole, Richard Cumbers, Antonio Perinchief, Hadleigh Tucker, Neville Zuill.
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