Revenge is all the motivation Bermuda need
Roedolf van der Westhuizen believes revenge is the only motivation that Bermuda should need in their Rugby Americas North Championship game against Bahamas tomorrow.
Bermuda were beaten in Nassau in last year's competition, losing 21-15 to a late Charles Smith try in a game they could have won comfortably.
Van der Westhuizen, the Bermuda coach, hopes that memory, plus the 75-10 mauling they received at the hands of Mexico two weeks ago, will drive his team to their first win.
“I am sure everybody who played that game feels like we owe them one,” he said. “We don't need more motivation than that I don't think.”
The Mexico defeat was not unexpected given Bermuda are in a transitional period and Mexico are a country on the up. Still, some of the tackling left a lot to be desired and a flimsy back line was exposed on a regular basis.
That back line is expected to be just as flimsy on Saturday despite Bermuda being at home, with Van der Westhuizen's side lacking depth in many of the positions, with the centres a particular area of concern.
“You would think things would be better at home,” Van der Westhuizen said.
Such is the lack of depth in the midfield that the inexperienced pair of Aldon Campbell and Antonio Perinchief will start there, with the equally inexperienced Jahniko Francis on the right wing.
Nigel Burgess will play on the left, with Tommy Edwards at fly half and Tom Healy marshalling things behind the scrum.
Dan Cole will add some speed from full back.
The retirement of several players, including forwards Paul Dobinson and Mike Williams, after the defeat to Bahamas last year has forced Bermuda's hand in other areas, none more so than the front row, where Conor McGlynn and Darren Richardson will start for only the second time in those positions.
McGlynn, a flanker, has been pressed into service at hooker, while Richardson comes in at loose head. To accommodate the changes Thomas Greenslade, who played the entire game at hooker in Nassau last year, has been moved to the blind side.
However, Van der Westhuizen said that both moves in the front row were ones he probably would have made, especially where Richardson was concerned.
“I've been trying to turn him [Richardson] into a prop since I started coaching,” he said. “He's a brilliant prospect at prop. If he can get sharp on the technical side he will be a force to be reckoned with in the front row.”
McGlynn, meanwhile, is in the twilight of his career and Van der Westhuizen said his switch to the front row had been “a long time coming”.
“Conor adds bulk to the front row which we don't have in Tank [Greenslade],” he said.
Bermuda take on Bahamas at 4.30pm tomorrow on an afternoon full of rugby at the National Sports Centre.
A youth match gets things under way at 3.30pm, with a women's Sevens game following the conclusion of the Bermuda match.
The Atlantic Cup clash between a Harlequins Invitational XV and Bermuda Barbarians rounds things off at 7.30pm.
Admission to the ground is free before the Bermuda game, with entry $15 in advance and $20 on the gate.
Bermuda: 15-D Cole; 14-J Francis, 13-A Perinchief, 12-Aldon Campbell, 11-N Burgess; 10-T Edwards, 9-T Healy. 1-D Richardson, 2-C McGlynn, 3-D Archibald, 4-P Dunkerley, 5-A Richards, 6-T Greenslade, 7-B Gibson, 8-R van der Westhuizen. Replacements: 16-C Stafford, 17-J Cedenio, 18-C La Placa, 19-T DeSilva, 20-Aldo Campbell, 21-C Caines, 22-P Calow, 23-M Dill.