Tomita to lead Bermuda in Trinidad
The Bermuda Rugby Football Union has named its women's team for the Rugby Americas North Sevens tournament in Trinidad this weekend.
Bermuda have been drawn in the same pool as Cayman, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos and Canada, the Olympic bronze medal-winners, and are expected to qualify for the cup quarter-finals, where victory will see them just one win away from qualifying for the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens.
The team has been boosted by the arrival of Michaela Staniford, the former England international and world player of the year, who will coach the team in Trinidad.
Half of the 12-strong squad will be making their senior international debuts, while the other six are among Bermuda's most experienced female players.
Mika Tomita continues as the team's Ccaptain for the third time, while Kelli Nusum, Erica McArthur and Amanda Swan also return for their third regional championship.
Nusum is a powerful forward, who's hard charging runs have set the foundation for much of the side's success in recent years.
Her all-round skill and experience gained from playing for Newcastle University in Britain has helped her performances on and off the field, where she has established Bermuda's first under-age girls rugby programme and as a coach of the award-winning Beyond Rugby initiative in partnership with Family Centre.
McArthur, a native of Ontario, represented London Welsh RFC before moving to Bermuda to teach at Saltus Grammar School. A versatile player, equally at home in the pack or at half-back, she is the team's designated kicker, and one of the best playmakers in the region.
Gillian “Shine” Cross adds significant speed to the squad, and could make history in Trinidad alongside her daughter Corrie, as it is believed that they will become the first ever mother and daughter to play international rugby together.
Corrie will be joined by fellow high school students Haley Place, Lysmeiri Herrera and Cerise Woodley who will all receive their first international caps when they take the field in Trinidad.
“We are very excited about playing in the RAN tournament, and are looking to improve our previous standing of fourth place, but with women's rugby developing significantly over the past few years, we expect tough competition.” Tomita said
“Haley has been training with the women's Sevens team for the last couple of years. She is one of the first up-and-coming junior rugby player that was invited to train with the senior women's team. She has been an active member of the high school girls rugby programme, and has captained the team in a number of games. She was selected to attend the Atavus High School Camp last summer.
“Lysmeiri started training with the senior women's team in spring and has made heads turn because of her speed on the wing. She is one of the most dedicated members of the team and has made tremendous improvements over the last couple of months. She was selected to attend the Life University Girls Rugby Camp this summer and has returned wanting to get more involved with rugby.
“Corrie has played in a number of senior women's Sevens games on island and abroad. She was selected to attend the Atavus High School Camp last summer and has been one of the core players on the senior women's team. She is in contention of a starting position in RAN.
“Cerise started playing rugby through the High School Girls Rugby programme. She started training with the Senior Women's team in spring and has impressed the Coach and the squad with her hard tackles and rucks. She was selected to attend the Life University Girls Rugby Camp this summer and has returned wanting to get more involved with rugby.”
Undefeated Renegades RFC Ladies Captain, Laura Mulligan, Teachers RFC speedster Lauren Rothwell, and the YouTube sensation Gemma Godfrey are also in-line for their international debuts in Trinidad.
Bermuda: Corrie Cross, Gillian Cross, Gemma Godfrey, Erica McArthur, Laura Mulligan, Kelli Nusum, Haley Place, Lauren Rothwell, Lysmeiri Santana, Amanda Swan, Mika Tomita (captain), Cerise Woodley. Coach: Michaela Staniford. Manager: Karly Alleyne