Bermuda demolished by rampant Mexico
Bermuda 7 Mexico 59
Brian Archibald, the Bermuda coach, knows there are no quick fixes after his side's humbling defeat to Mexico in their Americas North Championship opener at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Mexico looked every bit defending champions as Archibald endured a baptism of fire in his first game in charge, hardly helped by the necessity to field a slew debutants in his new-look team.
A lack of cohesion and experience always threatened to be Bermuda's undoing against a physically superior and more organised outfit — and so it proved with the home side shipping five tries before the interval.
Archibald introduced several new faces during the second half but the changes failed to dam the free-flowing flood of Mexican tries, with Bermuda too often exacerbating their downfall with sloppy mistakes and poor decisions.
Bermuda XVs rugby has been on a downward spiral since they won back-to-back NACRA Caribbean Championships — as the competition was previously known — in 2011 and 2012 under the stewardship of Lawrence Bird.
The talent pool at Archibald's disposal is not as plentiful as it was back then, and the Scotsman admits it could be some time before the island returns to those heady heights.
“They were just better than us and sometimes you have to hold your hands up and say you got beat by a better side,” Archibald said. “We're quite a bit behind [Mexico] and we will try and work on that over the next couple of seasons and get our boys up to a certain standard so we can compete with them.
“We're at a stage now where our numbers are quite low and these guys have to play; it's as simple as that.”
With a game against a perennially strong Cayman Islands in three weeks, Archibald will not have too long to try and remedy some of the ailments in Bermuda's game.
“Hopefully we'll go away and come back a bit better; hopefully score a few more tries and keep hold of the ball,” said Archibald, who has replaced Rudolph Van der Westhuizen at the helm.
“We made too many silly mistakes and just kept coughing up the ball and losing lineouts in vital areas of the park.
“There's no quick fix and easy way out. Sometimes you learn more from getting humped!”
It was somewhat against the run of play that Bermuda took the lead through a breakaway try by wing Corey Boyce, although that proved to be the high-watermark of their performance as Mexico seized control with tries from centre Franco Guerrero and wing Luis Arredondo.
Mexico were then awarded a penalty try after scrum-half Tom Healy — one of a few survivors from the 2011 and 2012 title winners — was penalised for a high tackle and subsequently sin-binned. Healy was still on the sidelines when Arredondo got on the end of a superb Augustin Sanchez chip to score in the corner before wing Fharid Samano compounded Bermuda's woes with another try just before the interval to make it 33-7.
Mexico tightened their vice-like grip on the game, adding to their advantage soon after the restart when scrum-half Andres Rodriguez sliced through the middle to score under the posts.
Moments later Mexico were temporally reduced to 14 men when prop Marcus Flegmann was directed to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle, not that it was noticeable as the visiting side scored further tries through centres Pascal Nadoud and Guerrero.
Guerrero completed his hat-trick late on with another try converted by Sanchez with metronomic efficiency, the fly-half missing just one kick all afternoon.
“I doubt Mexico learnt too much from that,” said Archibald, whose side are also grouped with Cayman and USA South. “They had a whole lot of larger boys, shall we say, and are probably more physically capable than we are right now. They won [the tournament] last year and they showed they're a good side and did the simple things well.”
Bermuda: S Peter, T DeSilva, P Dunkerley, D Archibald, D Richardson, A Richards, T Greenslade, A Campbell, T Healy, C Naylor, C Maule, R Cumbers, C Boyce, D Cole, M Williams. Replacements: A Sousa, D Reno, T Kendall, C Smith, J Francis, C McGlynn.
Mexico: M Flegmann, M Loredo, M Douek, S Diaz, C Trevino, R Calderon, G Pons, S Pierre, A Rodriguez, A Sanchez, P Nadoud, L Arredondo, R Ripoll, P Morales, T Hernandez. Replacements: S Prieto, R Marquez, V Oliva, J-P Zisa, D Ramirez, C Fernandez
Referee: M O'Brien