Bermuda back where they belong
Tom Healy believes the island's men's rugby team are back where they should be after being crowned Caribbean champions for the first time since 2012 by beating Guadeloupe 33-10 in the Rugby Americas North Championship final on Saturday.
Vice-captain Healey was part of that last championship campaign seven years ago, before the national team endured a difficult period in the proceeding years.
However, after the Bermuda Rugby Federation went under a restructure in February with head coach Jamie Barnwell taking the reins of the men's 15s team, the national side have enjoyed an upward trajectory, with Healey citing the new head coach as the catalyst in the transformation back to former glory.
“I was there during the good years and I was also there during the bad ones where we didn't win an international game for a while, so to get back to where we belong is massive for rugby in Bermuda,” said veteran Healey.
“This is just a reflection of how much progress we are making, not just the men's team but the programme as a whole.
“That is credit to the structure and culture that has been put in place by Jamie Barnwell.
“We always believed we would win the game and it is great that we managed to do just that.
“The future is really bright for rugby on the island. This is the best the rugby set up has been since I've been involved over the last 16 years.
“This really means so much to the entire organisation and is just the start for the entire set up.”
Continued progress would ultimately see Bermuda making the transition to compete against the South American region with powerhouses such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile.
Such a transition is not in the immediate future for Bermuda, according to Healey, but he refused to rule it out in the future, should the nation continue on their upward trajectory.
“We won't get ahead of ourselves despite the recent success,” added Healey.
“The next level up for us is to go over and compete with the South American teams.
“Although that is perhaps a bridge too far for this team at the moment, success such as this is definitely a building block for us.
“If we can continue to win big games such as this with the brand of rugby that we are playing then absolutely in time we can compete with the South American nations.”