Tom Healy an injury concern as Bermuda discover RAN Sevens opponents
Bermuda have been drawn in pool C alongside Guyana, Curaçao and Belize for the Rugby Americas North Sevens tournament in the Turks & Caicos on October 16 and 17.
The draw, held yesterday, outlined further details of the tournament — which marks the return to international competition for the region — with ten competing nations battling for qualification to the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series next year.
The winner of that tournament, with dates and location yet to be announced by World Rugby, will also clinch the sixteenth and final spot on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Having just featured in back-to-back tournaments in the World Series in Canada, Jamaica and Mexico — who will headline pools A and B respectively — enter the tournament as favourites to meet in the final.
Pool A also consists of the Dominican Republic and British Virgin Islands, while pool B will also be contested by the hosts Turks & Caicos and Barbados.
Bermuda, meanwhile will also be confident at least of advancing from pool C, which includes international sevens debutants Belize.
On the first day of competition, teams in pools A and B will play two games to decide who will advance to the cup competition on day two. Pool C, which has four teams, will see each nation play three games.
The top two teams in each pool will advance into the cup competition on the second day, while the remaining four teams will play a round robin competition.
In the cup competition, teams will play two matches among their respective pools to decide positioning for the cup final, bronze final and fifth-place play-off.
Meanwhile, Jamie Barnwell confirmed a decision on whittling his original 40-man squad down to a final selection of just 16 players is set to be made by the end of the week.
As well as casting his eye over the players in regular training sessions and a sevens tournament, held at the National Sports Centre last month, Barnwell is giving his players one final chance to impress with further matches among the squad scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday.
“We have scheduled a performance week among the squad this week, which will consist of three back-to-back games on Wednesday and Thursday to help try and replicate the format of the tournament,” said Barnwell, who also confirmed Bermuda have signalled their intention to compete in New York Sevens tournament on November 27. “After this week’s matches we will be in a position to select our final group of 16 players from that.”
Ahead of that crucial selection, the head coach has been dealt a possible blow with the news that influential player Tom Healy could be forced to miss the tournament through injury.
“Unfortunately, Tom has picked up a hamstring tear in the past two weeks; it’s a small one but he may be a major doubt for us for the first time in a very long time,” he added. “We also have a lot of new faces, so I’ll be facing a big decision come the end of the week after the conclusion of our performance week matches.”