GRFU to write World Rugby on Mexico game fiasco
By Avenash Ramzan
It was not all smooth sailing for the ‘Green Machine’- Guyana national rugby team- at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Men’s 15s final against host Mexico last weekend.
According to information emanating from the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), there were issues that ranged from internal travel hassle to questionable markings on the playing field. Guyana lost the game 5-32 as the Mexicans romped to victory.
While the Guyanese missed a few chances and sometimes made it easier for their opponents to score, the GRFU president Peter Green highlighted on Thursday that there were markings on the field that were not consistent with what obtains in rugby.
Those, he pointed out, played to the advantage of the Mexicans. Additionally, the team was supposed to arrive at the venue two hours prior to the game, but the bus did not turn up at the hotel, leaving the players with no choice but to utilise public transport.
It meant that their training time prior to the start of the game was significantly cut, while the Mexican players had arrived on time and enjoyed a full warm-up session.
Given the strange markings on the field, Green believes the game should be deemed “illegal and null and void.” A letter to this effect will be dispatched by the GRFU to the international body, World Rugby.
“It is not for the Union now to use that as an excuse or start a blame game, but the point remains that the rugby field, according to international regulations, was wrongfully laid out,” Green declared.
“In particular, the goal post was on the dead ball line. The try line was in front of the goal post. That caused a series of confusion for our players when they got the game going.” Usually, the try line is behind the goal post.
Prior to the game, Green said the players had also become agitated having to wait close one hour, 30 minutes for transportation to the playing venue.
“The team was promised two hours warm-up before the match, which started two o’ clock (14:00h). The team came downstairs and sat waiting, high in spirits, for almost an hour and a half. The team had to go on the road and flog down a bus to take them to the venue…unacceptable,” Green informed media operatives on Thursday.
Team Manager Robin Roberts said concerns about the markings were raised to the Match Commissioner Scott Harland, but the Guyanese were told they had to play.
“When we got to the field, Mexico was already there and warmed up. I appealed to the Match Commissioner and asked him for some extra time [to train] and he said the only thing he could do is give us 15 minutes,” Roberts indicated.
He continued, “While making that appeal it’s then we realised the try line was in front of the goal post rather than behind the goal post. I raised that with him and he said that is okay. I approached the referee, and he said the Match Commissioner said the field is okay and the game has to be played.”
Roberts further related that it wasn’t the first time that the Guyana ruggers have received such shabby treatment while in Mexico.
Quizzed on whether there was anything to suggest that there was a deliberate attempt by the Mexicans to frustrate the Guyanese, Roberts responded, “I would say so you know, because this would have been the fourth match that was played in Mexico and all three of the other matches were played on a different ground. So it was indeed the plan of Mexico to take the game to that ground. It’s a small field which would have suited their style of play, which is more of an impact play, and then to add to that we had the situation whereby the goal post would have had to be in front of the try line. The Argentina coach [Diego Giannantonio] said he has never seen it in international rugby.”
Head coach Larry Adonis said despite the hurdles, the players did well. Following two solid days of practice, Adonis related that the Guyanese kept the Mexicans at bay for the first 20 minutes, but gradually allowed the game to slip.
“We had them down in their half for like 30 minutes or so, and we were really pressuring. What we did was what shouldn’t have- we left a lot of points on the court, because we threw away at least three penalties. We had chances to score, but we didn’t and for some reason just before the end of the half Mexico ended up with the kickover try,” Adonis recounted.
He added, “But we were still in a good position because at the time the score was just 10-3. We came back out and really pressured them to get on level course with them, but in doing so they neglected some of our defence and we made some mistakes that Mexico capitalised on.”
Next up for Guyana would be the Sevens team competing in Trinidad and Tobago during the second weekend in November.
Cover photo caption: From left: Larry Adonis, Peter Green, Robin Roberts and Daniel Anderson