Gonsalves rates Americas Rugby Challenge as “most difficult” undertaking

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By Akeem Greene

Captain of the Senior National Men’s Rugby 15s team, Ryan Gonsalves, is of the strong contention that the Americas Rugby Challenge, being held in Colombia, will be the most difficult assignment for the team.

The newly formed championship pits the top two teams from Rugby Americas North, which are Guyana and Mexico, along with two sides from South American Rugby, Paraguay and Colombia.

Paraguay is ranked 40th in the world, Colombia 43rd, Guyana 48th and Mexico 54th. Those rankings only give a slight indication of what is expected and, according to Gonsalves, though daunting, it is not impossible.

Gonsalves spoke at a press briefing on Thursday (August 16) at the Guyana Olympic Association head office at Liliendaal where a 26-member squad was revealed.

“Coming from the CAC [Central American and Caribbean] Games and seeing Colombia winning gold where we were the only team that beat them before we bowed out, they are a very good side and this will be the most challenging 15s tournament we have ever played.”

“[We are] breaking out of the Caribbean level and going to play the South American zone, there is nothing harder than this. It is very difficult for us and we have six persons now making their debut into 15s so it will be challenging, but we have go out and play as a team. Those teams we will go against are very good technical teams and if you go out and don’t play you’re A-game, you could be punished on the day so we have to go out there and get clicking from the first whistle.”

Once again, the union faces a financial hurdle and, according to Public Relations Officer, Esan Griffith, they are in need of $1 million. Griffith assured that they will be travelling regardless of the outcome of acquiring the revenue.

He made a desperate appeal to the government and corporate community to support one of the most successful national teams in the Caribbean.

The 26-member squad reads: Jason Tyrell, Allan Crawford, Rondel McArthur, Kevon David, Grantly Williams, Richard Staglon, Jamal Angus, Claud Powell, Ryan Gonsalves, Lancelot Adonis, Avery Corbin, Claudis Butts, David Garnett, Joesph Rahman, Cyon Kitt, Ahmad Issacs, Vallon Adams, Walter George, Sean Phillips, James Osbourne, Daniel DeAbreu, Tobe David, Selwin Henry, Oneil Charles and Jamal Darrell.

The Head Coach is Kenneth Grant-Stuart, Assistant Coach- Oslyn Olivier, Manager – Maj. Earl Edghill and Physio Barrington Browne.

The players depart Guyana on Wednesday for the one-week championship and if successful it will give them an opportunity to promotion and participation in the top tier group, featuring the likes of world ranked United States of America (15th) and Canada (21st) in the North and Argentina (8th), Uruguay (18th) and Chile (29th) in the South.

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