Young brigade key in driving Guyana’s rugby forward

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By Akeem Greene

Guyana, a country with a rich history in Caribbean rugby, especially in the Sevens format, has no title since 2016. From 2006 to 2016, Guyana won eight Caribbean Sevens titles; from 2006-2011, they won six on the trot.

It was a core team mixed with youths who eventually became seniors and the championships kept pouring in. Before and between that period, they also managed to win some Fifteens titles, the last being in 2014.

In 2017 and 2018, they played second fiddle to Jamaica and in 2019, a disastrous year, they did not make it out of the group stage when the tournament was held in the Cayman Islands.

That Sevens tournament was also a chance for Guyana to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

On reflection, seasoned national player, Rondel McArthur, felt a lack of preparation and overconfidence were factors that led to such a downfall.

Apart from the clear need for more funding, he felt incorporating more youths into the system will be key for any return to sustained dominance.

“We need to focus more on the youths because we [senior players] are not going to be here forever and the upcoming youths are more vital than the players we have currently.”

The 28-year-old added: “More emphasis on youths by giving more exposure via youth tournaments, fundraisers, and anything pertaining to the youths and having them come out so we could have at least 50 persons competing for a [spot on the] team of 22; it would be excellent for Guyana’s rugby and it will be more competitive.”

McArthur, who has over a decade experience in national colours, believes fellow national player Ryan Dey, who was elected President of the Guyana Rugby Football Union in February, is someone the youths are behind and he hopes whenever rugby resumes they can be some positive movement.

“We are looking forward to new things [and] we have seen it since he has already started, but it is just unfortunate, the coronavirus altered some of his plans. The youths are for him because he is for them and I think we are going to give him a chance and hope for the best.”

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