Rugby captain hails Green Machine’s fighting spirit in “eye-opening” RAN Sevens

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By Avenash Ramzan

avenash@newsroom.gy

Rugby captain Jamal Angus has praised the fighting spirit of the national ruggers at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens tournament in The Bahamas last weekend.

After being soundly whipped by eventual Caribbean champions Jamaica 34-0 and Curacao 21-5, two losses that put them out of the title hunt, the Guyanese rebounded to win four games on the trot to finish ninth out of 13 teams.

The ‘Green Machine’, seven-time RAN champions, defeated The British Virgin Islands 34-10, The Turks and Caicos Islands 36-5, The Bahamas 31-21 and Belize 27-0 to finish as the best team outside of the top eight.

For Angus, the two days were not only enlightening, but also yielded some positives that could be built on.

“From my perspective, it was an eye-opening tournament for us,” Angus related.

“For me personally, it was the first time I’ve been knocked out on the first day. I’ve been there, lost a few matches before, but the first two matches were truly humbling.”

The fighting spirit and great character displayed by the players did not go unnoticed by skipper Jamal Angus

Noting that the players put in the hard yards in training prior to the tournament, the skipper reasoned that their best efforts were just not good enough.

National Sevens Rugby team captain, Jamal Angus

Angus said his job after those opening defeats was to fire up his men, as the aim from that point was to win every single game, a goal they were able to achieve.

“We got to get serious, we got to wake up,” Angus told his players.

“As much as we’re not in the top tournament anymore, we still have to represent this country with pride.”

“We ended the tournament on a high. It wasn’t the way we wanted the tournament to go, but we still had to do something and we represented well after the two losses.”

The fighting spirit of the Guyanese, Angus highlighted, was one of the major positives from the two-day tournament, as they were down to nine players for the last two games, mainly due to injuries.

That, in effect, meant they only had two substitutes at their disposal.

“But from just looking around you could tell, men wanted it and they were willing to fight for it. I think they showed great character, playing through injuries,” Angus observed.

Good outing for newcomers

A notable feat was that first-timers Michael Barrow, Michael Edwards, Owen Adonis and USA-based Mathew Talbot all scored for Guyana on their international debut.

Adonis, who is also a national sprinter, played in the winger position and had the most tries (six) for the team over the two days.

The event doubled as a Qualifier for both the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, and the Rugby World Cup (RWC) Sevens 2022 in Cape Town South Africa.

The Canadian Women’s team took out Mexico to secure their place at the RWC Sevens in South Africa, while their counterparts – the Canadian Men – defeated Jamaica to book their ticket to both the RWC Sevens.

Men’s runners-up Jamaica will also join Canada and represent RAN at the Commonwealth Games in England, as well as take on this year’s RWC Sevens in Cape Town.

Next up for Guyana is a tournament in Mexico City in November.

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