VI Rugby XV overcome visiting USVI team


Photo: Todd VanSickle/BVI Beacon

Photo: Todd VanSickle/BVI Beacon

In a game not for the faint of heart, the local Rugby Union XV finally overcame The Privateers, a visiting team from St Thomas, USVI 34-22, in a friendly match on Saturday April 23, 2016 at the A.O. Shirley Recreation Ground, Tortola.

A brace of tries from Noel Maxwell finally broke the resistance, if not the determination, of the visitors as he scored either side of the half time break. However, for the majority of the first period the St Thomas team had been in the ascendancy, looking more organised and eager to tackle hard at every opportunity.

They had, in fact, raced into a 12-0 lead, scoring first after a series of recycled ball and rolling mauls along the home sides score line and then intercepting a sloppy pass as the VI team tried to clear the ball out of their own 22 to double their advantage.

With many new players in the team, it took a while for things to gel for the hosts, but Luuck Soeters finally got the home team on the score board, sliding in under the posts after a great placement kick from Roan Thornton put them within a yard of the opposition’s score line. Thornton missed the attempted extra points for a conversion, but moment’s later more concerted pressure, especially after showing great strength in the scrum, saw the VI score again through Stuart Cullen.

Maxwell then scored his two tries either side of a St Thomas penalty to make it 22-15 and a Mark Simmons conversion made it 24-15.

A scintillating run by Franklyn Victor, from deep inside his own half, made it 29-15 and although Simmons missed that conversion attempt, it mattered not as Tom Chapman broke through the St Thomas defense to score another try and make it 34-15.

St Thomas did get a late consolation score, but resolute defending made sure they could not get back into the game, with the final score 34-22.

“We started a bit jittery and took time to settle down,” commented Coach Sherlock Solomon. “Some of the players were late, but once the right team was on the pitch they found their footing and put it together. We exposed lots of our younger players so they would get experience playing at this level and under pressure, some lost their cool at times, but overall they all played well.”