BVI Rugby 7s squad set to compete in Puerto Rico

BVI Rugby 7’s Squad scrum down under the watchful eye of referee, Jorge Soltero, Director, Rugby Puerto Rico during the 2020 Founder’s Cup, Puerto Rico

The British Virgin Islands Rugby Football Union (BVIRFU) will be competing in the Founders’ Cup 7s tournament to be held this Saturday, March 18, 2023 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The “Friendlies” tournament will feature 2 competitive teams from Babson College, Massachusetts, USA. According to the BVIRFU, Babson 7s, who play in the USA National Championships, will be a force to be reckoned with at this year’s tournament.

The event will pit an experienced BVI squad up against the speed and fitness of the College teams as well as the highly spirited home team, the Puerto Rican Pitirres.

BVI was able to win the tournament convincingly in 2020 but the Puerto Ricans are persevering with their program and are expected to put up a strong showing this weekend. Babson, who are playing well this year, are also expected to be very competitive.

The matches will be held at Club de Futbol Fraigcomar and first kickoff is 4:00 PM with the finals expected around 8 PM. There will be a women’s rugby exhibition game mid way through the tournament.

The BVI squad consists of several experienced players such as the Thornton brothers, Roan and Rory, who both played competitively on the UK circuit while at University before returning home and running out for the BVI National squad on many occasions.

Emerging talent, young BVIslander and 2nd generation BVI rugby star, William Adamson is expected to be the team’s enforcer – putting down the big hits and moving youngsters out of his way at will.

National team coach, Stuart Fee will lace up his boots to play for the territory for the first time and big things are expected from the 110kg flyhalf.

With over a half century of experience between them, Tom Chapman and Ian Chambers are also expected to throw their weight around to put the American youngsters under pressure.

The full squad is a follows:
Rory Thonton
Roan Thornton
William Adamson
Stuart Fee
Tom Chapman
Ian Chambers
Alex Haywood
Luke Saltastall

Community engages in sports at inaugural BVI Beach Games

A cross section of the Virgin Islands’ community attended the inaugural BVI Beach Games which was hosted by the BVI Olympic Committee and four national federations at Brandywine Bay beach on June 27, 2021.

In keeping with the tag line, “Unity through Sports”, residents of all ages and abilities took advantage of the opportunity to try the free sporting activities presented by rugby, volleyball, football and sailing and joined in a pick-up game or registered a team to take part in mini tournaments.

“The feedback from all involved with organising this first BVI Beach Games is positive,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVI Olympic Committee. “While we had hoped that more people would have joined in, we understand that many had changed their plans to come to the beach when they woke up to rain showers in the early morning. Overall, we’re pleased with the event and feel it was a success with a good uptake of the sports that were on offer.”

“This is such a great day! We were a bit put off by yesterday’s rain but so glad that we decided to come out and bring the kids to have fun at the beach. We’re really enjoying the whole thing, including the food!” said one participant attending with her husband and two children.

The BVIOC’s primary mission in facilitating the games is to stimulate the community’s interest in engaging in sports and getting physically active but the ultimate goal is sports development and to foster interest and growth in the disciplines that are played as a competitive beach sports at regional and international level.

“Rugby has already sent national teams to compete in Florida and elsewhere. As the other national federations see an increase in interest from their members in playing competitively in the beach version of their sport, there’s potential to develop national teams that could then play against our neighbours from the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico who would be invited to join in the winter 2022 edition,” said Penn. “The mid-term target is to host the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 as a sports tourism product provided the COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable.”

The BVI Beach Games included music by DJ Cuffy, fundraising cash bars run by the federations for rugby, volleyball and football, food for sale by Brandywine Estate and ice cream by Icy Treats. Recycling of disposables was managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network was also set up as a charitable community out-reach element.

The June edition was made possible through collaboration between the BVIOC and volunteers of the 4 national federations and was sponsored and supported by ZBVI Radio, Nagico Insurance Ltd, Roadtown Wholesale Ltd distributors of Coca Cola products Dasani water and Powerade, VISAR, Public Works Department and Solid Waste Department.

The beach games took place the weekend after the traditional symbolic Olympic Day run, walk and cycle events held on Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke on Saturday, June 19.

More photos of the event can be viewed on the BVIOC page on FaceBook

BVIOC to host Olympic Day runs and inaugural BVI Beach Games

The BVI Olympic Committee (BVIOC), in collaboration with member national federations will host the first community BVI Beach Games at Brandywine Bay Beach from 10:00am – 4:00pm on Sunday, June 27, 2021.

The BVI Beach Games is an initiative that was first introduced at the BVIOC AGM by the BVI Rugby Football Union as a potential community event following the successful beach rugby and CrossFit fundraiser they organised in November last year.

Working with the national federations for rugby, volleyball, football, sailing and triathlon as well as Castaways CrossFit, the BVIOC is facilitating a community-oriented event aimed at encouraging residents of all ages to try a sport and get active.

The day will feature mini tournaments, pick-up games and an opportunity for anyone to try the aforementioned sports.

“These inaugural games will feature sports that already have a beach version so we know that the land based events are suited to be played in sand,” said Ephraim Penn, President of the BVIOC. “We are excited to have a fun, healthy and physically active family-oriented event in a safe, outdoor space where the community can get together while maintaining their social distance in keeping with current protocols.”

The BVI Beach Games will include music entertainment, bouncy castles, food and ice cream for sale by Brandywine Estate Restaurant and Icy Treats as well as a bar. Recycling of disposables will be in effect and managed by Green & Clean VI Ltd. A collection table for the donation of non-perishable items for the Family Support Network will be set up as a charitable community out-reach element of the day.

The event will be the first of two annual beach games planned with the second beach games to be hosted in November 2021.

“The long term goal is to develop these disciplines that are already played as beach sports competitively at regional and international level with a view to inviting our neighbours in the USVI, St Maarten and Puerto Rico in the winter of 2022 and hosting the first Regional Beach Games possibly in the winter of 2023 provided COVID-19 travel protocols make it viable,” said Penn.

This event will take place the weekend after the traditional 1 or 2-mile Olympic Day run/walk on Saturday, June 19 in collaboration with the BVI Athletics Association and starting at 7:00am (registration at 6:30am) from the A.O. Shirley Grounds, Tortola and a 3-mile walk/run managed by the Road Runners’ Club and starting at 6:00am from the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College in Virgin Gorda. Cyclists are also welcome to join an Olympic Day ride in VG which will depart from the college at 6:00am.

Attendees at both the Olympic Day events and the BVI Beach Games will be required to observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent hand sanitising while at the event.

VI Rugby Team to face TCI in RAN North Cup 2019

RAN Friendly – TCI v BVI. Photo: RAN

The Virgin Islands team will be playing against team Turks and Caicos in the second match of the Rugby North America (RAN) North Cup. The game will take place at the A. O. Shirley Recreation Ground at 10:00am on Saturday, May 4.

The RAN North Cup is a Tri-Nations competition in which the British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos Islands all play each other. The three island nations make up 50% of the 2019 RAN Cup which is structured according to the north and south with the RAN South Cup being a competition between Martinique, Curacao, and Barbados.

North Cup Fixtures:
April 13: Turks & Caicos Islands vs Dominican Republic (TCI 24- 20 DR)
May 04: British Virgin Islands vs. Turks & Caicos
TBA: Dominican Republic vs British Virgin Islands

South Cup Results: Martinique vs. Barbados – March 16, 2019
Result:  Martinique 43-14 Barbados
Martinique vs. Curacao  – March 23, 2019
Result:  Martinique 39-0 Curacao
Barbados vs. Curacao – April 6 2019
Result:  Barbados 55-7 Curacao

Virgin Islands Beach Rugby squad tackles competition in Florida

By BVI Rugby Football Union

Virgin Islands Beach Rugby competed on Saturday January 5th 2019 in the RAN Beach Rugby 5s on Hollywood Beach, Ft Lauderdale. Photo: BVIRFU

Virgin Islands Beach Rugby competed on Saturday January 5th 2019 in the RAN Beach Rugby 5s on Hollywood Beach, Ft Lauderdale.

The inaugural tournament was contested by 10 teams in the men’s division, 4 women’s teams, 6 men’s youth and 3 female youth.

The squad consisted of “Big Man” Andre Adams, “The Viking” Sean Burgess, “Rookie” Will Melanson, “Power Prop” Damion Brown, “Hands” Tom Chapman, devilishly sneaky Marc Harbison, a solid Mark Livingston and young speedster Noah Pierce.

Virgin Islands opened up their tournament against a highly rated USA South Panthers B whose players are part of World Rugby development program for the USA Eagles.

Proceedings began with both sides making huge hits and managing to defend against any early scores. Eventually – about half way though the first half – some superb handling and ball retention from Virgin Islands created a two-on-one with Noah Pierce creating a lane of space on the wing. Pierce was passed a bullet as he streaked down the line for the game’s opening try to stun the crowd.

An injury on the USA Panthers side forced a breather as medical crews attended the downed player. This was very much in need as the intensity of beach rugby was already taking it’s toll on players from both sides. Huge offensive hits and show stopping tackles continued to follow. Scores began to flow from both sides with exceptional performances coming from big boys Andre Adams and Sean Burgess. Rookies, Will Melanson and Noah Pierce delivered way beyond expectation and were true assets in tackling, driving into contact, recycling, hands and speed. Quite the accomplishment for gentlemen playing in their first contact match.

The ability of USA to do complete line changes between tries wore on the Virgin Islands lads’ energy as, carrying a squad of only 8 vs their 12, made brief gasps at air far shorter than the Americans.

USA South was able to secure a few tries in the final minute to win the game 8-4 in a match that seemed closer and could have gone either way until the final minute. The boys were all commended for the efforts against a much more experienced and drilled opposition. Several VI players were in a serious state of exhaustion at the final whistle due to putting in a herculean effort in a match filled with literally hundreds of tackles and every player being smashed into the sand face first on several occasions.

Shortly after, the VI faced Boca Raton and another punishing match. Scores coming from all the VI stars and some fancy handling from Mark Livingston and Marc Harbison kept the talented Floridians on the back foot. The Boca boys were big and strong, again with plenty of backup and were able to edge Virgin Islands 8-6. Another strong performance but VI unable to pick up the win.

Next up was University side USF whose youth and fitness was too much but the VI went down fighting in a close one. Another blinder that saw all VI players taking on a series of power tackles from the crossfit cut young lads of college rugby.

By day’s end, the hits and lack of subs proved too much. Virgin Islands went down to a Fort Lauderdale Knights side who were playing for a spot in the playoffs having already picked up 2 wins out of 3. The Knights played incredible flat line defence and Virgin Islands were not able to punch in a score.

It was disappointing to not pick up any wins but the VI side played great for their first beach tournament and surprised the crowd with determination and poise making great plays and securing tries against formidable opposition all afternoon.

Winners USA South took home $1,500 for their efforts and the 2nd place Boca Raton – who only squeezed passed the VI 8-6 – was able to take home the $750 prize for runner up after a tough final against the tournament favourite.

Virgin Islands’ Noah Pierce picked up 3rd place in his Fastest Players race in which each team’s fastest players were pitted against each other to race the distance of the field, retrieve a ball and race back to score a try.

VI Beach Rugby thanks sponsors Carey Olsen and CPG Construction. whose support has enabled BVIRFU to grow the game.

A great time was had by all and the festivities afterwards did not disappoint.

Virgin Islands Beach Rugby is always looking for new players to join Beach Rugby Contact 5s in the BVI.

Sessions are usually held at Cane Garden Bay or Little Bay. Get in touch with BVI Rugby Football Union on Facebook to register your interest or touch base with one of the players.

Virgin Islands Beach Rugby squad competed in the RAN Beach Rugby 5s on Hollywood Beach, Ft Lauderdale, Jan 5, 2019. Photo: BVIRFU

BVI in 2017 Rugby Americas North – Jamaica takes the crown

Source: VINO

The [British] Virgin Islands (VI) battling Trinidad and Tobago at the 2017 Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens in Mexico. Photo: Facebook

Jamaica Men and Mexico Women have been crowned the 2017 Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Champions. Both teams have booked their ticket to Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco as well as the Central American and Caribbean Sports Organisation (CACSO) Games.

French Guiana and Jamaica Women will also represent RAN at the CASCO Games. Mexico women will play in the 2018 Hong Kong Sevens, while Jamaica Men will head to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The [British] Virgin Islands (VI) Team concluded day two with another victory over Curacao, 26-7, to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of the tables, but unfortunately finished on the wrong end of a 40 – 0 score line against Barbados and suffered a 28-0 defeat at the hands of the Dominican Republic.

Between the near-capacity crowd and the heart pounding action on the field, finals day at the Campo Marte military grounds in Mexico City was one for the record books. The women’s competition had its fair share up upsets. After going undefeated on day one, Trinidad & Tobago ended their campaign in fourth place after a 5-0 loss in the final match against Mexico. The loss, coupled with French Guiana’s 36-0 shutout over Guyana, and Jamaica’s perfect record on day two, resulted in French Guiana and Jamaica finishing second and third respectively. Guyana, Dominican Republic and Bermuda filled out the fifth through seventh place slots.

After seven injuries side lined members of Mexico’s women’s team in the last month, the squad needed to dig deep to earn this year’s RAN Sevens title, and a first-ever appearance at a Rugby World Cup Sevens. In the final versus a very physical Trinidad & Tobago team, Captain Dany Rosales used quick field awareness to tap through for the only try of the match.

In the men’s competition, the final between Jamaica and Guyana did not disappoint the roaring crowds. Both teams met after two days of going undefeated, save for Guyana’s tie with Bermuda in the first Cup match of day two. Under the setting sun both teams traded tries and possession to land tied 14-14 at the half. Guyana looked to have stolen victory late in the match with a try from Pat King, but deep into injury time Conan Osborne was the match winner with a beautiful individual effort that secured the 28-24 win and 2018 World Cup Sevens qualification for Jamaica.

Mexico pleased the hometown crowd in their final match with a 22-14 win over Trinidad & Tobago to secure a third-place finish. All four of the top finishers in the men’s competition will head to the CACSO Games. Cayman Islands beat Bermuda for the fifth-place spot.

BVI Rugby Football Union out after quarter finals at 2017 Kowloon Tens Tournament Cup

Source: Department of Information and Public Relations

The BVI Rugby Football Union team competed in Hong Kong’s 2017 Kowloon Tens tournament, advancing to the Cup quarter finals, before being knocked out in an extremely close game to Russian team Berdsk from Krasnoyarsk. Photo: BVI House Asia

The BVI Rugby Football Union team competed in Hong Kong’s 2017 Kowloon Tens tournament, advancing to the Cup quarter finals, before being knocked out in an extremely close game to Russian team Berdsk from Krasnoyarsk. Photo: BVI House Asia

The BVI Rugby Football Union team competed in Hong Kong’s 2017 Kowloon Tens tournament, advancing to the Cup quarter finals, before being knocked out in an extremely close game to Russian team Berdsk from Krasnoyarsk.

“We met our goal,” said Stuart Cullen, Back Row Forward, speaking of the team’s performance, which was to advance further in the tournament than last year, when the team had a third place finish in Plate competition.

There was another metric the team exceeded this year: more players were involved in financial services than ever before. Cullen is Counsel at Harney’s in the BVI but on secondment in Hong Kong. Fergal McLoughlin, Back Row Forward, is a corporate lawyer at Harney’s in the BVI. Paul Christopher is Managing Partner, Hong Kong with Mourant Ozannes. Victor Amparo, Scrum Half and the 21-year-old captain of BVI’s national rugby team, works in corporate administration for SHRM. Noel Maxwell, the team’s 19-year-old centre, is studying finance and business administration at university in Canada.

Ms. Elise Donovan, Director,BVI House Asia, which sponsored the BVI Rugby Team, said: “We are delighted to have the BVI Rugby Team in Hong Kong representing us, and pleased that so many team members have financial services backgrounds. This is especially relevant as at least 40 percent of all BVI financial services business originates from China and the Asia Pacific Region.”

“For me, personally, it’s a very rewarding experience because I have never been to this part of the world before,” Maxwell said. “Seeing rugby on the other side of the world, how the guys communicate, the respect and friendships, it’s great to see. I’m grateful for this opportunity.”

Concluded Cullen: “I want to say a big thank you to BVI House Asia, Harneys, FTI Consulting, SHRM, EMCs, and Digicel who sponsored us once again this year, and to everyone, such as BVI Olympic Committee, who has contributed in getting the guys over here. For them, it’s the experience of a lifetime.”

BVI team shines in Rugby Paradise Smash Collegiate Tournament

BVI Rugby Football Union

BVI National Under 23 squad placed 3rd in Rugby Paradise Smash Collegiate Tournament 2017. Photo: Christine Nissen/BVIRFU

BVI National Under 23 squad placed 3rd in Rugby Paradise Smash Collegiate Tournament 2017. Photo: Christine Nissen/BVIRFU

The BVI National Under 23 squad returned from an excellent display of rugby March 25 at the neighboring Rugby Paradise Smash in St Thomas, US Virgin Islands  finishing in 3rd place but gaining much respect from their coaches and peers.

BVI lost it’s first match to US Stars in a 19 – 0 shutout. The lads showed a lot of grit but were overcome by the skills and organization of their American opposition.

With their bodies bruised but their spirits intact they went on to dominate Bowdoin College  physically with the might of Kareem “Burger” Ettienne smashing through their defense on the way to the try line. Colin Beckham scampered through the defense to rack up his first points for the BVI in an excellent display of flowing rugby. Noel Maxwell picked up a try and scored 2 conversions out of 3. BVI ended the match 19 – 12 to pick up a much needed win and set them up for a match that could secure them a place in the finals.

Unconverted tries by Joseph Smith and Paul Oliver were not enough to take down Babson’s barrage of 4 converted tries and Babson College of Massachusetts took the win 28 -10.

With only 1 win out of 3, the BVI did not make the finals and took on Bowdoin for 3rd place. The young BVI lads were able to take the match 20 – 7 with Captain Victor Amparo picking up 2 tries along with big man “Burger” mowing down all in his path for another score. Noel Maxwell was also able to get on the score sheet with is own try. None of the 4 were converted.

Joseph Smith and Kareem “Burger” Ettienne were selected to the All Star Team.

BVI RFU are very proud of what our team did at this tournament and intend to continue building up our program to compete internationally and give our players as much exposure as they look to achieve.

SDA crowned 2017 U17 School Rugby champions

Source: VINO

The SDA School (yellow) prevailed with a team containing many who had been involved since Primary School days. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

The SDA School (yellow) prevailed with a team containing many who had been involved since Primary School days. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

After a grueling day of competitive Touch Rugby action, the experienced Seventh-day Adventist School team held off a spirited challenge from the Virgin Islands School of Technical Studies (VISTS), 2-0, to be crowned 2017 U17 School Rugby Champions.

Four of the five schools expected turned up to the E. Walwyn Brewley Softball Park for the latest edition of the BVI Rugby Union’s Schools Festival, which includes separate days for Primary as well as U15’s. The action was fast and furious.

Despite knowing the basics of the game, but with little experience of tactics, the boys and girls from all teams came up with ploys to amaze their rivals, with quick passing, lightning speed, dazzling displays of footwork and body swerves to showcase and showboat their abilities.

In the end, though, it was the SDA School that prevailed, with a team containing many who had been involved since Primary School days.

Their opponents in the final surprised many, including St George’s and Elmore Stoutt High School. The debuting VISTS team played against SDA giving them their toughest match, albeit ending in defeat.

“SDA have been dominating local Schools Rugby and it wasn’t a surprise that they won all their games today and were crowned Champions. It is the first season in Rugby for the VISTS team and were a young bunch who will progress in time.  But even so, they gave SDA a good run for their money,” commented Rugby Development Coach, Sherlock “Sam” Solomon.

Solomon also made note that the day was a talent spotting occasion to build on the pool of players to represent the BVI Rugby Union at Regional Tournaments.

“We have lost a couple of guys from the U19’s and today showed there is a good bunch available to me, so I hope to get them all together on the same pitch at the same time and prepare for tournaments in the Caribbean.”

The Semi Finals had seen SDA romp to a 4-2 win over ESHS and VISTS outplay St George’s in sudden death extra time, 2-1.

New and Big Moves for Rugby

Source: BVI Platinum

Head coach of BVI Rugby team, Sherlock Solomon addressing the team. Photo: BVI Platinum News

Head coach of BVI Rugby team, Sherlock Solomon addressing the team.
Photo: BVI Platinum News

The BVI Rugby Football Union is now engaged in some new and big moves in efforts of meeting international requirements, as well as educating persons around the Territory about the game and encouraging them to join in.

In an interview with Mr. Sherlock Solomon, Development Officer for the sport in the BVI, he told BVI Platinum News that the union has organised a local domestic league, which sees the Territory divided into three teams.

As explained by Mr. Solomon, the three teams – West, East and Central, will go head to head in games twice per month.

This move is to assist the union in meeting the basic requirements of the International Rugby Board, which states that a country must have at least three teams.  “We must have three clubs to maintain sponsorship and other assistance,” said Solomon.

Games have already commenced for the teams, with the next being on Friday, February 17 at the A. O. Shirley Recreational Grounds. Team West emerged as champions for the last two games played.

The union is also currently engaged in a Primary and Secondary School Tag Rugby Tournament.  The tournament sees participation from children who fall in three categories – under 13, under 15 and under 17.