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.”

Cedar & St George’s win Touch Rugby Championships


Photo: Charlie E. Jackson /VINO

Photo: Charlie E. Jackson /VINO

Both Cedar International School and St George’s High School were victorious when the BVI Rugby Union hosted the U15 and U17 Touch Rugby High School Championships on Friday April 22, 2016 on the A.O. Shirley Recreation Grounds in Road Town.

In the U15’s final, St George’s raced into a 2-0 lead, but were then pegged back by a tenacious Seventh Day Adventist team. However, despite some nervous moments, St George’s held firm and increased the lead to first 3-1, before holding on to win 4-3.

“In the lead up to the final we only had one little hiccup, but otherwise were looking good. The final was a little challenging, but we stood firm and got the win. We had both disciplined and fast breaks and the team executed the plans very well, so I must congratulate them,” commented St George’s Coach, Javon Carty.

On the road to the final, SDA beat Cedar School 9-2, St George’s beat ESHS 10-2 and Cedar 5-4, whilst SDA beat ESHS 10-1.

In the Under 17 final, Cedar survived a second-half come back from St George’s to run out 7-5 victors, which was almost a reversal of the score line from when the pair clashed in the day’s opening game (7-6 to St George’s).

“We kept our shape well and were well organised. The team kept their heads and knew when to move the ball, using the extra width to cause St George’s trouble and came out with the win,” noted Coach John Riley.

Cedar had also beaten ESHS 7-2 to clinch a place in the final, while St George’s had a 5-2 win over the same opposition.

BVI Rugby Union Development Coach, Sherlock Solomon, was very pleased with the day’s outcome. “The idea of using the bigger pitch area has proven a great success, we saw all the teams enjoy the extra space to pass the ball around more and also add some running skills,” he said.

Young Rugby players in training


Young Rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Young Rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic. Photo: Charlie E. Jackson/VINO

Young rugby players are currently in training to take part in a series of games, including against St Thomas, US Virgin Islands and a quadruple series in the Dominican Republic.

Over the years the schools programme has produced many youngsters and two years ago an Under 19 team took part in a tournament in Trinidad. Now Coach Sam Sherlock Solomon is establishing firm grassroots and the pressure is on the older players to keep their places.
“The young ones are coming forward and it’s definitely the way to go for the future,” commented Solomon. “This year is an Olympic year, but the BVI can’t compete in that as we are not full members of the International Rugby Board. However, there is a tournament taking place in the Dominican Republic and the Association plans on taking a young side down there.”

Also, a team from St Thomas will be in Road Town on Saturday, April 23 and the hard working youth will be up for selection.
SDA crowned U13 Schools Touch Rugby Champions

Elsewhere, the Seventh-day Adventist School were crowned U13 Touch Rugby Champions last Friday April 15, 2016 on the Softball Field in Road Town, after a 3-1 win over Francis Lettsome Primary School.

Both schools had beaten Cedar International teams to reach the final and in the match for the bronze medal, Cedar A beat Cedar B 6-1.

Referee Colin Campbell, who is also part of the next generation of rugby players and who has already made his senior debut, was impressed with what he had seen.

“SDA had a good disciplined team and stretched their line out very well. Francis Lettsome had a couple of chances to level the game, but couldn’t take them and SDA prevailed. All players are understanding the rules better and working out how to move the ball around by passing and supporting each other,” said Campbell.

McDonald also noted that all the teams that took part had fun and were definitely enjoying playing Rugby.

In other matches, Ebenezer Thomas Primary beat St George’s 3-2, Leonora Delville drew 3-3 with Enis Adams, before the top four clashed in the semi finals.

This coming Friday, April 22, 2016, Solomon will also be overseeing the U15 and U17 Rugby Schools Festival and hopes to see yet more improvements from his young charges.

“The next stage with that Festival will be getting them to play ‘contact’ rugby,” said Solomon. “Also it has been cut down to seven a side to give them more space, a chance to really show their skills and also improve their fitness.”

East End Stamps Authority As Rugby League Starts

By BVI Platinum

Photo: Provided

Photo: Provided

Hard hitting tackles were many during the opening of the first full contact three-team rugby league at Capoons Bay which saw a dominant performance by the East End Entertainers.

Despite a late start due to the lights being switched off, players and fans congregated to witness the history start to the 10-a-side league on Friday, July 3. The East Enders finished the first week unbeaten 2-0, defeating the Central Cockerels, 69-12 and the West End Warriors, 38-17.

However, the Central team pounded out a 22-12 victory in the opening game.

“It was a good start for us,” said East End captain, Donovan Staples. “We had about 800 spectators in attendance so we had to put on a good show for East End. We are playing for territorial bragging rights so we had to represent East End massive. We defended well and countered well through ball movement. Tonight we had no substitute and that is something we need to change going forward so our players can get some rest,”

Rugby Development Officer, Sherlock ‘Solo’ Solomon told BVI Platinum News that he is very pleased to have the league start in the BVI. “This is where we needed to go in the BVI to establish ourselves as a full member of the International Rugby Board. We know for sure on the island we have lots of folks who want to play, but in the IRB competition you have to have lived on the island for three years before you can play for the national team. Having said that, there are a number of persons who come on the island for short a period and sometimes longer periods, who want to play contact rugby,” Solomon said.

He went on to state that he is very pleased with the support for the league. “We saw a high standard of rugby and a number of under-19s. Some guys who have been coming to practice with the national team, who did not make the cut, got an opportunity to run on the field and participate in a real-game situation,” Solomon said.

Austin Keil takes top rugby player of the year award

By BVI  Platinum

From L-R: Austin Keil, player of the year; Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively. Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News

From L-R: Austin Keil, player of the year; Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News

Three of the top annual rugby awards presented by the BVI Rugby Football Union went to youth players led by Austin Keil who captured the player of the year, the most prestigious presented at the annual dinner which was held at Scrub Island last evening, June 27.

Keil, 18, of Cedar School, has had a break out season and scored the final try for the national team against Curacao in May.

“It feels pretty good and its just really nice to be here with all my friends who also won awards. And its really fun. Everyone on the team has been working really hard and it shows in the results at the end of the year,” Keil told BVI Platinum News.

He plans to attend university in California in the fall where he will try out froSanta Barbra rugby team.

Brothers Victor Amparo and Kenrick Thomas were awarded the Under-19 player of the year and most improved player, respectively.

“It feels pretty good to have won this award,” Amparo stated.

He recalled the under-19 team’s encounter in Trinidad and Tobago and his experience gained playing for the national side.

Thomas said he recently started playing rugby and never missed a practice session.

“My fitness is really advanced thanks to rugby. The discipline I have learned has really helped me. I am around all the players with different cultures and different experiences; this has been a great learning experience for me,” Thomas stated.

Chairman of the Rugby Union, Ronan Kuczaj said rugby on the island has benefited from the emergence of younger players.

“All of our results have come form the under-19s. They had good performance in the Mexico 7s and more recently the three games in the 2015 North American Caribbean Rugby Association’s 15s. We have a good core of kids who have come through the under-19 program and school coaching sessions. They are the future and lifeblood of rugby in the BVI,” Kuczaj stated.

BVI tops NACRA South Zone Cup table after victory against St Vincent

By BVI Platinum

BVI defeats St Vincent in NACRA South Zone Cup game. Photo: Oris Photography

BVI defeats St Vincent in NACRA South Zone Cup game. Photo: Oris Photography

The Virgin Islands are sitting at the top of the South Zone Cup table following a 22-15 victory abroad against St. Vincent at the Arnos Vale grounds on Saturday, April 18.

Led by the opening try by Joseph Smith, the BVI seized control of the game, but St. Vincent scored to knot the game at 5-5 in the first half.

In the second half, the BVI punched early with a try from Austin Keil which pushed the lead to 10-5 following a failed conversion kick. However, St. Vincent kept the encounter close.

It took tries from Roan Thornton and Viveon Harry to seal the victory for the BVI and the top spot in the group with one game to play against fierce competitors, Curacao in another two weeks.

To win the group, the BVI needs to win the game which is expected to be played at the A. O Shirley Recreation Grounds. A victory will ensure the BVI moves on to the next round of 2015 North American Caribbean Rugby Association’s 15s tournament.

It remains to be seen if the grounds will be ready in time for the game or the BVI will have to win again on the road as they have done in St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

Narrow miss for BVI Rugby team at Kowloon 10s in Hong Kong

Team BVI at 14th Kowloon 10s Rugby Fest, Hong Kong. Photo: Franklyn Victor

Team BVI at 14th Kowloon 10s Rugby Fest, Hong Kong. Photo: Franklyn Victor

15 players from the British Virgin Islands Rugby Football Union are in Hong Kong to compete in the 14th annual Kowloon RugbyFest 2015, also known as the Kowloon 10s.

This is the second time the BVI Rugby Football Union has competed in the Kowloon 10s.

On March 25, the team played against five other teams from Australia, Hong Kong and Malaysia and advanced to the semi-finals.

The team barely missed winning in their sixth game to advance to the finals when, with less than 30 seconds left on the clock, the opposing team, The Dirty Frogs, a composite Asia team of players from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, scored.

In welcoming the BVI team, Director of BVI House Asia, Elise Donovan said, “The Kowloon 10s is one of the biggest sporting events in Hong Kong, and teams come from all over the world to compete, so we are extremely proud and delighted to have the BVI represented with such a formidable team.

“Our staff made sure that the BVI had the loudest cheer leaders, so they were very motivated to win. I would also note that a good portion of the team is made up of financial services practitioners, so it was double promotion for the BVI.”

The BVI Team said they were proud to have progressed further this year and were upbeat even after a full day of intense competitions. Last year at the 13th Kowloon 10s Tournament, the team won three games in the first round and was thrilled to also be awarded ‘The Most Social Team’.

Team Coach Sherlock Sam said, “It has been a fantastic trip for the BVI Team here in Hong Kong, especially bringing our younger team members halfway across the world to experience the games and this brilliant city.”

Meanwhile, Chairman of the BVI Rugby Football Union, Ronan Kuczaj said, “We are very proud to join this year’s Kowloon 10s and to see the BVI Team make it into the semi-finals. Competing with so many excellent international teams is a great experience for our team to keep growing and to become stronger.”

After the daytime competition, the BVI Rugby Team joined the ritual Kowloon RugbyFest dinner in the evening, which was partially sponsored by BVI House Asia. Over 600 guests attended, including a number of rugby legends, for an evening of celebrations and social banter.

The BVI Rugby Team was also sponsored by Digicel BVI, Pussers Rum, Walkers, EMCS, SHRM, and Krys Global.

RugbyFest, better known as the Kowloon 10s, began in 2001 to embody the true spirit and camaraderie of the game, complementing the more competitive Rugby Sevens.

The first Kowloon 10s competition took place in 2002, and has since become an integral part of Hong Kong’s week of rugby, visited by teams from all over the world, including the BVI.

The BVI Rugby Football Union is a non-profit organization that started when a group of British, South African and Australian expats living in Tortola, BVI, formed a team and played against a group of Royal Navy engineers. Today, they have grown to a team of 50 active players residing in the BVI from 11 different countries.

As a non-profit, all proceeds go to the Youth Development Program in the BVI, a program that has been running for eight years to teach rugby and development skills to currently 400 students from 10 schools.

The BVI Rugby Football Union strives to promote rugby and its values within and outside of the BVI, particularly to the younger generation.

Outside of the Kowloon 10s, the BVI Rugby Football Union faces off against the Royal Navy twice a year as they pass through the BVI. The team also makes its annual pilgrimage to Trinidad to compete, and work in another two additional tours per year to other Caribbean rugby nations, such as Barbados, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.

BVI Rugby Football Union upcoming events

By: BVI Rugby Football Union

BVI Rugby Football Union Photo: BVIRFU

BVI Rugby Football Union Photo: BVIRFU

The BVI is playing its first NACRA International on February 28th against St Lucia, in St Lucia. Training takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting at 5:30pm at Baughers Bay.

Players who have resided in the BVI for three (3) or more years are eligible to represent the territory and get a CAP.
There are two additional NACRA fixtures against Curacao to be played at home on a date yet to be confirmed and against St Vincent on April 18 in St Vincent.

Other upcoming events include the the Fort Lauderdale Rugby RUGGERFEST 2015, February 21-22 when BVI players will join up with St Thomas rugby club to compete in Florida.

The Six Nations is back on with the first game, Wales v England, kicking off at 4:00pm on Friday, February 6.

The Kowloon 10s take place in Hong Kong on March 25.

In response to the interest expressed in contact rugby and given the availability of a full size field, the BVIRFU is looking to start a 10 aside competition which can be played at either Capoons Bay or Green lands in the East End, possibly on a Friday night. Anyone interested in playing or forming a team is invited to get in contact with the BVIRFU so that a schedule can be prepared. BVIRFU has enough jumps for about three teams.