BVI Rugby 7s team returns from Trinidad as runners up in Shield Final

Source: VINO
Big tackles helped the BVI to pick up a close win 17 - 12 against Turk & Caicos on Day 2 of the 2016 Rugby Americas North Sevens Championship in Trinidad. Photo: BVIRFU

Big tackles helped the BVI to pick up a close win 17 – 12 against Turk & Caicos on Day 2 of the 2016 Rugby Americas North Sevens Championship in Trinidad. Photo: BVIRFU

A seven-a-side rugby squad, representing the Virgin Islands Rugby Union competed at the 2016 Rugby Americas North Sevens Championship in Trinidad and came home as runners up in the Shield Final.

The last game, a 5-0 defeat by the Cayman Islands, capped off a frenetic weekend of Rugby, which saw Canada win the overall Men’s Championship, with a 52-5 victory over Guyana.

All in all, 14 teams from around the Region took part and the VI’s first game was a 19-5 defeat to Bermuda and then, the eventual Champions then put up a winning score of 59-0, before the VI bounced back on Day Two with a 17-12 victory over the Turks and Caicos.

A place in just the Shield Final was confirmed when the Dominican Republic recorded a 12-10 win.

According to the Rugby Union, the team’s effort was assisted by leading World Rugby Sevens coach David Mays who visited the island for six weeks and helped train the squad.

Canada’s dominant performance in both the Men’s and Women’s divisions never relented and earned them both Cup titles. Only Guyana Men were able to score against the Maple Leafs and finished second in the tournament. Jamaica Women finished in second place standing with the men’s team coming in third.

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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.”

BVI Rugby Team narrowly defeated by Barbados


Photo courtesy of VINO


The BVI Rugby Team lost 17-15 to Barbados in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association south zone promotion/relegation clash at the A. O. Shirley Ground on Saturday November 7, 2015.

After a period of sustained pressure early in the first half, Rory Thornton opened the scoring for the Virgin Islands with a 30 yard penalty and went on to add a couple of conversions to his tally after both Thomas Wilson and Matt Holmes had scored to give the VI a 15-10 half time lead.

However, a fitter looking Barbadian team hit back strongly in the second half.

The VI were camped in the Barbados 22, but were unable to extend their lead before Kevin Carter scored an opportunist break away try, which he also converted to make it 17-15 to Barbados.

The VI came back strong with a prize of matches against the likes of Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago up for grabs and got their chance to go back ahead with ten minutes to go.

Thornton though, would see a penalty kick from in front of the posts go wide and with it the last chance for the VI to win the game.

A bitterly disappointed VI Captain, Rory Thornton, was in a philosophical mood after the game. “We made them play our game for the best part of the game, we knew they had more individual talent, but the one thing we have been doing lately is coming together as a team and we did that really well today. Individually everyone had a great game, but as a pack we didn’t produce enough clean ball for the backs to exploit.”

Coach Sherlock “Solo” Solomon was heartbroken to see his team come so close to what would have been a famous victory. “It broke my heart!” he said.

“[It was] a game we clearly should have won, but lost by two points. We can take a lot from the game though, especially with the youngsters. The Forwards didn’t do as much as I hoped in providing the likes of Noel Maxwell and Austin Kiel opportunities. I think we were a little nervous at times and soft in defence, but when a game is that close it only takes one moment to win or lose it,” he said.

BVI Rugby team secures third consecutive victory to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup League


BVI beats Curacao 19-0 to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup Photo: Todd VanSickle

BVI beats Curacao 19-0 to top NACRA 2015 South Zone Cup
Photo: Todd VanSickle

With three consecutive victories, the national rugby team has topped the South Zone of the 2015 North American Caribbean Rugby Association’s 15s tournament, following an emphatic victory against Curacao at the A. O Shirley Recreational Grounds on Saturday, May 2.

On a dusty grounds, due to ongoing renovation works, the BVI shutout the visitors 19-0 and will now move on to face familiar opponent, Barbados.

In the 7th minute, the BVI seized a 7-0 lead behind a try by Shamarie Spencer and subsequent conversion by Rory Thornton. Shortly before halftime, the BVI struck again when Noel Maxwell scored with a burst of speed to push the lead to 12-0.

Curacao would respond with an offense surge that lasted about 5 minutes a few yards from the try line, but the BVI defense held up to ensure a 12 point lead when the halftime whistle blew.

Austin Keil crushed the hopes of the visitors when he broke two tackles and secured a try under the uprights. The conversion by Thornton gave the BVI the 19 point victory and a chance to play the top seeded teams in the Caribbean.

Head coach Sherlock Solomon was proud of the team’s accomplishment, particularly, since players from the under-19 program have started to come through. The BVI went to St. Lucia and St. Vincent and returned home with victories.

“Last season we were building and a year later you can see the work. The youngsters were very encouraging and impressive. We were fitter and much more consistent this year and the results prove how hard we have been working for the last 12 months,” said Solomon.

Asked further to explain what has changed since the BVI has always been working, Solomon said, “I think the commitment and the guys learning and understanding the game because half the team was made up of under 19s. They took their licks last year, went to the gym, worked harder and learned from that. It was really satisfying to see the progress,” said Solomon.

For Curacao, the stifling BVI defense was too much to overcome, acoording to captain Robin Perry.

“I don’t think that we played too well that is because the BVI didn’t let us. They played very solid defense, we couldn’t break them down. As a team we are very disappointed, but fair play to the BVI because they were the better team,” Perry stated.

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.

Curacao overcome BVI in NACRA Championship


South Zone League

South Zone League

In the final round of the South Zone Cup League Curacao and St Lucia came away with bonus point victories which allowed the two teams to finish 1-2 in the four team pool.

Curtleyson Martis struck for three tries including two first half efforts while fullback Tjakko Breuer had a brace as Curacao rolled over the British Virgin Islands 42-12 to take top spot in the South Zone Cup League title on Saturday. Thomas Chapman and Rory Thorton responded with second half tries for the BVI with Thorton converting his own effort.

St Lucia got a pair of tries from Lenford Eugene with solos from Ervin Joseph and Imran Williams, along with three Colvis Samuels conversions to win 26-22 over St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Kicking was the difference as St Vincent got two bonus points in the loss as Philip Alvis got two tries along with five pointers from Justin Joyles and George Kruger. Alvis only hit for one conversion from four attempts as St Vincent lost by less than 7 points and scored four tries. St Lucia finished 2nd in the South Zone Cup League with 6 points in the table and a 2-1 record while St Vincent, with a 1-2 record, ended with 5 points in the table including 3 bonus points.

As a result of this round, Curacao will take on the third place finisher in the South Championship League, which is 0-2 Barbados, while Bermuda (0-2) will take on Mexico in the other relegation promotion match. These games are scheduled to take place in September at the respective top place finisher, AOS home field.