Local rugby body aims to attract athletes

September 26, 2016
Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Union, Jerry Benzwick. Patrick Planter/ Photographer

The Jamaica Rugby Union (JRU) is on a drive to recruit former and current track and field athletes to participate in the sport as it aims to rebuild its programme.

"I want to recruit athletes, runners, fast people. Right now, we have a bunch of people in Jamaica who are fast, but they can't make the national team because our national team is too fast. So we are going to end up with a bunch of people who are super fast but can't make the national team," chairman of the JRU, Jerry Benzwick, told STAR Sports in a recent interview.

"If you can run and catch a ball, you can play rugby. Rugby is that kind of game," he added.

The national men's and women's teams are due to play two tournaments in Trinidad and Tobago in November and later in Hong Kong, and Benzwick is particularly interested in recruiting females whom he believes can help drive the sport forward.

"I'm inviting women who are athletes with speed and size to come and join us. We don't want to take anyone who is younger than 17 because, at that level, it's a contact sport and their bodies are still developing.

 

GET TO HONG KONG

 

"With this crop of boys that we have, we know we can beat the Caribbean and make it to Hong Kong," he said.

Benzwick, who said he will be assisting in the coaching of the female team, also pointed out there is a wide scope for young rugby players to earn scholarships to countries all over the world, especially the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, where rugby is a major sport.

The rugby team trains at Up Park Camp on Tuesdays and Thursday at 5 p.m. and on Saturdays at 9 a.m.

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