Big year ahead for rugby

December 24, 2016
Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Union, Jerry Benzwick. Patrick Planter/ Photographer
Members of Jamaica's rugby team in training. Contributed

Jamaica Rugby Football Union (JRFU) chairman Jerry Benzwick has big plans to have the nation involved in more high profile competitions next year.

Benzwick's vision is to have the senior men's and women's teams advance to the latter stages of next year's Hong Kong Sevens tournament.

He told STAR Sports that by doing this, the profile of the team will grow and describes qualifying for the competition as a "big, big deal".

"Now that we're going there, the idea is to make an impact," he said.

"We need to win our rounds so we move on and get invited to play on the circuit. If we're playing on the circuit, which is the HSBC World Series Circuit, then we're making waves as a country in rugby."

The Crocs and Lady Crocs both claimed places in Hong Kong after strong showings in their respective Caribbean Championship finals in November.

trophy division

This has led to Benzwick describing 2016 as a "big year" for the union but he also says that it had its challenges.

"Well, 2016 has been a roller-coaster ride for us," he says. "We actually won under 19s in our trophy division, and then we came and won the Caribbean Championship in Women's sevens. We also came second in the Caribbean in our men's seven aside."

The Challenges Benzwick refers to are the lack of funding, which hampered event planning by the union and the team missing out on advancing to the latter rounds of World Cup qualifying.

However, The Crocs recorded their biggest ever margin of victory, in March this year, beating hosts St. Vincent and the Grenadines 48-0 in one of those qualifiers.

Benzwick hopes further accomplishments like these, next year, will lift the Crocs from their current position of 71 in the world rankings, and the Lady Crocs from 47th.

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