Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 A Year of Rugby Part 4

North America

The main features about international rugby in North America was the NAWIRA (North American and West Indies Rugby Association) World Cup qulaifying matches and the USA v Canada Churchill Cup clash.

12th Costa Rica
Costa Rica participated in the CONSUR B (South American Zone) competition in 2006, held in Caracus. They were outclassed in all their games and stayed away from international competition to rebuild. In 2008 they hosted the Cayman Islands losing 17-20 in San Juan on 17 May. This was a very good effort considering the Caymans had particpated in the NAWIRA World Cup qualifying matches in April. Coast Rica may well look to NAWIRA for future competition.

11th Saint Vincent and Grenadines
This country, like Costa Rica, re entered the international scene after a year's absence. They played Mexico at home in late March to decide the final place in the NAWIRA World Cup qualifying tournament on Grand Cayman. The Mexicans, also playing for the first time since 2006, won easily 47-7.

10th Jamaica
Jamaica was one of a number of Caribbean nations to reappear on the international scene after a few years absence. Jamaica lost all their games but they were all close encounters, including a 3-10 loss to Guyana, one of the tournament finalists, in the first World Cup knockout match.

9th Cayman Islands
The hosts of the NAWIRA World Cup qualifying tournament could well be disappointed with their 7th placing. They were outplayed by eventual tournament winner Trinidad and Tobago in the first match, a World Cup knockout match, then lost to newcomers Mexico in the second and then defeated Jamaica in the Shield final. Caymans then travelled to Costa Rica in May to narrowly defeat their hosts 20-17.

8th Mexico
Mexico qualified for the NAWIRA Tournament after a 47-7 win against St Vincent and Grenadines away. At the tournament they nearly caused a major upset in their first game, just losing 20-21 to Barbados in the World Cup knockout round. They then suprised the hosts Cayman Islands to win 13-7 but lost their last game to Bahamas.

7th Bahamas
The Bahamas lost their first game of the NAWIRA Tournament 13-29 to Bermuda in the World Cup qualifying knockout round. They went on to win the other two matches against Jamaica and Mexico to take the tournament's bowl prize.

6th Barbados
Barbados was the team that won the 2005 NAWIRA World Cup qualifying tournament, which included a 25-17 win over Trinidad and Tobago. The Barbadians went on to play the USA and Canada for a place in the World Cup Final. They lost heavily to the two North American giants but were expected to fare well again at this tournament. They started with a very shakey 21-20 win over Mexico and were humbled 0-56 against Trinidad and Tobago in the next match. A dispirited team then lost the plate final to Bermuda 6-17 to end a disappointing tournament.

5th Bermuda
Bermuda has been around the Caribbean Championship scene for over thirty years. Their most recent matches were losses to Cayman Islands and Canada Under 21 in a tournament in the Caymans in 2006. At the 2008 NAWIRA tournament they started in style defeating the Bahamas 29-13 but then lost 13-25 to eventual finalist Guyana 13-25. In their last match they defeated Barbados 17-6 to take the Plate final.

4th Guyana
Guyana had defeated Trinidad and Tobago 29-21 back in the NAWIRA Tournament in 2005. After winning their first two games at the 2008 NAWIRA tournament, the Guyanese were pitted against the Trindadians in the final. They showed great spirit in the final only to lose to the better side 24-40.

3rd Trinidad and Tobago
The Trinidadians defeated Guyana 40-24 in the final and won the right to play the CONSUR B finalist Brazil to move to the next World Cup qualifying stage. Althought they lost both legs of the games against Brazil, Trinidad and Tobago can be proud to be the champion team of the Caribbean until the next NAWIRA competition.

2nd United States
For the third year running the USA had to play second fiddle to their northern neighbours Canada. The USA lost 10-26 to Canada in Chicago in the Churchill Cup 5th/6th (Bowl) playoff.

1st Canada

Part 5 will look at Africa (CAR-Confederation Africa Rugby) placings 20th to 29th

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