Barbados has selected its team for the 2016 Olympic and Hong Kong qualifier in Cary, North Carolina, USA, June 13 and 14, which is being staged by the North America and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA).
The team has been training over the past two months at the Garrison Savannah where it has been playing games against local opposition in addition to following a rigorous strength and fitness programme in the Breakout Gym at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The locally based players will be joined by four United Kingdom-based players who have recently competed in Rugby Sevens tournaments in the UK and who have all competed for Barbados in the past. The team will depart Barbados and the UK for Cary on June 8, for pre-tournament preparations and acclimatization in advance of the tournament.
“The players have put in a good effort to improve all aspects of their game. We have been working hard on our strength and fitness, with players training six days per week. I don’t think we could have asked much more from them. I believe we have moved another step closer to our goal of playing good Rugby Sevens with our decision-making in the contact area and our confidence with the ball,” coach Joe Whipple said.
Also participating in the Olympic qualifying tournament are two tremendous in-form teams in Canada and the USA who are well prepared, having just finished the 2014-2015 World Rugby Sevens World Series as two of the top ten teams in the World.
“The Caribbean sides and Mexico will be bringing in their best players so this should be a good test of where we lie in the region. As it is an Olympic event, this tournament requires all of our players to be Barbadian passport holders, so this has taken a few of our UK-based players out of consideration for selection. This affects our depth somewhat, but we are still putting out a very competitive side. I am interested to see how we play on this stage,” Whipple added.
Squad: Phil Lucas (captain), Sean Ward (vice-captain), Jae Bowen, Nico Blunt, Dario Stoute, Jordan Gomez, Bryan Cummings, Kevyn Murrell, Mikyle Walcott, Abdeel Giles (subject to documents), Tom Lucas, Enrique Oxley, Shaun English (non-travelling reserve), Le-andro Jordan.