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Ja bound for U-19 World Cup
Carl Spence, Gleaner Writer
THERE WAS bitter-sweet emotion at the Jamaica Rugby Union’s (JRU) press conference which should have commemorated the young Under-19s historic qualification to the Youth Rugby World Cup at the Sports Development Foundation complex on Wednesday.
A tension-filled room with media personnel, rugby executives, Under-19 players and parents gathered to reflect on Jamaica’s Under-19s recapturing the regional championship and qualifying for the Youth Rugby World Cup 2008 after they defeated Guyana 4-1 on penalties in a game that was drawn 14-14 in regular playing time.
However, instead of celebrating the country’s victory, the union found itself deliberating on the problems it faces going forward as an organisation.
“With the help from the Higher One, we defeated Guyana, it was a job well done for all our hard work,” were the words of team coach Victor Hyde.
Cry for help
Hyde then ventured to thank all the sponsors and supporters that helped in the team’s victory before pleading to the government and corporate Jamaica for support in making the World Cup trip a success.
“The public Jamaica, the government, opposition and the entire works, we would love for you to come on board and help these players because the majority of them are from the inner city,” Hyde said.
The same cry for help was uttered by the team’s captain, Tyronie Rowe. Rowe noted that his team only won the championship and became the first Caribbean team to qualify for the Youth World Cup by the help of God, but stressed the little support the country offers the sport.
“We have done Jamaica a tremendous job by qualifying for the World Cup and winning the Caribbean Championship with a small attention from our major sponsors and the JRU,” Rowe said. “Now we are just asking the government to pay a little attention to us because I’m confident in my team winning the World Cup. We are not getting the amount of support we need because we don’t even have a training ground and we are trying,” he said.
The JRU lost its training ground at the Caymanas Estates to the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) because the JRU owes the corporation more than $700,000 in lease payments and is currently training at available high school fields which are close to the players on the team.
The union’s chairperson, Jacob Thompson, and public relations officer, Rohan Stewart, said the union should be treated as other organisations because the sport can be marketed just as other sports are in the country.