Crocs Rugby 7s captain says smaller nations need more games to compete with the big boys
LIMA, 29 July – Jamaica rugby 7s captain Ashley SMITH has pleaded with the game’s governing bodies to give smaller nations a chance to fight with the big teams.
The Crocs finished sixth at the Lima 2019 Pan American Games, despite the squad coming together only a few days beforehand.
But they do not have another tournament until the Hong Kong 7s in April next year, just weeks before they try to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
“We’ve got a huge break now, a nine month gap before we play again. That’s the frustration,” London-based SMITH said.
“How can we compete with these world series teams if we are not playing rugby? That’s the challenge we face as we’re improving every time we play.
“We need World Rugby and RAN (Rugby America North) to help us out and put some fixtures together.
“We’re hoping to get invited to more of those world series, like tier two nations do. The Los Angeles and Vancouver legs, we believe we should be there. Hopefully, something will be done.”
Jamaica marked their Pan American Games 7s debut by finishing third in the ‘Pool of Death’ thanks to a battling victory over Uruguay. They then beat Guyana, but lost the 5th/6th place game to Chile.
But they hope Lima 2019 will be a platform to realize their dream of qualifying for the Olympics at a repechage next year.
“We finished higher than where we were seeded which is a positive, but we really wanted that fifth place,” SMITH added.
“It’s given us a bit of momentum and we’ve got the Hong Kong 7s next year then the repechage for the Olympic Games qualifying.
“We’re assuming the repechage will be in the UK which will be good as some of our players are based there. But it will still be a huge challenge with the likes of France there.”
Source: NSLima2019 ig/ic