Rugby fans will be entertained again with the visit of Mexico to face the Cayman Islands in the Big Game 8 on Saturday, June 17. The Big Game matches are not just great spectacles or rugby, the event is a family-orientated day out with music, competitions and tremendous fun.
Earlier this week, Garry Southway, head coach of the RHSW Cayman Islands side, announced his 23 to face Mexico in the Health City Cayman Big Game 8 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex this weekend.
The team sees six personnel changes from the squad which beat Bermuda 28-15 on June 3.
Southway said: “We are fortunate to be able to strengthen the squad for the game against Mexico by bringing back a number of experienced players who were unavailable for selection and travel to the game in Bermuda.
“This would include Justin Wight and Captain Chris Kennedy who are part of the three man player leadership group and Shane Westin, Johann Fourie and Alex Pineau who were previously selected against USA South.”
He has included Andy Hall, a former Under-19 player, who will be the only new debutant in the squad having returned from university in the United Kingdom and is expected to show up well physically.
Southway added: “The game against Mexico will be a tough test for the Cayman squad but we have improved dramatically after each game we have played and we should be confident of victory at Truman Bodden Stadium in front of our home fans.”
Mexico will certainly be a stern test for Cayman which is in a transitional phase having seen no less than 12 player retirements from national rugby duty since last season but the home field advantage will be in stark contrast to the last time Cayman faced Mexico in Dos Rios, Mexico at an altitude of 8,600ft above sea level. That match saw a 10-point loss for the Caymanians having been 20 points down at half time.
Whilst the odds may not be in Cayman’s favour against the incumbent Rugby America’s North Champions who are coming off wins against Bermuda and USA Rugby South and in general a vastly bigger nation (according to World Rugby’s 2016 numbers Mexico has total rugby playing numbers of 56,403 which is almost more than the total population of Cayman).
Cayman Rugby has never shied away from a challenge and is notorious for providing a “bloody nose” to bigger countries at this level. After all, Cayman defeated Mexico at Big Game 1 in 2012 and recorded more recent wins over USA Rugby South in 2015 and 2016.
Cayman Rugby vice president Peter de Vere said: “I’m looking forward to the Test match. Having avoided any threat of relegation by defeating Bermuda I think the team can take the field on Saturday knowing they have nothing to lose and that makes us a really dangerous proposition for the Mexicans.
“We have a strong set of forwards and a dangerous backline. If we get our defense right and avoid giving away kickable penalties then this is a very winnable game for us. With a good crowd behind us that’ll be the extra fuel in the tank we need to make this happen.”
1. Jordan Southway
2. Danny McGrath
3. Jonny Gibson
4. Chris Kennedy (Capt)
5. Mark Soto
6. Sam Anderson
7. Alex Robertson
8. Ben Blair (Vice Capt)
9. Morgan Shelver
10. Morgan Hayward
11. James McGinn
12. Michael Wilson
13. Venasio Tokatokavanua
14. Justin Wight
15. Eddie Westin
16. Peter De Vere
17. Johann Fourie
18. Andy Hall
19. Joey Westin
20. Shane Westin
21. Alex Pineau
22. Iain Currie
23. Abdul Patterson
• 2 p.m. Gates Open
• 3 p.m. DJ Action Jackson spinning the tunes
• 3:40 p.m. Welcoming Speeches
• 3:50 p.m. National Anthems
• 4.00 p.m. Cayman Islands v Mexico
• 4:40 p.m. Half Time – Heineken for a year kicking competition and The Security Centre U12s Challenge Cup
• 4.55 p.m. Cayman Islands v Mexico- second half
• 6:30 p.m. – DJ Action Jackson spinning the tunes
• 7:30 p.m. Live band – The Neverines
• 11:00 p.m. Close
Tickets can be bought at the gate for $25 or in advance from at http://www.caymanrugby.com
Kids under 12: $7