USA South became the first Rugby Americas North XVs champions as last week’s tournament reached its climax in Jamaica
The Caribbean region was one of the first to organise a regular XVs championship in 2003, run by the then NAWIRA – North America and West Indies Rugby Association – but rising costs and the rise of sevens resulted in the cancellation of the championship after 2011.
Now called Rugby Americas North, the regional association has gradually encouraged the revival of the longer form with first a tens competition, then a twelves, and this year for the first time since 2011 a fifteens tournament.
However, this still did not quite mean the revival of test rugby in the Caribbean and Central America area as the pool games had 20-minute halves, and the third-place playoff game and final were 30-minute halves.
Based on performances on the 10s and 12s tournaments the favourites at the start looked like being Mexico and USA South, but both lost their opening games. At the midway point at the end of the second day Trinidad & Tobago – winners of the last XVs tournament in 2011 – were the only unbeaten team.
The third day saw the final five pool games, and after their stumble in their opening games USA South hit their stride with a big win against Jamaica and a crucial 12-7 victory against an improving Mexico.
Trinidad, on the other hand, went into their final pool game against Mexico unbeaten – and lost 19-0. However, with only one loss each the reigning XVs champions were still able to qualify for the final against USA South, who also had just that one loss. Against Trinidad.
Mexico took third with a 30-15 win against Cayman, before the final – which was a very different game to the pool game between the same sides.
This time USA South made no mistakes, dominating the game to win 30-0.
Pool: Jamaica 12-10 Mexico; USA South 5-6 Trinidad & Tobago; Cayman Islands 0-20 Mexico; Jamaica 7-8 Trinidad & Tobago; Cayman Islands 0-46 USA South; Jamaica 0-37 USA South; Cayman Islands 12-27 Trinidad & Tobago; Mexico 7-12 USA South; Jamaica 8-13 Cayman Islands; Mexico 19-0 Trinidad & Tobago
3rd place: Cayman Islands 15-30 Mexico
Final: USA South 30-0 Trinidad & Tobago