With USA and Canada absent, Mexico again proved to be the strongest team in the North and Central America. But the Caribbean islands are closing the gap.
Mexico have been consistently the leading nation in Central America and the Caribbean since 2013 – only teams from North America have stopped them winning the RAN title and with team from the USA and Canada absent again this year the central Americans again proved to be too strong for the Caribbean island opponents. But it was not all plain sailing.
An impressive line-up of ten teams took part this year in the tournament, held in Barbados for this first time since 2011, including St Lucia – back for the first time since 2005 – and Curaçao, returning after a five-year absence.
The St Lucians had a wonderful weekend (more below), but it was far tougher for the representative of the Dutch island they conceded 309 points in their five games, without scoring any themselves, including two 78-0 defeats to Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
Both island teams were the only unbeaten teams at the end of the first day after they tied their Pool B decider.
In Pool A Mexico topped the pool – but only on points difference after they lost their third game to the Dominican Republic, meaning they had to beat Guyana in their final match to make the semi-finals… which they did.
The Dominican Republic were on the verge of the final four themselves after the Mexican win, but they could not beat Guyana – drawing 7-7 – before losing the final game of the pool, in effect a quarter-finals, to St Lucia.
St Lucia – playing in only their second ever tournament – were the surprise team of the weekend, beginning with a 25-0 win over Guyana, and going on to beat Barbados 29-5 before that crucial 12-7 win over Dominican Republic.
The second day went much more to script with Mexico and Trinidad & Tobago winning their semi-finals over Jamaica and St Lucia comfortably, before the Mexicans just took the final by 15-5.
Pool A: Mexico 50 - 0 Barbados; Guyana 0 - 25 Saint Lucia; Dominican Republic 38 - 0 Barbados; Mexico 20 - 5 Saint Lucia; Dominican Republic 14 - 5 Mexico; Guyana 42 - 0 Barbados; Barbados 5 - 29 Saint Lucia; Dominican Republic 7 - 7 Guyana; Mexico 27 - 7 Guyana; Dominican Republic 7 - 12 Saint Lucia
Pool B: Jamaica 78 - 0 Curacao; Trinidad & Tobago 42 - 0 Bahamas; Jamaica 17 - 7 Bahamas; Bermuda 49 - 0 Curacao; Bermuda 0 - 40 Jamaica; Trinidad & Tobago 78 - 0 Curacao; Bermuda 0 - 34 Trinidad & Tobago; Curacao 0 - 51 Bahamas; Jamaica 12 - 12 Trinidad & Tobago; Bermuda 10 - 24 Bahamas
Plate Semi-finals: Dominican Republic 41 - 0 Bermuda; Bahamas 20 - 5 Guyana
Trophy (9th place): Barbados 53 - 0 Curacao
Semi-finals: Mexico 19 - 5 Jamaica; Trinidad & Tobago 22 - 5 Saint Lucia
7th place: Bermuda 0 - 32 Guyana
Plate final: Dominican Republic 14 - 5 Bahamas
3rd place: Jamaica 5 - 0 Saint Lucia
Final: Mexico 15 - 10 Trinidad & Tobago