Mexico leads revival of Caribbean XVs

There were two XVs internationals in central America and the Caribbean this weekend, marking the return of international XVs for the first time in over a decade, including a test debut for Mexico.

Published by John Birch, July 14th, 2024

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Mexico leads revival of Caribbean XVs

Barbados 32 Cayman Islands 23

The weekend began with a Barbados Select XV hosting the Cayman Islands in an international friendly fixture - the first XV’s fixture for Barbados for 15 years, and Cayman's first international for 12 years.

Barbados coach Anthony Lambert, speaking before the game, said “Technically this is a friendly and not a full test match. Cayman has a couple of players that are ineligible and so do we. However it’s the first 15’s women’s game in Barbados that we are aware of in 15 years. So it’s still a pretty big occasion for us. It’s something we’ve been working towards for the past couple years, specifically.

The visitors, too, are excited about the matchup. Via their Facebook page, Cayman Islands Rugby pointed out that they, too, have been absent from this format for some time.

“This historic clash is the first full 80-minute international fixture for Cayman rugby in 12 years under the new era,” they revealed. “Both teams had the vision & foresight to plan this clash to help grow & develop girls’ & women’s rugby on their small Caribbean islands. Both are developing rugby nations putting women’s rugby in the Rugby Americas North region and further afield back on the map.”

Lambert added that Cayman were more used to the fifteen-a-side game. Barbados had played a ten-a-side in preparation for this fixture.

The resulting fixture was a "cracker" according to those fortunate to be able to see it, resulting in a 32-23 win for Barbados.

Mexico 27 Trinidad and Tobago 0

Trinidad are the Caribbean's highest ranked team at XVs based on their dominance of the format when there was a Caribbean XVs championship. They also recently played against Colombia, and also played in the Rugby Americas North championship last year, when games were just 20 minutes each way.

This year the fixtures against USA South were still 20 minutes halves, but this test match was played to the full 80 minutes.

Despite Trinidad's experience and reputation, debutants Mexico were much the most accomplished team, dominating play and possession. However, Mexico could only manage five tries despite that dominance, winning 27-0, but it was a performance that should encourage World Rugby to give them a route to WXV and future World Cups from which Rugby Americas North competitions are current excluded (Canada and USA qualify via the Pacific Fours).

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