By Phil Caplan, Date: 19/7/13
Jamaica have arrived in Toronto to take on Canada in the third Annual Caribbean Cup at the Lamport Stadium on Saturday.
The hosts hold the trophy after their 18-12 win in 2012 and will be in buoyant mood having attracted over 7,000 fans to the venue last week who witnessed a sensational 36-20 win over the United States.
Canada is currently 19th in the Rugby League International Federationâ€™s World Rankings while the Reggae Warriors are three places lower. Last year the Jamaicans came close to upsetting their North American rivals and Head Coach Romeo Monteith expects another good performance.
â€œCanada is a great side, they have just beaten the world number 12 ranked USA – who are in the World Cup – so we know they are a capable team,â€ he said on arrival. â€œHowever, we will leave everything on that field for 80 minutes. We love playing in Canada and our hosts are always great to us so will definitely enjoy this challenge.â€
â€œOur squad has been going through their paces at the GC Foster College grounds and will feature 15 domestic based players. Added to them are Romaen Campbell who attends Mico University College on a rugby league scholarship is playing for the Boston 13s in the USARL championship this summer. And Sheffield Eaglesâ€™ Corey Hanson, who plays at centre, is also over here. We are confident that the players we have selected will make us proud.â€
The JRLA now boasts nearly 1,000 players at all age groups thanks, in part, to the Sports Development Foundation, the government agency responsible for the funding of local Associations who recognized the JRLA in April 2004.
The Reggae Warriors have attracted thousands of fans worldwide who enjoy their free flowing style of play and, according to JRLA Chairman Ventley Brown, it is this flair for the sport that will one day propel Jamaica to become one of the country’s most loved teams.
â€œWe believe strongly in putting out a product that is entertaining and attractive to our growing fan base,â€ he commented. â€œWe continue to work hard to establish the structures that will make rugby league a household name in Jamaica. A lot has been achieved in a short time and we are hoping to attract local sponsors so that we can play some internationals in Jamaica to further entrench our game in the psyche of our people.â€
JAMAICA NATIONAL RUGBY LEAGUE SQUAD
Andre Reid (c), Claude Yen, Jason Gooden, Jermaine Pinnock, Marvin Thompson, Robert Rodney (Duhaney Park Red Sharks) Adrian Mckenzie, Ryan Grant, Stephen Scott, Fabion Turner (GC Foster College) Romaen Campbell (Mico University College), Corey Hanson (Sheffield Eagles), Nathan Campbell (University of Technology), Jakeba Grant (University of the West Indies), Omar Jones, Sandino Hastings (Vauxhall Vultures)