Under-18 Crocs set to dominate Rugby Americas North Sevens
MARTIN... this is a great deal for the Jamaica Under-18 Junior Crocs Photo: Observer file

The Jamaica Under-18 Crocs and the senior Crocs, both men and women, are set to dominate the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens competitions, which run from November 11-13 in Mexico City, Mexico.

This championship should have been held from February, but was postponed following a decision taken by the RAN Medical Committee and the Mexican Rugby Federation, when there was a surge in the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Jamaica's senior men's Crocs are fresh out of World Cup competition, while the boys recently topped an Under-19 tournament involving RAN teams in July.

That will certainly serve as a confidence-booster for this championship. This will be the RAN first Super Sevens' week that Jamaica, Cayman Island, British Virgin Islands' juniors, along with many more countries, will be taking part and Bruce Martin, technical director of the Crocs' Rugby Sevens programme, extended gratitude to the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), which played "a vital and integral role" in their contribution to the team being able to attend such an important event.

"This is a great deal for the Jamaica Under-18 Junior Crocs that acts as a catalyst to so many more major events for us in rugby," said Martin.

"The JOA recognises that this [U18 RAN Sevens] is a result of a pinnacle of many years of hard work and strict dedication for our players on the pathway to dynamic moves in Jamaica Rugby and the JOA equally shares our excitement."

The junior competition gets going on Friday, with Jamaica facing up to Mexico B in the morning opener, then follow-up with afternoon matches against the British Virgin Islands and Trinidad and Tobago.

Senior competition gets going on Saturday with Jamaica's men tackling Curacao in the day's opening match, and the women facing the Dominican Republic near midday. The women will next face Bermuda, before going up against hosts Mexico.

With goals as their motivation, the Under-18 Crocs playing in RAN's Super Sevens Week will be focusing firstly on the short-term goal of securing a spot in the Youth Commonwealth Games Summer 2023 tournament in Trinidad & Tobago.

This fits into their long-term goal of qualifying for the 2028 Olympic Games, which will be held in Los Angeles, United States.

The Under-18 team's foray into this competition comes on the heels of their senior counterparts, who for the second-consecutive time participated at the Rugby Sevens World Cup held last month in Cape Town, South Africa.

Chairman of the Jamaica Rugby Union (JRU) Jerry Benzwick said "our boys look very good".

Commenting on the overall teams, he said: "We've positive vibes about the strength of the teams and their ability."

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