By RENALDO DORSETT
IT will be back to the drawing board for the Bahamas Rugby Football Union and its national programme after suffering a dissappointing loss at home in regional play over the weekend.
The Bahamas fell 42-15 to USA South Saturday afternoon at the Winton Rugby Centre in an attempt to qualify for the NACRA North Caribbean
Championship, despite a strong second half performance.
Team Bahamas actually outscored USA South 15-12 in the second half, but it was hardly enough to overcome a 30-0 halftime deficit.
Trailing by 30 following intermission, several key substituions led to the Bahamas opening up the second half with a more aggressive attack.
KC Charlton converted a kick roughly three minutes in to finally break the ice for the Bahamas and a 30-3 score.
On their next possesion, Connor Albury sparked the Bahamas with a breakaway run but the team squandered a scoring opportunity and lost the ball just before the try-line.
The Bahamas regained possession following a scrum five metres away from the try-line and Dan Woodside was able to score for the team’s first try of the game.
Jeremico Cooper posted a late game try to answer a pair of tries from the USA South and produced the game’s final score.
USA South captain Derek Wolfe said his side credited their pre-game scouting for a quick start to the first half. “We knew they played a structured game, but we knew one of the weaknesses would be the line out and we exploited that,” he said. “Hats off to them, that second half was a true battle and that’s what we came here for. The heat is something that we’re not used to, but necessary for us to get accustomed to moving forward. I knew that we would be able to hang, sometimes a team steps up and the best you can be able to do is hunker down, they had to work very hard for those tries and I’m happy with that.”
US South continued their quest for a NACRA title after 50-23 and 29-12 wins over Mexico and Jamaica respectively.
With a win over the Bahamas, they are now in a group with Bermuda and the Cayman Islands to decide the North champion. That champion would then go on to play the South winner (currently Guyana, Trindidad and Tobago, Barbados, and Curacao are still in the competition).
USA South head coach Dave Conyers said the touring effect around the Caribbean has already paid dividends for his squad. “That middle 20 minutes of the second half, that touring effect was evident with us sticking together that really brings a team together and that’s what we wanted to accomplish,” he said.
The USA Rugby South is the Territorial Union (TU) for rugby union teams playing in the Southern United States. It is one of seven TU’s that govern specific regions of USA Rugby which also includes North Carolina, Georgia, Palmetto, Deep South, Florida and MidSouth.
The Bahamas has faced several visiting teams in preparation for today’s match, including series against teams from Brown and Colombia University.
The 2012 NACRA Caribbean Championship was the first qualifying event for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The tournament featured nine IRB members from the Caribbean and North and South America.
In the pre-qualification tournament, the Bahamas suffered consecutive losses and was eliminated. In game one, the Bahamas fell 27-7 to the Cayman Islands, who beat the
Bahamas for the first time since 2003.
In game two, the Bahamas fell 16-8 to Bermuda in their second game of the North Zone group. The Bahamas missed out on an opportunity to play in the North Caribbean final by virtue of the loss to Cayman.