THE national women's sevens rugby team celebrated their qualification for next year's Pan American Games, after they advanced to the final of the Rugby Americas North (RAN) Sevens Championships in Barbados yesterday.
They, however, lost 15-10 to back-to-back winners, Mexico, in a nail-biting final that went into sudden death. Leah Kintiba's scored what looked good enough to be a winning try in the second half to give TT their second lead of the match. However, TT lost concentration late on and Mexico capitalised to score a try to take the fixture into sudden-death – the first spell in the tournament in which the Caribbean team looked visibly deflated. They, however, could still leave Barbados with their heads held high considering they were undefeated in regulation time throughout the tournament.
In addition to their qualification to the Pan American Games, a win for coach Carlton Felix's TT women would have seen them secure their tickets for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 qualifier in Hong Kong, next April.
The men, after losing at the cup quarter-final stage, moved into the plate – essentially a consolation event – which they won comfortably.
After a thrilling first day of rugby, Larry Mendez's men had their quest for a spot at the Pan American Games cut short yesterday when they were defeated 26-19 by Bermuda at the cup quarter-final stage.
That loss sent them into the plate competition and they rebounded well to win with a 31-0 thrashing of Cayman Islands in the final.
The women, meanwhile, received plaudits for their effort in Barbados.
At the group stage, the TT women won three of four matches against Bahamas (42-0), Curacao (78-0) and Bermuda (34-0). They then faced the other unbeaten team in their group, Jamaica, with that match ending in a 12-12 draw. With a superior points-differential, TT booked a spot in the semifinal against St Lucia. Nicolette Pantor and Straker scored one try each vs St Lucia, and Kintiba scored a pair. Straker also converted one of the efforts to completed a 22-5 win.