The Pepsi Hornets are the inaugural champs of the Hairoun Beer Seven’s rugby championships that concluded on Saturday at the Track and Field ground in the National Park.
The Hornets shut out Trinidad’s top side, Harvard Rugby Club, in the final of the tournament with a 10-0 win in the ground out effort by both teams.
Both sides started aggressively and did not shy away from the physicality that comes with the sport.
However, while Harvard made a few moves, they seemingly lacked some pace against the Hornets, who were not just faster but also played extremely physical, especially out of the scrum.
Australia-based, Kevin McKenzie would get the ball rolling just before the end of the first half with a bulldozing-type try straight up the gut of Harvard’s defence.
Mid-way through the second half, a crucial drop by national player for Guyana, Claudius Butts, who was playing for Harvard, allowed David Felecien to use his agility to score the Hornet’s second try that would basically signal the end of the game.
McKenzie spoke after the win, “I came back for personal reasons and it so happened that this tournament is happening and I could let it go by because it was the first time $200,000 was up for grabs, but I think the level was great and if the level of the players was like this last year I think we would not have lost to Jamaica last year.”
He added, “Overall I thought the level was high; we had some good guys coming back into the team from Trinidad and I myself playing the way I play led from the front…all in all I think we the new additions in the exec we are headed in the right direction because our season started in November last year compared to now and more rugby needs to be played so we are headed in the right direction.”
Harvard’s captain, Shaquille Dyte also shared his thoughts on the loss, “It was definitely a top tournament, the level we did not expect but we had a few critical mistakes that had us on the back foot and we were on the defensive end of the ball most times which contributed to the loss.”
He added, “We have our own tournament in Trinidad and hopefully we can get some Guyanese clubs to come down there so we can continue this back and forth.
Second Vice-President of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU), Rawle Toney, while sharing his thoughts on the tournament, revealed the next big event for the union.
“I think it’s clear that the guys have been working outside of the season and their fitness level have improved; we were definitely impressed with the level of the tournament and I must say we still have a lot of rugby to be played especially at the international level with the CAC Games and the RAN’s Sevens still to be contested.”
“We will also be doing another tournament this year for the Carnival season that will also bring in clubs from around the region so that will be the next big event for rugby.”
Meanwhile, the Hornets received $200,000 cash, which is the most lucrative first prize in the Union’s history.
Harvard received $100,000 for the second place effort, while Hornet’s Abdullah Silverton was awarded the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.