T&T Men’s rugby team got a perfect start to their 2019 World Cup Qualifying campaign yesterday when they clobbered regional neighbours Jamaica 34-14 in a keen contest at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva.
A polished T&T team signalled early intentions when Joseph Quashie received unmarked from Agboola Silverthorn’s inside pass and tried in the 16th minute, but the conversion was missed by dubutant Leon Pantor. Two minutes later Omari benefitted from a series of attacking phases to gave the home team their second try of the contest but Pantor, still shaking off jitters of his first game, would again fail with the conversion.
The local men dominated the encounter in the opening half and were rewarded with a try that earned them a 15-0 lead in the 22nd minute. Veteran Adam Frederick waited after a driving maul from his teammate ended in his lap for a simple try.
Later Pantor made amends for his earlier missed conversions, when he tried in the 40th minute. And he looked on as Johnasson Alleyne made no mistake with the conversion to give the home team a 22-0 advantage at the end of the half. On the resumption an aggressive Jamaican approach forced T&T on the backfoot early on, but they could nothing with Pantor offloaded to Quashie in the 48th minute for 27-0 lead and Pantor’s conversion took TT to 29-0.
The visitors responded with two quick tries thereafter. Antonio Baker tried in the 72nd minute with Andrew Hylton converting. And in the 75th Orien Smith pulled away for another Jamaica try while Hubert Thomas converted.
However, T&T sealed the win in the 80th minute when Keishon Walker raced clear for another try to takle the score to 34, as the conversion was again missed. The game was also T&T’s opening defence of the Caribbean Championship.