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On, Saturday November 3rd, 2018, on a slightly overcast day an excited crowd of curious spectators gathered to witness n historic event. While everybody in Leadville is familiar with the British troops and their sporting prowess, nobody knew quite what to expect as cars, pick-ups and minibuses from the BATSUB Base and across Belize arrived with gangs of young lads jumping out wearing bright colored kit and carrying what looked like American Footballs.

But it wasn’t American Football. This  was  rugby  7s,  a  hugely  popular  variant  of  rugby  played  around  the world.  And the lads were from some of Belize’s first rugby football clubs – Kings Park Scorpions RFC, Cayo Baymen RFC, Orange Walk Black Mambas RFC, and the first ever national rugby team of Belize – The Belize Macaws.

At the 1pm kick-off, Cayo Baymen RFC, the newest team to be established in Belize from San Ignacio, took on BATSUB Sailfish RFC.  It was a nervous, tough first game between a Belizean team and the experienced BATSUB boys, but, under the hugely experienced direction of Referee, Scott Harland from Rugby Americas North (the regional rugby governing body) who was also running a match officials training course on the day for four new referees, the game soon thrilled the record number of spectators for a rugby game here in Belize.  

After 16 minutes (the game is played over two 7 minute halves with a 2 minute break), the game was over and BATSUB took the win.  Next came the Scorpions versus Black Mambas – Belize City against Orange Walk. The two top teams in Belize. The Mambas won after a tough game in which the only yellow card of the day was issued, for a high tackle, leaving Scorpions one man down for 2 minutes of the game.

Then  came  the  main  event  –  Belize  national  team  versus  BATSUB.    This  would  be  the  first  game  for  the recently-established  national  team,  and  it  was  an  absolute  thriller!    The  Macaws  scored  two  tries  in  the  first half  against  the  Sailfish,  including  a  great  sprint  from  Macaw’s  Ashton  Usher,  and  another  dash  for  the  line from  Jason  Castillo. A  daring  tackle  from  Macaws’  Jonathan  Smith,  to  thunderous  applause  from  the spectators, revented the Sailfish from getting a fourth try, but they won eventually 3:2.

After ten games of thrilling rugby, with each of the Belizean teams playing each other and BATSUB, the event closed  (well,  the  beer  ran  out  as  well),  but  not  before  some  youngsters  who  were  in  the  crowd  and  from around Ladyville, who had been anxiously waiting to try out this new sport, got the chance to play with some members  of  both  the  national  Team  and  BATSUB.  Each  time  there  was  a  break  in  the  rugby  games,  these youngsters  would  come  out  onto  the  field  and  practice  throwing  the  ball  around  –  it  was  difficult  at  times  to keep them off the field, so when the chance came to play with real rugbiers, they were quick to jump in.

The next game involving all the Belizean teams from Belize City, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Orange Walk and San Pedro will be the National Championships in Belize City, on November 25th, 2018.  On that day the first ever international rugby match – between Belize and Guatemala – will also take place. Tickets are $5 and are available to pre-order or on the gate.

For more information:
RUGBY BELIZE - Belize Rugby Football Union - T: 635 7339
Email: [email protected] Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rugbybze

First Belize National Rugby Team

First Belize National Rugby Team

First Belize National Rugby Team

First Belize National Rugby Team

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