– Rugby captain bemoans uncertainty over venue for Trinidad clash
By Akeem Greene
A day before Guyana’s National Rugby team, Green Machine, tackles Trinidad and Tobago in the South Zone final of the Rugby Americas North (RAN), uncertainty over the venue for the highly-anticipated event is creating a challenging and frustrating situation for Green Machine team Captain Ryan Gonsalves.
The inclement weather has left the usual venue — the National Park Rugby field – mostly inundated, and although Rugby is a sport that can be played in soggy conditions, the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) is attempting to take the safer route and use the St. Stanislaus College Ground on Carifesta Avenue as an alternative venue.
When Guyana Times Sport contacted an official from the GRFU, that individual explained that the GRFU is still contemplating using the National Park, even though the goal infrastructure from the University of Guyana has been moved to the St Stanislaus Ground on Carifesta Avenue.
Green Machine Captain Ryan Gonsalves has expressed dissatisfaction over the issue, deeming it frustrating, considering the success the team has brought to Guyana.
“It is challenging and frustrating to see such a good team — playing this good all the years – (being) faced with these difficulties year in year out. It is about time someone from the Government put their foot forward, or major sponsors help us out; because coming here today [Thursday] without a venue is very frustrating, but we have to stay focused,” he declared.
He added, “It is challenging. The Rugby (fraternity) is a very small community, and we all know what is going (down) on and off the field; so players are affected by it, but there is little we can do, but hope we can have more sponsors.
“It is always a challenge for any team playing home or aboard. We are trying to see how we can leave the off-field stuff from affecting us and try to focus on Saturday’s game,” he revealed.
Captain Gonsalves feels his team is ready to ably represent Guyana. “We are pretty ready for them. We have been working on certain tactics — to work the big guys out and see how long they can last. We will (be) very mobile, and attack them rather than sit and wait for them to come to us”.
GRFU President Peter Green, commenting on the issue, has said he did not want to take any chances with the venue. “This game was initially scheduled to (be played) at the National Park, but due to the inclement weather and inability to have the water pumped and ground dried in time — and knowing fully the governing body RAN [Rugby Americas North] will not be too happy and may impose measures against us if we go ahead with the game at the National Park, which last year against Jamaica turned into a mud bath — to avoid that (situation), we have been forced to relocate the venue,” he explained.
He added, “At this time, I cannot say with certainty where the game would be played, because discussions with the Director of Sport and Manager of the (Providence) Stadium have indicated that the Stadium is not available at this time, due to cricket commitments.”
Looking ahead, the president has expressed enthusiasm over the possibility of developments.
“I have been promised that, after this game is finished, (the National Sports Commission] will (be) raising our current rugby ground. And we are applying for the football pitch to be raised as well; and I will be applying for them to put (goal) posts on the inside of the athletics track [at Leonora] so that we will be able to bid for international tournaments at home here, rather than having to go through the parody of finances being promised and being turned down at the last minute, (along with) different factors,” Green explained.
The GRFU is today expected to release the names of the people that comprise the squad, and confirm the venue for the highly-anticipated match.