RUGBY Americas North (RAN) has blanked TT’s request to reschedule their clash with Cayman Islands because it was not made in a “timely manner”. TT were unable to acquire funding to travel to Cayman Islands to play that country in the RAN Men’s 15s Tournament on June 23, after the Sport Company of TT said they could not assist financially. They were eventually forced to cancel the match while negotiations continued with other sporting and corporate bodies to get the $208,000 required.
Days before the original date of the match, the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs committed to giving the TT rugby team $200,000 for the trip. The TTRFU asked RAN to postpone the match until July 14 or 21 as funds were now available.
In an email reply to Newsday yesterday, RAN media officer Laura Gill said, “On the basis that if Cayman could re-schedule the match, an extension of time had been given to the TTRFU to confirm they had funding in place and a proposed new date; both which they were unable to do in a timely manner. At this point, Cayman confirmed that they were unable to re-schedule the match and the match was officially cancelled by RAN.”
Gill explained that the match was not only cancelled by RAN, but TT were also thrown out the competition. “Due to the cancellation by TT Rugby Football Union of the June 23 RAN 15 a-side international match between the Cayman Islands and TT and the inability for the match to be re-scheduled, under Section 5.5 of the Tournament Manual, which all teams signed up and agreed to, the TTRFU are deemed to have wilfully cancelled the match and as a consequence have been expelled from the 2018 competition,” the statement said.
TT were in contention to win the championship division title after defeating Bermuda 27-24 at St Anthony’s College Ground in Westmoorings in May, before getting past USA South 34-33 at St Mary’s College Ground in St Clair, last month.
Unfortunately because TT were unable to play their final match against Cayman Islands, the previous wins will now become void.
Section 5.5 of the Tournament Manual reads, “If a team has been expelled from the competition, for whatever reason, then that team shall be deemed to have been awarded no pool competition table points and to have scored no tries or points in any of its matches; and for the purposes of determining standings in any pool of Tournament Phase, all match results against such team shall be deemed null and void. This means that all pool competition points awarded in matches against the expelled team, and tries and points scored or conceded in matches against such team, will not be taken into account in determining standings in the table.”
A member of the TTRFU, who wished to remain anonymous, said “gloom” has overshadowed what was once a buoyant TT camp. The member said that after all the hard work it is unfortunate that TT will not be able to complete the tournament. The source said RAN had informed the TTRFU that they should provide a date when they were ready but now claimed they took too long. The source said the TTRFU may seek legal action to appeal the decision by the governing body.