TT's Under-19 men's team earned a third place finish at the Rugby Americas North (RAN) U-19 and Women's Superweek, following an inspired 22-15 come-from-behind victory over Bermuda at the Bellevue Plantation Polo Fields, in St Michael's, Barbados, yesterday.
The Jerome Poon Tip-coached TT men ended their account on a high after a series on contrasting results, a couple of which left them sorely disappointed, such as their 5-5 draw with the perpetually gritty Cayman Islands on the first day.
Yesterday's third-place playoff was a tale of two halves, as TT returned with an exceptional second-half performance after being completely out-muscled in the first.
Bermuda took a deserved 5-0 advantage, scoring a try within the first two minutes of play. The British territory added another three points with a successful penalty in the 11th minute. Fortunately for TT, Jahreem George was on top of his game and scored a marvellous try against the run of play, pacing almost the entire length of the pitch, and evading several Bermuda players in the process to cut the deficit to 8-5.
Bermuda then scored another try and a conversion before the end of the first half to take a healthy 15-5 lead.
However, the second half brought out one of the best performances of the tournament from the TT boys who, within three minutes of relentless pressing, further cut the deficit with a second try from George, again an impressive solo effort.
With that effort converted, TT finally took the lead with another more try, after Antonio Pascall released the ball quickly and cleverly, near to the try line as Jonathan Taylor latched on and dived to complete the comeback.
The match ended after George completed his hat-trick with another fine effort, sidestepping a couple Bermuda players and touching down at the death.
Yesterday's result followed the Under-19 men's 18-5 loss to USA South at the semifinal stage. They advanced to the semifinal after placing second in the group, following a 24-0 loss to Mexico and a 5-5 draw with Cayman Islands on the first day, and a 40-0 victory over Curacao on the second day.
Meanwhile, the women's competition ended on Saturday with TT losing to the Dominican Republic 5-0 in the plate final, which is essentially the decider for fifth/sixth place.
TT's women placed third in their group, then lost 34-0 to Mexico in the quarter-final. They moved into the plate semifinal, which they won 5-0 against Barbados.
At the group stage, TT's women defeated Curacao 41-0, but were stunned 17-5 by surprise package and eventual fourth place finishers, St Lucia, in the second. They played a third group match on the opening day, and were soundly beaten again, 45-0, at the hands of USA South.
Mexico went on to win the competition, beating Jamaica 22-0 in the cup final. USA South took third place with a 24-0 win over St Lucia, while TT the Dominican Republic placed fifth.
Barbados defeated Curacao 27-5 to finish seventh.
Prior to the tournament, the TT Rugby Football Union (TTRFU) warned that the TT women's team was primarily a developmental one, as the majority of the best players are currently preparing for the forthcoming Pan American Games.
They will return home today.