Thursday 17 October 2019

Jamaica hope to bring cool running rugby to 2020 Olympics

The men’s squad has already made history by becoming the first Caribbean side to play sevens rugby at a World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

The Jamaican sevens rugby team (Chris Radburn/Tropical Sun/PA)
The Jamaican sevens rugby team (Chris Radburn/Tropical Sun/PA)

By Brian Farmer, Press Association

Rugby players from a Caribbean island better known for reggae, cricket and sprinting are aiming to feature at the next Olympics.

Jamaica’s men’s and women’s sevens teams are hoping wins at regional qualification tournaments later this year will earn them the right to showcase their brand of cool running rugby at the 2020 Tokyo games.

The men’s squad, made up of players based in Britain and in Jamaica, has already made history by becoming the first Caribbean side to play sevens rugby at a world cup and Commonwealth Games.

But players hope qualification for the Olympic rugby sevens tournament will inspire youngsters who might never have thought of trying rugby.

ipanews_ea14bc1f-857c-477a-b840-8e8639239d17_embedded242813739
The Jamaican sevens rugby team (Chris Radburn/Tropical Sun/PA)

“Of course, English rugby has had players with West Indian links – Jason Robinson, for example, has a Jamaican heritage,” said full-back Conan Osborne, who is based in London and has played for Richmond.

“And we have players based in England who are professionals and playing a good standard of rugby

“But if a Jamaican team could play rugby at the Olympics, I think that would be a huge statement.”

Food firm Tropical Sun has recently announced a sponsorship deal and company bosses hope funding will boost the squads’ chances of getting to Tokyo.

“Jamaica has an abundance of fast and strong athletes that would make world-beating rugby players but, historically, has not paid much attention to rugby,” he said.

“That may all be about to change.”

PA Media

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News