This developmental joint venture will see five newly formed rugby teams from rural areas throughout the south land do battle against each other and hosts RSSC, for top honours.
However, capturing the 2015 title is a secondary target for this tourney, since club president Rudolph Jack and main sponsors Flow, are primarily focused on using this programme as a platform for both the promotion of rugby and young people in the southern community.
The tournament will feature beginner teams from Guapo, Basseterre, Sixth Company Moruga, Mafeking and Sobo, along with RSCC, battling on the field until the October 3 grand finale. This initiative is the brainchild of Jack, who was only able to achieve his dream of introducing the sport into rural communities, when Flow came on board and assisted in setting up Rugby Caravans last year. In 2014, both organisations took their training camps to Guapo, Basseterre and Sixth Company, where they trained members of these communities for three months, and then set up village teams.
In doing so, RSCC and Flow opted to expand their plans this year and sought to infiltrate even deeper south Trinidad by heading to Makefing and Sobo.
According to club public relations officer, Paul Scott, both institutions have been using this idea to cross several barriers within the rural communities by setting up these caravans.
“Last year was our first year with the Rugby Caravans and to date, they have been reaping rewards for the young people of Trinidad and Tobago,” said Scott yesterday. “What we usually do is go into villages for approximately half day and play several exhibition games. At the end of it, the young people that are interested, we register them and go back into the communities every week for three months and train them.” Rainbow Sports is one of the top-ranked local rugby clubs in TT and is considered the best competitive unit in south. Their partnership with Flow thus far has even seen three youngsters from Sixth Company be selected to train with the National Under-19 outfit in recent times.
Even though these young men did not make the final cut for team selection, Scott was pleased to highlight the great progress and determination shown by the youngsters.
“After the Youth League is finished, the players in the community that show potential, we intend to register some of them under Rainbow Sports to play in the National League. We are exposing them and the more competition they get the better.” Rainbow is hoping to register another Under-18 team to play in the National League and this unit will comprise mostly of players from the five rural communities.
According to Scott, 90 percent of the rugby clubs hail from within the East/West corridor with Rainbow being the only official ‘village’ team in TT . All of RSCC’s players hail from Trainline, Marabella, and administrators of this club saw it fit to seek out the hidden talents tucked away in rural communities.
“We want to increase the sport’s popularity in south and central,” Scott continued. “Flow was looking for a sport that was not too popular and when they saw Rainbow’s work on the Trainline, they were impressed. We went into some rough neighbourhoods to introduce it as an alternative sport. But it’s really a platform to interact with young people. This initiative has always been Rudolph’s vision to spread rugby to the south but we never really had the finances. With Flow coming on board and with the Caravans, they’ve helped us a lot and we will continue such endeavours as long as we have the funding.”