Last weekends International between Canada and Jamaica saw the Wolverines create history and win their first ever international. After the match I was able to catch up with some of the players and support staff of the two team. In Part 3, I talk with Romeo Monteith, Jamaican Rugby League Coach about the match, with a pretty frank assessment of the team performance and looking towards the World Cup Qualifiers.
Rugby League International Scores: Romeo, bad luck today. The Canadians were really quite strong in defence, quite a few mistakes from the Jamaicans today as well?
Romeo Monteith: Yeah definitely, Canada was definitely the better team today. I think their halves really took them around the park, they played basic Rugby League, keeping it in the one channel, one, two, three, four then wide, use your halves to go wide. All we had to do was adjust our defence and slide out. We were lazy, we weren’t really interested in doing that and that resulted in 95% of the tries being scored out wide. So Hats off to Canada, real good performance, a solid performance, they defended very well as well.
We made a few breaks, quite a few breaks, but unfortunately there was no support play so we weren’t able to make the final pass and get in over the line ourselves, I think that is another weakness on our part. But a really great game, really disappointed, I don’t think Canada is 30 points better than we are but definitely the better team on the day. But we’ll go back to the drawing board with the local boys, do some work on our fitness and do some work on our game awareness.
You know, it’s difficult as a coach, you go through the motions you do the drills, you do the blackboard sessions and everyone says yes we understand “yes, yes, yes” and they go out on field and its like they’ve never been shown the basics of the game. I mean, you got to move your defensive line across, to slide and nullify the wide plays of the opposition, its basic Rugby League knowledge and my boys have been shown that today, so I am really disappointed in that aspect of the game.
Our strong point was our tackling, I think for the most part we really did well with the tackling, we were getting numbers and attackers, two, three, four players and attackers, really squeezing really throwing down the Canadians but after that we did nothing, we refused to move off the line, our line speed was horrible, the first half was horrible, we spoke about it in the second half, the boys came out a bit revved up in the second half, we camped out in Canada’s half we didn’t get to score because we ball handling really let us down. We kept losing the ball in the tackles, a few of them really wasn’t a fault of the boys, sometimes they got squeezed and a hand was in there, but the ref won’t see everything so you have to hold onto the ball tight and we weren’t scoring. After 50 minutes we stopped playing defence again. We stopped moving up, we stopped moving across field, so really disappointed.
But as you know in Rugby League its on the rise in Jamaica. This is a team of local boys playing Rugby League, you know some of these boys its their first international, some of these boys its their first season, so I mean its really a building platform, I’m really happy, I’m really happy we were able to come here and face Canada, they treat us really good and lets do it again next year.
RLIS: Jamaica doesn’t have any more internationals until the World Cup Qualifiers, how do you look to improve the team without that extra game?
RM: Well as you know, we have a lot of quality players playing professional and semi-professional rugby in the UK. The key for us is to get the best of those guys with the best of what we have got at home, get into a training camp just before the World Cup and sort out our business. Unfortunately we won’t be able to play another match before the World Cup Qualifiers, because as you know there is not a lot of funding going around and traveling is very difficult because we are on an Island, we just can’t afford to travel here and there to play these games.
Nevertheless, we’ll do the training camp in the UK hopefully, get all the boys together, put them through their steps and hopefully we can get to Philadelphia and put in a good performance.
RLIS: Romeo thank you very much. Bad luck once again for today but good luck with the World Cup Qualifiers and for the rest of the year.
RM: Yeah, definitely, I wouldn’t call it bad luck, we were just outplayed, we were played off the park and we have to take responsibility for that and look to learn and come again. As I said it’s been great here in Canada, the guys have been really good to us, it was a fantastic game and good crowd, thousands of people in the stands, so Rugby League is on the rise in the Northern Hemisphere and hopefully we just keep building from strength to strength.
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