Rocking Reggae Rugby

By Romeo Monteith

Today’s blog has another guest blogger come in. Romeo Monteith from Jamaican Rugby League has kindly agreed to write a bit about the sport in Jamaica. Its current state and future.

Rocking reggae rugby…

The alliteration flows like the sweet sugar cane that I enjoyed as a small boy in the cool hills of St Elizabeth. Back then, like most boys I dreamed of being a tear a-way pace bowler. Fast forward 20 years to the hustle and bustle of Kingston, and the boys I now mentor speak of stepping like Benji Marshall or bustling their way up field like Sam Burgess. They devise means of tackling Edgar “Shrek the Wreck” Herbine or stopping Tyronie “Wolfman” Rowe. They are as much outward looking as they are inward.

shrek the wreck takes out a Leeds Met player “Shrek the Wreck” Takes out a Leeds Met player

There are now ten teams that play Rugby League, all located in Kingston and St Andrew and the sprawling parish of St Catherine. A far cry from the 4 we started with in 2004. There are regular queries about starting new teams and the interest extends all the way to Trelawny and Montego Bay on the other side of the Island. Every new recruit that plays the sport is taken aback by the sheer toughness required to play, and for some, it keeps drawing them back. Others whither away after that first sprain, break or muscle tear. But for those who continue, the pride of doing battle lies ever present in their eyes.

The Kingston & St. Andrew club championship in the summer remains the pride of the local game and we are looking have 5 teams again this year. However, the University Championship currently underway is proving what we already know, this sport has a huge appeal to young people and is going places. The crowds have been good and radio stations regularly carry the score. We are looking to  launch a short  three team St. Catherine competition in April to blood some new teams. Of course, we keep our worldwide fan base up to date with pictures and videos on Facebook while regularly updating our website with results and stories.

tackle 2 A massive tackle in the Jamaican Championships

Expansion is always first on the table because there is always strength in numbers. Recent developments have the boys excited. The development of the Atlantic Cup and a rivalry with the USA Tomahawks is fast becoming top priority. Our eyes are firmly set on the 2013 world cup in the UK and the Atlantic Cup will play a big part in this journey. Our English based players are firmly on board and there is no lack of local talent anxious to rip it up on the world stage. Some of the boys will get a chance when we take a local squad to the Cheltenham 9s in the UK April 24th. We recognize the importance  of exposing our best young talent to high level competition and Cheltenham will be a part of this process.

There is always a place for incoming tours to the island. Its a fantastic place and we hope to host Cambridge in July of this year. We are also extending an invitation to US, UK, AUS and NZ based clubs. We could always do with the technical and resource help that incoming tours brings to the table.

try time

Try time!

As long as the boys enjoy playing the sport, we can only continue to grow. Additionally, with major partners such as Virgin Atlantic, Kukri and Globe Insurance on board, we are confident that Jamaica’s stock will continue to rise in the Rugby League world.

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