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Youth Rugby players make claim for selection to full National Squad

- Select XV records win ahead of NACRA Championships
Rory Thornton, along with fellow youngster Melvin McKnight, made a huge impact on the game as well as the coach and selectors during the 7-6 win over the St Thomas Privateers. Photo: Supplied
Although the team was slow to move the ball wide, when the ball did reach the wingers they proved too fast and skillful for their opponents. Photo: Supplied
Although the team was slow to move the ball wide, when the ball did reach the wingers they proved too fast and skillful for their opponents. Photo: Supplied
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Two products of the BVI Rugby Union’s Youth Development process made a large statement to the selectors during the 7-6 victory over the St Thomas Privateers on Saturday January 12, 2013.

The “friendly” game against the Privateers was the last chance for Coach Sherlock Solomon to assess the progress of the squad before they head off to St Lucia to play in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Championships and although they came home with a win, the game itself may have raised more questions than answers.

The hosts took a half team 3-0 lead through a penalty and then doubled that lead to 6 before, with less than two minutes to go, Melvin McKnight finished a flowing move with a “try”, which stalwart Dustyn Molver converted to make it 6-7 to the BVI XV. Matt Holmes embarked on a curving 30 metre run handing off several defenders before spinning a delightful pass to Molver, who shipped the ball down the back line to full back Victor Franklyn, Franklyn stepped and when reaching the half way line popped a simple pass to 17-year old speedster Melvin Knight. Knight left his tackler for dead and beat several more players before cutting back inside to wrong foot the last defender and finish the move with a scintillating try under the posts.

“It was great to win, learn some lessons and to see where we are at,” commented coach Solomon, “but we moved the ball out wide too slowly, got bogged down in the middle and the Backs did not perform to their potential, thankfully the Forwards kept us in the game.”

However, the Coach was more than enthused by the performance of youngsters McKnight and Rory Thornton. “They both had a good game and were very confidant. It is exciting to see them come through the system and they will probably be coming to St Lucia as well,” he noted.

They both grabbed the opportunity to impress due to the unavailability of several more established players but fortune favours the brave and these two will definitely be featuring in the future of the National team.

The trip to St Lucia for a 1st round encounter in the NACRA Championship is in two weeks and if the BVI beat the host they will be rewarded with a home fixture against Curacao at the end of February. Curacao beat St Vincent 37-24 in the other Round 1 qualifier.

The BVIRU will also be hosting both St. Thomas and the Princeton University team on February 16 for a tournament. This should be another huge battle with St. Thomas keen for revenge and the BVI keen to put up a stronger show on home turf.

BVI Team

Ronan Kuczaj; Roan Thornton; Adrian Bello-Oneil; Federico Zicari; Simon Knight; Chris Kennedy; Ian James; Matt Holmes; Andrew Simmonds; Dustyn Molver; Rory Thornton; Tom Chapman; Donovan Staple; Jerome Springette; Victor Franklyn

SUBS: Des Wynne; Burt Woodley; Andre Adams; Adebola Haffner; Melvin Knight; Eduard Vasquez Jnr.

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