HMS Manchester Nurtures Rugby In Curacao
HMS Manchester RFC was challenged by Wara Wara RFC to a Sevens Tournament whilst the Ship was alongside in Curacao. HMS Manchester fielded two teams while the local side had three.
Wara Wara is a club that forms part of the Netherlands Antilles Rugby Federation that will be hosting a delegation from the International Rugby Board (IRB), they will be visiting next month to decide if the Federation are qualified to move to the first stage of Associate Membership of the IRB. This is the first step any country has to take in order to become a member of the world rugby playing family.
The President of the Federation, Arthur Hogesteger said of Manchester's visit "we only introduced rugby here a year ago and the visit of HMS Manchester helps to shows us what rugby is all about with both friendships on and off the field. Having matches like this will only help us in our bid to become Associate Members of the IRB".
The tournament started in the mid afternoon heat of a Caribbean Island and was played on rubberised astro-turf that allowed a fast flowing style of play. Each of Manchester's teams played each of the Island teams giving a total of six matches of which Manchester won four. However the only team to go unbeaten during the afternoon was the Wara Wara 1st Seven, made up of some very talented players - some experienced and some extremely quick! They were worthy of their unbeaten record.
The manager of HMS Manchester Rugby Club Petty Officer Stu Guest said "having the opportunity to encourage rugby in different parts of the world is a privilege for HMS Manchester and the Royal Navy. We try to play a match during every visit and wanted to help the Netherlands Antilles Rugby Federation move forward in their journey to gain Associate Membership of the IRB by providing opposition and encouragement to them. This is the icing on the cake and we wish them all the best in their bid".
HMS Manchester deployed to the Caribbean for 7 months carrying out Counter Narcotics Patrols and Disaster Relief to the British Overseas Territories in the case of a hurricane strike.