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South U19s to Enter NACRA Tournament

HS Boys

South U19s to Enter NACRA Tournament

The first tryouts are set for a South U19 team that will, when selected, compete in the NACRA U19 Championships.
NACRA is the North American Caribbean Rugby Association. The USA and Canada don’t normally compete in the NACRA 7s and 15s championships because to do so would make it all about USA and Canada, as their senior national teams are too strong compared to the teams from the Caribbean. For the USA, a compromise solution was arrived upon in 2013, with USA Rugby South sending a territorial team to the NACRA Men’s 15s championships - which they won. The South men came second last year, and are now entering a boys teams at the U19 level and potentially at the U18 level.
Under Director of Rugby Kevin Kitto and Head Coach Mark Williams, with Jody Hensley running the backs and Randy Joseph the forwards, the South U19s will run their first tryout Jan 18 in Pompano Beach, Fla.
There follows a camp at Life University March 21-22, and then a camp at Middle Tennessee State University in May, which includes a game against a Welsh touring side. Further assemblies lead ultimately to a ten-day assembly for the NACRA tournament in Miami, Fla. July 9-18.
“The unique thing about this is that there is no other competition that will allow young players to play in an international tournament that is sanctioned by World Rugby,” said Hensley, who is also the MTSU Head Coach.
The High School All Americans play in a series of tournaments and competitions, but they aren’t World Rugby official tournaments. Still, the sentiment is accurate - short of the USA HS All Americans or U20s, this USA Rugby South team is the only chance for young players to experience true international competition.
Players must be born between January 1, 1996 and December 31, 1998 to be eligible for the U19 team. Coaches are looking for talented college underclassmen and high school players. There is an unconfirmed report that a U18 NACRA tournament will also be held. In addition, players can apply who are in colleges or high schools in the South, and also who are from the South but attending school outside of the region - so a South-raised rugby player now going to college in Michigan could be a candidate for the team. 

The USA South team will play against the likes of Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Guyana, and Mexico.

There is a registration fee to be eligible to attend all camps, and it is $25. Additional travel, kit, and other costs for the NACRA team will be confirmed later.   
Players can apply here: www.usarugbysouthpanthers.com  
For more on the program, contact the following:
Coach Mark Williams: PantherU19Men@usarugbysouth.com
Kevin Kitto, Director of Rugby: kevinkitto@verizon.net