Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019. 6:18 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: Belize’s National Rugby Team will be present at the historic first Central American Rugby 7s Tournament which is being held in San Salvador on May 18th, 2019.
Team Belize will be going up against teams from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua at the event. The Presidents from all seven Central American countries will also be meeting to launch the regions’ first Central American Rugby 7s Union. The goal of forming the union is to hold annual tournaments rotating in different member countries.
Tony Gillings, the founder of Rugby Belize, explained that the sport has only been played in Belize since 2015, but has already grown to having seven teams coming from Hopkins, San Ignacio, Belmopan, Belize City, San Pedro, Ladyville and Orange Walk.
Belize’s rugby league played it’s first international game against Guatemala in November 2018, and are now ready to show their skills to the rest of the region.
Gillings noted that rugby originated in England and as a former British colony, the sport was played in Belize by British soldiers; however, at that time there were no Belizeans involved.
“Rugby is well known as a sport that you can take into tough areas for the youth to allow them to use their aggression in a controlled manner on a sports field. So I thought why not bring it here?” Gillings said.
Rugby 7s, which is the Olympic version of the sport, is different from the standard rugby game, in that there are only seven players on the field at a time. The sport is also played at a faster pace and has arguably higher contact than the non-Olympic version. He stressed that all Central American countries and many Caribbean countries have rugby leagues.
The next national tournament is being held in San Ignacio on May 26.
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