THE Reggae Warriors, the national team of the Jamaica Rugby League Association, left the island yesterday (Thursday) to take on Canada tomorrow (Saturday) in the second annual Caribbean Carnival Cup at the Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Match time is 7:00 pm.
National coach Romeo Monteith said 17 players have been selected for the encounter and they will be seeking to avenge their 40-10 loss to the Canadians, ranked 21 in the world.
Jamaica, ranked 23 in the world, struggled to adapt to the cold Canadian atmosphere last year and Monteith said similar conditions would face the players again weekend.
"Several boys struggled last year, with the thin air really
affecting our ability to breathe properly. The air is colder and thinner there and we really suffered," said Monteith.
"It will be the same this year and our players have to be mentally tough and adjust quickly to the conditions. Added to the air, our boys will play on Astro Turf for the first time, which is a new and unknown element," he added.
The Warriors, which have been training at the University of the West Indies and the GC Foster College, will feature 16 Jamaica-based players with Canada-based Orlando Jones being the 17th player.
The national coach explained why the professional English-honed players have not been included for the clash against the North Americans.
"We are not in a financial position to include our English-based
players in this mid-year fixture, and it is difficult to get clubs to issue releases because it's the middle of the English season. "We are confident that the players we have selected will make us proud," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, several national team members were in action last Saturday in the Jamaica National Club Championship where three games were played. Roy Calvert scored two tries to lead the Duhaney Park Red Sharks past Spanish Town Vikings 40-5. Omar Jones was crucial in Vauxhall's 42-16 win over Portmore Suns and Renaldo Wade watched from the sideline as his team
Maxfield Rookie Star Steppers upset the Jamaica Defence Force 38-26 at Up park camp.
Squad — Claude Yen, Fabion Turner, Jason Gooden, Khamisi Mckain, Kemoy Whyte, Jermaine Pinnock, Roy Calvert, Robert Rodney, -Duhaney Park Red Sharks, Adrian Mckenzie, Adrian Myers, Ryan Grant, Ryan Spence, Stephen Scott - GC Foster College; Renaldo Wade-Maxfield Rookies Star Steppers , Andrew Fong, Omar Jones - Vauxhall Vultures; Orlando Jones (Unattached).