Guyana Hosts USA Rugby South in Rugby Americas North Championship

July 29, 2017

Guyana Hosts USA Rugby South in Rugby Americas North Championship


Photo: Guyana Rugby Football Union & Rugby Americas North

Doug Coil

The Rugby Americas North 2017 Championship will take place on Saturday July 29 at 2pm (local & ET) at the National Park Rugby Field, Thomas Lands in Georgetown, Guyana. The match may be viewed on

The RAN Championship is played at the higher ranked team of the North and South Zone Winners. Guyana is ranked 49th in the world with 46.56 points and will host the USA Rugby South, the only non-national team in the RAN.

Guyana went 2-0 to win the South Zone title after defeating Barbados 34-26 on May 13 and Trinidad and Tobago 24-17 on June 10. The USA Rugby South Panthers won the North Zone title with a 2-1 record, beating the Cayman Islands 39-5 and a walkover win over Bermuda. Their loss came at the hands of Mexico 36-29. Although USA Rugby South, Mexico and the Cayman Islands had identical records, USA Rugby South earned the Zone title based on bonus points.



Photo: Guyana Rugby Football Union

The Guyana National rugby team is built around speed and mobility. The forwards are fit and contribute to the team’s success. The backs, from the halfbacks to the wings are core National Sevens players, who played this Spring in the World Rugby Sevens Qualifier Tournament in Hong Kong. That was the team’s second time playing in the Qualifier, as they also participated in 2012.

Guyana has has been one of the top teams in the Rugby Americas North and this will be their sixth finals in the ten years the Championship has been held. In 2014 Guyana won the RAN 15s title against the USA Rugby South Panthers 30-27 in their only match between the teams. Team captain Ryan Gonsalves indicated that over 50 percent of the current team played in that match.To view the 2014 USA Rugby South v Guyana final highlights, click Gift-time Rugby Network. The match was decided in double overtime.

There is excitement in Guyana, as this is the first time since Guyana’s victory at the 2010 CAC Games (7s championship) that a Championship has been played at Guyana National Stadium. The support of fans at home should provide an advantage playing in the RAN final.

Guyana’s National Rugby team is an experienced one which also blends in some younger players.  The Guyana National Rugby team knows that the USA Rugby South Panthers are a good side and they respect them for their achievements. Whoever plays the better rugby on Saturday with the least mistakes will earn the title. Guyana will be hoping that the Green Machine will emerge on top.

Impact players to watch in the match include, Claudius Butts at center, captain Ryan Gonsalves, who is also the Sevens captain, speedster Patric King, Vallon Adams at No. 8 , Richard Staglon at flanker, Rondel McAther at prop and young player Jamal Angus.

Being in the RAN 15s finals in Guyana is very important for rugby in the country and winning the title will certainly be a dream come true for all the players, the rugby union and the entire country of Guyana.

In an article in the Guyana Chronicle, Kit Nascimento, former president of the Guyana Rugby Football Union (GRFU) urged people to “Support the team on Saturday, not because you’re a rugby fan, but because you’re a Guyanese.” He then added that “That’s what this tournament means for the region; it’s just like the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, so we are urging people to show this team the support. They’ve been playing consistently at a very high level and have also been delivering all the time.”

USA Rugby South


Photo: USA Rugby South with US Ambassador to Guyana, The Honorable Perry Holloway

The USA team arrived in Guyana Thursday evening, and will hold their first training session today at the match venue. After the practice, USA Rugby South Head Coach Rene Daniel announced his starting XV and reserves for the RAN 15’s Championship. They are listed below.

The roster includes players from 17 different clubs with Hein Erasmus from the Miami Tridents as captain of the team. In addition to Erasmus, Steve Cappello, Wayne Chermely, David Coleman, Jarrett Gartin, Amro Gouda and Zach Miller played in all of the USA South Panthers’ prior fixtures.

While Guyana’s backs also play for the National team sevens, the USA Rugby South has players that also have impressive rugby resumes. Zach Miller, Matt Hughston and Colton Cariaga are just a few of the excellent players on the USA Rugby South team that will need to match the talents of Guyana.

Zach Miller, the coach of Kennesaw State University, played for Life University, where he won national titles in 2011 and 2012. Miller currently plays for North Atlanta and has previously played for the Washington DC 7’s, the New Orleans Rugby Club, and Negro Y Azul. He will be at fullback for the match.

Matt Hughston, plays for Charlotte and has previously played professional rugby for the Ohio Aviators. He is a versatile player and will play outside center for the match. He has also experience as a flanker. Matt is an excellent sevens player and was with the USA Falcons in Chile, as well as playing in the Elite City 7s two years ago.

Colton Cariaga, head coach of Life University Rugby,  and inside center will partner with Matt Hughston at the centers. Cariaga also played for Life University, Trinity College and was a USA Falcon. He will also play for the USA Islanders August 10 against the Saracens in Bermuda.

Rene Daniel discussed the team with the Guyana Chronicle indicating that “Our biggest strength for the game (today) is that we’ll play as a unit. We don’t have a particular player to say that if he’s lacking we’re going to replace him, so we will certainly be playing together.”

Daniel also reflected on the 2014 Championship against Guyana saying that “I still remember what happened in 2014 like it was yesterday and that’s one of the reasons we’re here; to get revenge and win the title.”

To read more about the USA Rugby South Squad for Rugby Americas North Championship, an article was published on July 17 and may be viewed by clicking here. An earlier preview of the match is also available – USA v Guyana Preview article.

Guyana and USA Rugby South Squads – Rugby Americas North 15’s Championship

Guyana Squad: Jason Tyrell, Claudius Butts, Rickford Cummings, Ryan Gonsalves, Vallon Adams, Richard Staglon, Peabo Hamilton, Avery Corbin, Godfrey Broomes, Ronald Mayers, Ahmed Issacs, Dwayne Schroeder, Kevon David, Rondell McArthur, Ronald Mayers, Allen Crawford, Dillon Downer, Cyon Pitt, Lancelot Adonis, Cloyd Prowell, Jamal Angus and Patrick King.

USA Rugby South Squad

1) Stephen Cappello (Mystic River)
2) Jamal Hadley (Old Blue NY)
3) Alex Nazon (Charleston Outlaws)
4) John Bryant (Charleston Outlaws)
5) Wayne Chermely (Knoxville)
6) Jordan Gunderson (Southern Pines)
7) Lyall Harrison (Chattanooga)
8) Hein Erasmus (Captain) (Miami Tridents)
9) Jarrett Gartin (NARC)
10) Adam Channel (Belmont Shore)
11) Mikey Sanders (Optimus Rugby)
12) Colton Cariaga (Life U./USA Islanders)
13) Matt Hughston (Charlotte)
14) Cormac Kenan (Southern Pines)
15) Zach Miller (NARC)
16) Matt Fontana (Atlanta Renegades)
17) Amro Gouda (Charlotte)
18) Kyle Hudson (Chattanooga)
19) Calvin Storey (Raleigh)
20) Todd Sherer (Southern Pines)
21) Charlie Hutchings (Tampa Krewe)
22) David Coleman (Birmingham)
23) Nathan Ring (Nashville)

USA Rugby South Coaching Staff

Rene Daniel (Head Coach USA Rugby South)
Francesco Balsas (Coach USA Rugby South)
Renaldo Arroya (Coach Valdosta State U)
Pete Redmond (Coach Augusta)
Sean Borman (Medical Rugby Academy of America)
Gary Kent (Mgr Columbus/Fort Benning)
Kevin Kitto (President USA Rugby South)

About Author

North American Rugby News With A USA Slant