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‘We’ll give it a try' – Jamaican rugby captain talks success

MAGNITUDE: The Jamaican rugby team have much to cheer as they prepare for the World Cup

JAMAICA’S SPORTING pedigree is going from strength to strength as rugby becomes the latest tick on the nation’s portfolio.

The Reggae Warriors defeated the United States 16-10 in Florida to book their ticket to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.

Born to an English mother and a Jamaican father, the Warriors are led by their captain Joe Brown, below. This week, he shares his thoughts with the Voice of Sport.

Crystal Davis: What was the feeling like just after beating the United States?
Joe Brown: We’ve played against the United States a few times and we’ve always come up short against them. It was good to beat them, but it was better for the magnitude of the game to qualify for the World Cup.

CD: How does it feel to be the captain and a pioneer who is changing Jamaica’s view on rugby?
JB: To captain your country is the pinnacle for any rugby player, it is always a great honour to put on that rugby shirt, to lead the team into a World Cup is even better.

CD: Are there plans to play more games on home soil?
JB: I think it is being looked into – we’re hoping to get a game before the World Cup, and to visit Jamaica would be massive achievement for everyone. I think it would allow the local community in Jamaica to get on board before the World Cup.

CD: Most of the team have yet to visit Jamaica – why is that?
JB: Some of the lads have been to Jamaica, I have never been. I think for a lot of us because we all play either full-time or semi-professional it is hard trying to get over to Jamaica during the season and off-season to get time and also we always have international matches at the end of the year. It is probably more of a time thing, it’s also the finance. The big thing for me is to get over with the team so we can experience our heritage.


CD: What needs to be done to ensure that our rugby league legacy lives on?
JB: This is about our legacy, it is about the Jamaican community getting on board, and it is about Jamaica as a country supporting us in terms of financially, in terms of infrastructure. It is about getting a lot of people on board to make the sport more professional, which is going to take a lot of hard work.

CD: What will it take for rugby to get the same respect as cricket and track and field?
JB: For me, it is getting the country behind us, and also getting a main sponsor as we haven’t had any major sponsor. I think to get those kind of things on board will give us that recognition.

CD: What’s your advice for young Jamaican children who want to get involved with rugby but can’t afford to?
JB: There is not really a cost factor for playing, rugby league accepts anyone, that is one of the main things we’re about – no matter your nationality, gender, disability, it accepts everyone.

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