Triple incentive for NACRA men's Sevens teams
The 2013 North American and Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens takes place on 9-10 November at the Truman Bodden National Stadium in the Cayman Islands, affording all 12 men's teams a golden opportunity.
For the region's powerhouse nations, USA and Canada, the tournament offers a chance to blood new players and broaden the countries' player base ahead of the second and third rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai and South Africa later in November.
“Training has been really exciting, getting to know all the guys. It's been fun watching and learning from the guys on the team with years of experience,” said Theo Sauder, the youngest member of Canada's squad. “We're really starting to come together as a team and it should be exciting to see us hit the field full stride in the Caymans."
Canada will start in the Caymans as defending NACRA champions and face Barbados, Bahamas and Turks & Caicos in the pool stages. USA, meanwhile, face group games against Trinidad & Tobago, Cayman and Curacao while Mexico line up with Jamaica, Bermuda and British Virgin Islands in Pool C.
Hong Kong beckons
While USA and Canada are certainly expected to contest the final, for the other sides there is a triple incentive to perform well.
Most significantly, the two highest-ranked sides outside USA and Canada will book places to compete in Hong Kong at round seven of the World Series, the Cathay Pacific / HSBC Hong Kong Sevens. There they will compete in a 12-team qualifying competition to be played alongside the main Series event, with the winner booking automatic promotion to core team status on the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series.
As well as the World Series incentive, the tournament doubles as a qualifier for the 2014 CACSO Games in Veracruz, Mexico. The top four men's Caribbean teams will join hosts Mexico, while the top three Women's teams plus Mexico, will compete in 2014.
In addition, the top men's Commonwealth team at the NACRA Sevens is likely to be invited to participate in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, along with Canada.