USVI Rugby Team off to strong start

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ST. THOMAS - It did not take long for the USVI Rugby Football Union Privateers to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the region.

The newly formed union nearly won its first international tournament when the Privateers took the field in Tortola on Saturday. The Privateers fielded A and B teams, and the A team won its first three matches before dropping the championship to the Tortola Arawaks.

USVI took a 7-5 lead on Victor Franklin's try and John Brugos' conversion kick late in the second half. In the final minute, the Arawaks found an opening for the winning score.

"We thought we could compete fairly well, but never expected such great results playing together for the first time," the Privateers' Scott McFarlane said in a press release. "It was incredible to watch us play, realizing how far some of us have come since day one."

The A team shut out their first three opponents (the B team, Tortola Barbarians and San Juan Rugby Club) and crushed the Barbarians 38-0 in their first match.

Dan Perez found Joey Hamilton, who punched in the team's first try.

"When we scored that first try, it seemed to settle all of our nerves," Privateer Mark Grimes said. "I think it made us realize that all of our hard work in practice had really paid off."

The union formed in the summer and is made up of many first-time players. Those interested in joining can find the Privateers practicing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. at Charlotte Amalie High School. The Privateers women's team practices at the same time, and the union is starting a U-19 team for high school students.

For more information, log on to: or email to:

- Contact Tim Chapman at 714-9102 or

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