Jamaica head coach and director of rugby Romeo Monteith saw his domestic players continue to build up to the 2021 Rugby League World cup by successfully hosting the England Lionhearts in Kingston.
The tourists played three matches, against a young Jamaica Select, Kingston Reds and Jamaica ‘A’ as well as competing in the Kingston 9s. In the final game, they defeated Jamaica ‘A’ 32-12, after trailing 8-4 at the interval, the sides having shared the spoils in the 9-a-side tournament.
" We wanted a stern test for our top domestic players and we got that and more,” said Monteith. “The English play the game from four or five years old, on average, we start at 17 or 18 and to see that we pulled off a draw in the 9s and led them in the Test match, tells us that there is a lot we are doing right.
Our players are getting better at game tactics and awareness, however, there is still a big gap in the skill level because of the intensity of their competition and superiority in coaching techniques. Whilst we can’t bridge all the gaps at once, we will be working hard to get better, especially around decision making under pressure and fitness.”
Monteith added: “Some of our players in the Jamaica ‘A’ team are full national players and fighting for spots to the World Cup, so it was a good test for them.”
Reflecting on his team's first tour to Jamaica, Stuart :Prior, Lionhearts Tour manager said:
" Our 14 day tour of Kingston Jamaica, as a Rugby entity, was as good as it gets when it comes to international touring. The Management and players have an appetite to succeed and further quality coaching and an introduction of a full academy program will help grow the sport. the current Jamaica A squad has talent, Jamaica naturally produces athletes and the lads representing on the day more than gave us a scare and run for our money, for 40 minutes they were the better team now they need o build on their confidence and believe in themselves. The Lionhearts did exceptionally well given the weather conditions. its rarely gets above 25deg in the UK so to be playing in the high 30's was a massive well done to them. they flew home knowing they had been in a competition and one which they had to dig deep to win"