February 24, 2003


What a great event this was - the U19 Eagle Women vs the Fl U23 match, the partys at Tyrone's Bar & Grille, a week of youth matches at Cocoa Expo, coaching clinics by Adrian Skeggs, etc etc etc. Below are just a few pics we collected - if you have more, please email them to us.


Below is a press release from the NAWIRA Festival Administrator


Cocoa, Florida — The North American West Indies Rugby Association is closing in on its target of 1,000 participants for the Uniglobe NAWIRA Youth Festival of Rugby.

Leading the charge is the Cayman Islands who announced last week that their touring party will be 160 strong or more. This builds on a strong base of confirmed teams from the rest of the West Indies, led by Jamaica, the Bahamas, Bermuda and St. Vincent & The Grenadines. Not to be outdone, a steady stream of enquiries from age grade teams in the USA and Canada from many States and Provinces continue to roll in. All told, the participation base sits at 750 players with three months to go.

Complementing the grass roots response, NAWIRA also received great news today from the Director of Canada U-19 Junior men's team, Mr. Ray Skett who confirmed that Canada's men's team will be attending the festival, to train for the 2003 World Championships and, hopefully play their US counterparts in the Freedom Cup match. “While the festival will provide our squad with a timely opportunity to prepare for the 2003 World Championships we are excited about what it could mean for the growth of rugby in this region over the long term”, commented Mr. Skett. “This festival should become an annual fixture for teams in the Americas as a tune up for the World Championships each year. As such, we definitely want to support it”.

With the target of 1,000 participants within reach, NAWIRA's President, Hedley Benyon, had this to say. “I am personally delighted with the progress that's been made with this first time initiative. I'm heartened by the positive response we have received throughout the region. In particular, The Florida Rugby Union has really stepped up to embrace this festival by entering teams and providing organizational support. Of course, the international schedule is turning out to be more than we had hoped for. The prospect of a men's U-19 component complimenting the women's U-19 triangular tournament is a major boost. In other words, the plan to launch this festival as a base for stimulating development of the game in this region is coming together which is very exciting for NAWIRA”.

The first ever “Uniglobe NAWIRA Festival of Youth Rugby” is set to take place at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center, Cocoa, Florida, USA, from February 18-23, 2003. This festival is being organized for teams looking for an opportunity to develop their playing, coaching and refereeing skills — with instruction provided by some of the region's most qualified course conductors. This will include a “Train the Trainer” course sponsored by the IRB. In the weeks ahead NAWIRA will be making a final announcement regarding the attendance of International teams, festival sponsors and, attractions that organizers have added to the schedule for the enjoyment of festival participants and visitors.

Should you not wish to receive future updates on the Uniglobe NAWIRA Youth Festival of Rugby, please send an e-mail reply indicating this and we will remove your name from our data base. Otherwise, thank you for your interest and support for the development of the game in this region.

For more information contact

Hedley Benyon
Festival Administrator
or visit our website at:

Posted by Pedro at February 24, 2003 11:57 AM