Conyers Sponsor Women’s National Rugby Team

November 10, 2016

The Bermuda Women’s National Rugby Team that will compete in the Rugby Americas North [RAN] Sevens tournament in Trinidad on November 12 and November 13, with sponsorship from Conyers Dill & Pearman helping to make the trip possible.

Bermuda have been drawn in the same pool as Cayman, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos and Olympic bronze medalists Canada, and are expected to qualify for the Cup quarter-finals, where victory will see them just one win away from qualifying for the 2017 Hong Kong Sevens.

Team captain Mika Tomita said, “Women’s rugby is a relatively new sport in Bermuda and we have had to self-fund many of the programme expenses. This year, we are looking to take four new up-and-coming youth players as part of the touring squad.

“The support of Conyers Dill & Pearman has been invaluable to the further development of these players, our team and the sport in Bermuda.”

“Conyers has a long history of supporting the local sporting community and we are pleased to extend our support to the development of women’s rugby programmes”, said David Cooke, a Director at Conyers Dill & Pearman.

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Half of the twelve person squad will be making their Senior international debuts, while the other six are among Bermuda’s most experienced female players.

Ms. Tomita continues as the team’s captain for the third time, while Kelli Nusum, Erica McArthur and Amanda Swan also return for their third regional championship.

In all, the team will include Corrie Cross, Gillian Cross, Gemma Godfrey, Erica McArthur, Laura Mulligan, Kelli Nusum, Haley Place, Lauren Rothwell, Lysmeiri Santana, Amanda Swan, Mike Tomato [captain], and Cerise Woodley.

The team will be coached by Michaela Staniford and managed by Karly Alleyne.

A spokesperson said, “Nusum is a powerful forward, who’s hard charging runs have set the foundation for much of the side’s success in recent years.

“Her all-round skill and experience gained from playing for Newcastle University in the UK, has helped her performances on and off the field; establishing Bermuda’s first under-age Girls Rugby Program and as a Coach of the award-winning Beyond Rugby initiative in partnership with the Family Centre.

McArthur, a native of Ontario, represented London Welsh RFC before moving to Bermuda to teach at Saltus Grammar School. A versatile player, equally at home in the pack or at half-back, McArthur is the team’s designated kicker, and one of the best playmakers in the region.

“Gillian ‘Shine’ Cross adds significant speed to the squad, and could make history in Trinidad alongside her daughter Corrie, as it is believed that they will become the first ever Mother and Daughter to play international rugby together.

“Corrie will be joined by fellow High School students Haley Place, Lysmeiri Herrera and Cerise Woodley who will all receive their first international caps when they take the field in Trinidad.”

Team captain Mika Tomita said, “We are very excited about playing in the RAN tournament, and are looking to improve our previous standing of fourth place, but with women’s rugby developing significantly over the past few years, we expect tough competition.

“Haley has been training with the women’s 7s team for the last couple of years. She is one of the first up-and-coming junior rugby player that was invited to train with the Senior Women’s team. She has been an active member of the High School Girls Rugby programme, and has captained the team in a number of games.

“She was selected to attend the Atavus High School Camp last summer.

“Lysmeiri started playing rugby through the High School Girls Rugby programme. She started training with the Senior Women’s team in spring and has made heads turn because of her speed on the wing.

“She is one of the most dedicated members of the team and has made tremendous improvements over the last couple of months. She was selected to attend the Life University Girls Rugby Camp this summer and has returned wanting to get more involved with rugby.”

“Corrie has been training with the women’s 7s team for the last couple of years. She is one of the first up-and-coming junior rugby player that was invited to train with the Senior Women’s team. She has been an active member of the High School Girls Rugby programme, and has played in a number of Senior Women’s 7s games on island and abroad.

“She was selected to attend the Atavus High School Camp last summer and has been one of the core players on the Senior Women’s team. She is in contention of a starting position in RAN.”

“Cerise started playing rugby through the High School Girls Rugby programme. She started training with the Senior Women’s team in spring and has impressed the Coach and the squad with her hard tackles and rucks. She was selected to attend the Life University Girls Rugby Camp this summer and has returned wanting to get more involved with rugby.”

“Undefeated Renegades RFC Ladies Captain, Laura Mulligan, Teachers RFC speedster Lauren Rothwell, and the YouTube sensation Gemma Godfrey are also inline for their international debuts in Trinidad.

“The team will be under the expert guidance of former England international and World Player of the Year, Michaela Staniford.”

Full competition details can be found on the event website.

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