DeSilva, Cole Selected To Represent West Indies

March 2, 2017

[Updated] Bermuda Rugby players Tashon DeSilva and Dan Cole have been selected to represent the West Indies at the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens Tournament this weekend.

The two athletes follow in the footsteps of fellow Bermuda players Derek ‘Bobby’ Hurdle Jr., Nathan Brown, Freedom Burrows, Jonathan Cassidy, Kris Furbert, Tom Healy, Dan McGavern, Josh McGavern, Rob Steinhoff and Tom Steinhoff who represented the West Indies between 2000 and 2009.

The side will compete in the tournament’s Americas Cup [formerly Elite Division], which features top teams from around the globe, including current Bermuda Coach Waisale Serevi’s Select Team who have won the competition for the past 4 years.

Rugby players Bermuda March 2 2017 TC

The pair both made their Bermuda debuts at the same tournament five years ago, and have been mainstays in the squad ever since. Impressive performances by DeSilva and Cole at the Caribbean Championships and Glendale 7s over the past few years impressed Barbados Coach Joe Whipple, who returns to the helm of the West Indies team he coached from 2004-2009.

Coach Joe Whipple commented, “Clearly, to be selected to play for the West Indies is important to the players in our region. I am very honoured to be working with these players, many of whom I have coached and some I have not.

“We are thankful to our benefactor who had the vision to revive an important legacy in West Indian rugby. Rugby Sevens has significantly improved over the last few years in the region.

“The fitness and skill levels and knowledge of the game have improved despite the lack of funding for the sport. I am confident that the players will wear the West Indies jersey with huge pride and this will be reflected in their efforts on the pitch.”

Tom Healy, who was part of the last representative West Indies team, at the 2009 Hong Kong Sevens, was full of pride for his Bermuda teammates, saying, “Tashon has had his best season playing rugby this year, captaining the national 7s team and being the standout player of the Bermuda rugby league.

“It’s just reward for the sacrifice and commitment he displayed over the last year. Dan is another of Bermuda’s standout players who leads by example on the pitch.

“Dan was a key player in Bermuda’s recent success in Trinidad, where we narrowly lost to Mexico in the plate final. Both players will bring something different to the West Indies with a combination of skill and brawn.”

Hurdle has led the well wishes being sent to this year’s team saying, “I would like to send my best wishes to coach Joe Whipple and the West Indies Sevens team as they compete in the Las Vegas Invitational Sevens.”

“My time with the Western Indies was one of the best of my sporting career. From the action on the field to the life long friendships that were formed, it was an experience that will be tough to top.”

“Coach Joe Whipple is the perfect person to lead this team. Over the years he has done an excellent job of bringing together our raw talent and athletic abiltiy and moulded us into a fine tuned and efficient unit, that poses a formidable opponent to anyone we line up against.”

“I have not only had the pleasue of playing on the West Indies team, but I have also had the honor of serving as the captain for this squad. My good buddy and former teammate, Claudius Butts will take on the role as Captain for this tournament. And in him the players will have someone with the talent, experience, personality and swag to lead them against the world’s best.”

“I want to wish the entire team the best of luck in this tournament. Especially to Tashon Desilva and Dan Cole who will be representing the island of Bermuda. Play hard, play well, but also make sure to enjoy it. Definitely an experience you will never forget. I look forward to following you guys online and seeing some great results!”

Rugby players Bermuda March 2 2017 (2)

Dan McGavern echoed Hurdle’s sentiments by saying, “The West Indies Rugby Union gave me an unbelievable life experience to be involved with the first combination of the area’s finest rugby athletes back at the turn of the century.

“It was simply some of the best times of my life. I felt so honored to travel around the world and play rugby for the region. I look forward to seeing their involvement again in world rugby.”

Nathan Brown added, “Playing for the West Indies allowed me to form friendships with opponents from other countries in our region. Meeting and talking to other players from around the world on the tour, and realizing that the sport I played part-time on the weekends was their life made me realize how lucky I was to get this opportunity coming from Bermuda. Walking out of the changing room at Twickenham and lining-up against the late great Jonah Lomu was one of my many favorite memories.”

DeSilva, the current Bermuda National 7s Team Captain and Coach of the Berkley Institute and Beyond Rugby, commented, “I would like to thank Coaches Tom Healy, Waisale Serevi and the whole Atavus team who have helped me develop a great deal.

“I would also like to thank [National Sevens Team] Manager Jonathan Cassidy for his encouragement over the years. When he told me I had been selected to play for the West Indies, my heart stopped, my body started shaking with shock, I couldn’t believe it.

“Great opportunities like this don’t happen often and I am honoured to be a representing Bermuda by playing in the West Indies team. Bobby Hurdle, Healy, Cassidy and others have also played for this team and I am excited to keep the dream going not just for them, as well as myself and all the young Bermudians with the desire to play rugby at the highest level. As my dear friend Devrae [Noel-Simmons] always said, be relentless! Never ever give up on dream and continue to work hard at it.”

Cole was similarly honoured about the opportunity saying, “I am very excited about the re-emergence of the West Indies Rugby 7s team. It’s a great opportunity for players in the region to make the next step up from our national teams and compete at a higher level.

“I am proud to have been selected and represent Bermuda in the West Indies team. It also shows that the hard work going into the Bermuda National 7s program is being recognized.”

2017 West Indies 7s Squad: Claudius Butts [Guyana] [Captain], Jae Bowen [Barbados], Andre Cabrera [Trinidad & Tobago], Dan Cole [Bermuda], Tashon DeSilva [Bermuda], Oshane Edie [Jamaica], Patrick King [Guyana], Enrique Oxley [Barbados], Jeron Pantor [Trinidad & Tobago], Dario Stoute [Barbados] & Sean Ward [Barbados] Joe Whipple [Coach] Alex Rogan [Physio].

Update: The photo below shows the West Indies team:

west indies rugby team march 2017

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Comments (3)

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  1. Tank says:

    I love dan Cole, I want to be in him when I become a great rugby player.

  2. Canners says:

    Good job lads!

  3. Glenn Blakeney Jr says:

    Well done to my boy Tashon. Keep up the good work bro.Such a huge accomplishment. Continue to make Bermuda and the West Indies proud. Wishing you guys much success. The both of you are role models!
    Many Blessings