Fitness is the key for the Bermuda rugby union team going forward, said new head coach Peter Lewington after they went down 51-11 to the Queen’s University Gaels from Kingston, Ontario, at the North Field on Saturday.
Bermuda were only trailing 26-11 at half-time, with wing Corey Boyce capping an all-action performance with the team’s only try, as well as earning a yellow card after an altercation with a Queen’s player, who received a red card. Dan Cole kicked two penalties for the home team.
However, they allowed Queen’s to run in four unanswered tries after the break, to go with the four they scored in the first half.
“That was the first unofficial training session for the 15-a-side team,” Lewington said. “We intend to start training in the next week or two as the domestic season finishes and we’ll be instigating a fitness programme as well. Fitness is key in international games. Our fitness isn’t at the standard required that we need to raise it to so that they don’t fatigue as easily. The skill levels drop, as shown in the poor tackling later on in the game.”
Lewington, though, was pleased with Bermuda’s running with the ball.
“There was some really good running from the boys,” Lewington said. “We have some really good strike runners in the team. We’ve got some really good forwards who can get past the gain line. We’ve got some excellent backs who, when given the ball, will score tries. We’ve got to mesh those forwards and backs to give the strike runners those opportunities.”
Lewington praised Boyce for his display.
“Corey had a very good game, obviously,” Lewington said. “He got a little bit too enthusiastic in the second half, which he admits himself. He realised his mistake immediately, but that said, he had an excellent game and worked really, really hard.
“I asked him at the start of the game to run straight and hard, rather than sideways, and he did that for me. Time and time again, he smashed that ball up, got over the gain line and made territory. And when he had the opportunity to get some space, he showed what he could do.”
Boyce was happy with the team’s involvement in his try, which came down the right after some well-worked possession.
“It was a good team-effort try,” Boyce said. “The forwards did what they had to do, make the yards up, then we spread the ball wide and I found some space and was able to slip through and score.”