The Bermuda Rugby Football Union have announced the under-18 women’s training squad for the Commonwealth Youth Games to be held in Nassau, Bahamas, next week.
Bermuda accepted a late invitation to the Games after England withdrew from the competition two months ago.
The island will face medal contenders Australia, Canada, South Africa and Wales, as well as regional rivals Trinidad and Tobago in the three-day, six-team sevens tournament.
Sean Field-Lament, the BRFU president, said the squad will be the first “100 per cent” Bermudian women’s rugby team to compete in an international tournament.
“Receiving the invitation to participate at the Games is truly an honour and also a testament to the ambition of the Bermuda women’s rugby programme,” Field-Lament said.
“It is also the perfect opportunity to celebrate the hard work, dedication and determination of an exceptional group of young rugby players, who are the future of the women’s programme.
“We expect tough competition from Australia, South Africa, Canada and Wales, but we have selected a strong squad that we believe will be competitive in every game.
“We will be looking to learn from every phase of play against them, and take that experience into the two matches against Trinidad and Tobago.”
Because of the strict age requirements for the Games, a number of players were not eligible for selection.
However, some of those players will travel to the Boston Sevens tournament with the Bermuda women’s senior team the same week as they prepare for the Rugby American North Sevens competition to be held in Mexico City, Mexico, in November.
Erica McArthur, the under-18 sevens coach, said: “The BRFU’s partnership with Atavus Rugby, and the world-class coaching they have provided to all levels of Bermuda Rugby throughout the past few years has been absolutely invaluable.
“We would like to thank the Bermuda Olympic Association for their support and co-ordination of our participation in these Games and we would also like to thank our sponsors DHL, Akuma and XL Catlin for the support they have provide to the women’s rugby programme.
“Lastly, I would like to thank Kelli Nusum for being one of the founders of the Bermuda girls rugby programme.
“She will be stepping away to focus on her career, but I’m certain she will be supporting us as we build on what she started.”
The training squad for Games, which run from July 19 to 23, has been practising alongside the senior women’s and men’s under-19 teams.
The final squad will be announced by McArthur next week but notable inclusions are Corrie Cross, Cerise Woodley, Lysmeiri Santana and Haley Place, who all made their senior women’s sevens debuts at the Ran Sevens competition in Trinidad in November last year.
The squad also includes Inshan-Nae Smith and Nya Heyliger, who have international experience with Bermuda women’s basketball team.
Corrie Cross, Israel Bennett, Kadaisha Fox, Bella Greene, Nicole Herrera, Nya Heyliger, Diamond Jordan-DeSilva, Hannah Marshall, Haley Place, Litalia Randel-Odume, Lysmerie Santana, Emily Sinclair, Inshan-Nae Smith, X-onna Stevens, Keonte White and Cerise Woodley.
Coach: Erica McArthur
Manager: Sara Formiglio
Physio: Tyka Edness