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Jamaica Under-19 team off to defend Caribbean title

Robert Bailey, Freelance Writer

JAMAICA'S UNDER-19 rugby team leaves the island today for the Cayman Islands where it will be aiming to defend its Caribbean championship title.

The Jamaicans will also be out to secure a place in next year's World Championships which will be held in either France or Nigeria if they win this year's crown.

Jamaica play their first game tomorrow against Mexico.Victor Hyde, coach of the side, said he was confident the team would retain its title.

"We are very confident," said Hyde. "We are mentally, physically and spiritually ready for this tournament."Newcomers Mexico are in our zone and we don't know much about them, but we won't be taking them lightly," he said.

"Our aim is to reach next year's Under-20 World Cup, so we are definitely going all-out to make sure we win all of our matches in this competition."

The Jamaicans have retained 18 players from last year's championship side which won the title in Guyana. However, Hyde said the team would still be missing a number of key players from last year's squad.

"Some of our players are injured, but I believe we have a very balance team," he said. "We also have a few new players and we are going out there to make our fans and country proud by winning the trophy and qualifying for the World Cup."