Jamaica Hurricanes U19 Academy faces Wigan-Leigh test on Saturday

By Sports Desk February 23, 2024

Jamaica Hurricanes Academy U19s will square off against touring Wigan-Leigh College from England in a groundbreaking rugby league test match at the UWI Mona Bowl on Saturday, February 24. This marks the first time Hurricanes will field an U19 team against international opponents in the 13-a-side version of the game. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 pm.

 The Wigan-Leigh College team, currently on a development tour to Jamaica, are from the North of England and linked to English professional club Leigh Leopards, competing in the Super League. During their stay, they have conducted coaching and match official seminars with local personnel and hosted coaching clinics at The Cedar Grove Academy and Campion College. They are the fourth international team to tour the island within the past six months.

 The Hurricanes have already gained a significant milestone from the tour, securing a 12-8 victory over the visitors in the U19 Academy Finals at the New Year 9s on February 17. The historic win marked the first time a domestic Jamaica team earned a win against a team from England in any format of the game. The Hurricanes are comprised of Jamaica’s top High School and Club U19 players, the Academy is an integral part of the domestic development for elite players.

 Looking towards the game, Antonio Baker, Hurricanes Academy Coach, said, “Rugby League Jamaica has dedicated considerable effort to developing rugby league at the grassroots level. The Test will offer a valuable opportunity to assess our progress, facing top-tier opposition from England. I am confident the team will give their best effort, as they all aspire to represent their country admirably.”

 Kieron Purtill, Coach of Wigan-Leigh College, expressed gratitude for the warm hospitality extended by the Jamaican rugby league community, remarking, “The reception we've received in Jamaica from the rugby league community has been outstanding since the day we arrived. Participating in the Nines tournament was a fantastic experience for our team, showcasing a very high standard and significant participation. We eagerly anticipate our test match this Saturday as we prepare to take on a swift and robust Jamaican teamAnt. Rugby league emerges as the ultimate victor, and our partnership between Leigh Leopards, Wigan-Leigh College, in conjunction with Rugby League Jamaica, has provided a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all the young players involved. We hope this tour paves the way for other teams to visit and partake in what we've experienced, further aiding the development of rugby league in Jamaica.”

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