Jamaica defeated the South Africa Rhinos 20-6 in wet conditions in the second game of the Rugby League World Cup Atlantic Zone Qualifiers Wednesday at Campbell’s Field, New Jersey. Jamaica led 10-6 at halftime and then shut out the Rhinos for the entire second half. The Jamaican victory sets up a final showdown against the USA Tomahawks this Sunday, October 23 with the winner earning a spot in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.
The Jamaicans adapted much better to the wet conditions than their South African counterparts and put on two early tries through Paul White and Wayne Allen, who scored a pair on the day, before the Rhino’s hit back via Rudolph Prinsloo. Pieter van der Nest converted the try and Jamaica went into the sheds with a four point cushion. South African coach, Steven van Zyl, said his boys were not as well prepared for the slippery conditions, “obviously the weather played a part. A lot of mistakes, a lot of handling mistakes… our defense wasn’t that good. We were battling to get off the ground in the tackles,” he said.
The Jamaican team orchestrated a lockout defensive effort in the second half and crossed the line twice more. Allen getting his second, plus a single by Ryan Grant. Jymel Coleman added two conversions to round out the calypso scoring. The South African team chose to stick to local talent for the qualifiers, resisting the inclusion of eleven eligible players who play in the ranks of the NRL and European Super League.
“I think a little bit of experience could have helped us, maybe we could have used some of our professional players. In the end, scrappy game, disappointed. I don’t think any coach would be happy with a loss. I think we’ve learned a lot out of the game and I think our support back home will back us using local players,” van Zyl said. “Our boys are fully amateur, they will go back on Friday and end up back in South Africa on Sunday and everyone will go back to their day jobs.”
For the Jamaican team, it’s now all eyes on Sunday. Their game against the Tomahawks kicks off at 2pm ET at Campbell's Field, Camden, New Jersey.
RLWCQ ATLANTIC ZONE STANDINGS:
South Africa (0-2)