The Trinidad and Tobago Rugby scene will have yet another injection of enthusiasm as the Trinidad & Tobago Senior Women’s National Rugby XVs Team heads to Colombia to take on Las Tucanes, as Colombia’s Women’s Rugby Team is called.

On the back of recent home fixtures like the Senior Men’s XVs Championship match against Guyana and the Senior Women’s XVs practice matches against USA Rugby South, this match further bolsters the international profile of Trinidad and Tobago Rugby.

This will be the first time in both teams’ histories that they will face each other in a cross-regional test match.

In speaking to Trinidad & Tobago Rugby Union’s (TTRU) President, Maria Thomas, she stressed the significance of such a match for the country. “The return of the Women’s XVs competition in the Rugby Americas North (RAN) region of World Rugby, is a goal the TTRU has both anticipated and worked towards. 2024 marks not only the return to the XVs test match format, and the reopening of the Rugby World Cup pathway; the cross-regional game with Colombia answers our call for diversified competition and preparation for signature fixtures like the RAN 15s Tournament.”

Although Trinidad and Tobago’s Scarletts, named after the Scarlet Ibis, have not played test matches in over 10 years, as the highest-ranked team in the RAN region behind North American giants USA and Canada, they are currently ranked higher in world rankings than Las Tucanes. As an official test match, the outcome of this fixture will affect what happens to their respective placements and will be no easy feat.

As observed by Head Coach, Richard Staglon, “Colombia is no pushover. Colombia is a world-class team; they are a powerhouse.” Colombia competes in WXV, World Rugby’s global Women’s XVs Competition, which provides an avenue for teams around the world to go head-to-head in 3 tiers. Colombia competes in tier 3 with Ireland, Fiji, Spain, Kenya and Kazakstan.

Even though the size of the task has been repeatedly noted, Coach Staglon seeks to remind his athletes, “We keep forgetting that we are a big team as well, that we can compete. We showed it in the games against USA South [earlier this year] with 7 debutants [in the squad].”

In preparation for the 2024 RAN Women’s XVs Tournament, the National Team has been training with increased intensity, having placed second to USA South in 2023. Staglon also referred to the chemistry and togetherness of the team as an integral part of their preparation for Colombia and RAN.

As noted by TTRU’s President, Maria Thomas, this year’s RAN competition will take the format of full-length test matches, a format it has not seen over the last 10 years. In conjunction with Colombia’s World Cup preparation, this contest promises to be an interesting and exciting one.

For Coach, Richard Staglon, the excitement is palpable. “We are excited to see the kind of rugby that will be played and hopefully we can continue to improve and do well.”

We will see the action go down on June 15, 2024, in Medellin, Colombia. Stay tuned to our platforms for further information on where it can be watched.

The Trinidad & Tobago Senior Women’s National Rugby XVs Team List is as follows:

Athletes: Aqiyla O’Brien (Captain), Leah Kintiba (Vice Captain), Latifah Carliste, Victoria Carliste, Aaliyah Davis, TS Davis, Elektra Dennis, Teresita Dillon, Tinielle Duncan, Schezelle Fleming, Ornella George, Apphia Glasgow, Angel Jorsling, Akila Lowman, Thea Marrast, Shun-Shauna Mason, Marika Mendez, Ketara Munroe, Quaneisha Oliver, Jade Ramjag, Special Ryan, Kyiala Simon, Blossom Stewart and Kanisha Vincent.

Technical Team: Richard Staglon (Coach), Calon Reid (Assistant Coach), Alicia Sooknanan (Manager), Dr. Sasha Farrier (Medical Doctor) and Chrisan Petrovanie (Massage Therapist).