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Rugby scholars selected for international sevens tour

Athletic gold: Kanisha Vincent and Jake Caddy

Athletic gold: Kanisha Vincent and Jake Caddy

Two University of Portsmouth students and sports scholars have been selected to compete in a major international rugby sevens tournament in Mexico.

Kanisha Vincent plays for Trinidad and Tobago, and Jake Caddy plays for Barbados.

The Rugby North America tournament is in Mexico City this weekend, November 25-26.

Kanisha is studying for her MSc sports performance at Portsmouth. She was a member of the Trinidad and Tobago sevens international team which came third in the 2015 North American and Caribbean sevens.

She said: “Being selected to the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Rugby 7s Team for the RAN tournament in Mexico is an amazing opportunity. On the back of this tournament, the winning team will have the opportunity to compete in a host of major tournaments in 2018 such as the Commonwealth Games, HSBC 7s in Hong Kong, and the Rugby 7s World Cup, so it’s really uplifting knowing that the team wants me to be a part of that.

“I’ve been playing rugby for about six or seven years now and I’ve been a part of the national team for five or six of those years.

“Over the years, I’ve fashioned my playing style after local greats like Juliana Straker and international phenomenon like DJ Forbes, mixing it all together to create the brand of rugby that is inherently mine.

“In 7s, I tend to play in the forwards so either prop or hooker. I’m really excited to see how everything unfolds on the 25th and 26th of November in Mexico.”

Jake is studying for his BA in human geography at Portsmouth. He has been playing rugby since he was five years old after his Dad, a keen rugby advocate, got him started at their local club. His rugby hero is Kurtley Beale.

Jake has one senior cap for Barbados and has previously played for the Barbados under 18 squad in the international Junior World Cup and, the following year, for the under 19 squad. He played for Barbados sevens International in the Rio 2016 warm up games, and represented Nike 7s in the Amsterdam International Tournament last May, losing to Ireland in the semi-final.

Jake will be playing centre/fly-half in the tournament alongside his brother, Lestyn.

Jake said: “Being selected means a lot to me. I am very proud of where I come from. My Mother and Grandmother are also very proud of where they come from, so given the opportunity to represent them as well as Barbados makes me very honoured. To be selected alongside my older brother as well makes it more special.”

The University of Portsmouth has sports scholars representing a broad spectrum, from shooting to skiing.

The sports scholar programme is open to 20 talented students a year. It includes financial help towards equipment, competition and training; physiotherapy and sports massage; a personal mentor to liaise with academic staff; free access to all sports facilities; specialist strength and conditioning facilities and programmes; free physiotherapy; and free membership of the British Universities and Colleges Sports (BUCS).

Paul Tilley, Head of Sport and Recreation at the University, said: “Kanisha and Jake are among the best of our student athletes with a long pedigree in international elite sport. We are proud they chose to study at Portsmouth and delighted to support them through our scholarship programme. We wish them both all our very best for their upcoming tournament.”

Previous sports scholars at the University include Lauren Steadman, who won silver at the 2016 Paralympics for triathlon in Rio, and Dan Bentley, who won gold in the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, and bronze in the 2012 Paralympics in London, both for boccia.

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