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‘Tackling’ an international challenge: York student joins Jamaican rugby team

Posted on 29 October 2013

A University of York student is flying out to the Cayman Islands to play for Jamaica in a major international rugby tournament.

Conan Osborne, 20, will represent the Caribbean island in the Stepping Stones North American & Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Rugby Sevens on the 9 and 10 November.

The NACRA 7s act as a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the CASCO Games in Mexico and the HSBC World Sevens Series Hong Kong tournament, all taking place in 2014.

And while the rest of the Jamaican squad has been practising their game moves together, Conan, a Politics with International Relations undergraduate, will meet his team-mates for the first time the day before the tournament begins.

Conan, who grew up in Kent and has only been to Jamaica once in his life, said: “The whole thing still seems quite surreal as it’s happened quite suddenly. It’s really good to get international honours and I’m very excited about flying out to Grand Cayman.

“While the rest of the Jamaican team know each other and have been training together, it was too expensive for me to join them. Instead, the head coach has been sending me videos of set plays and kept me updated about the focus of training.

“I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it to the Cayman Islands and there was talk of me joining the team at the Commonwealth Games stage. However, sponsorship from the University of York and Tactical Enterprise Ltd, providers of VIP protection, has made it possible to join the team now, which is fantastic.”

While the USA, Canada and Mexico are expected to dominate the NACRA tournament, Jamaica is hoping to match last year’s success by qualifying as the top Caribbean side.   

Conan, who will be the only Englishman on the Jamaican team, will have the support of his father Dwight at the tournament. Conan’s grandparents on his father’s side were born in Jamaica, which means Conan qualifies to play for the national squad.

Keith Morris, Head of Sport at the University of York, said: “We aim to support any aspiring sportsmen and women who come to the University, and as one of our sport scholars, Conan will continue to get our full support to make the most of this fantastic opportunity.”

A winger for the University of York’s 1st XV, Conan plays for the Marauders Academy on the Elite Seven circuit, and has turned down an offer to play on a semi-pro contract.

While Conan’s ultimate ambition is to go into banking, he is considering a year out in Australia playing rugby next year and has the 2016 Olympic Games in his sights.

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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