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University of York rugby union star Conan Osborne to play for Jamaica in international tournament
11:45am Wednesday 30th October 2013 in Sport
UNIVERSITY of York student Conan Osborne is flying out to the Cayman Islands to play for Jamaica in a major international rugby union tournament.
The 20-year-old will represent the Caribbean island in the Stepping Stones North American & Caribbean Rugby Association (NACRA) Sevens on November 9 and 10.
The NACRA Sevens 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.
While the rest of the Jamaican squad have been training together, Osborne, a politics with international relations undergraduate, will meet up his team-mates for the first time the day before the tournament begins.
Osborne, 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 are hoping to match last year’s achievement by qualifying as the top Caribbean side. Osborne, who will be the only Englishman in the Jamaican team, will have the support of his father, Dwight, at the tournament.
The grandparents on his father’s side were born in Jamaica, which means the winger 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 first XV, Osborne plays for the Marauders Academy on the Elite Seven circuit, and has turned down an offer to play on a semi-pro contract.
While Osborne’s ultimate ambition is to go into banking, he is considering a year out in Australia playing rugby union next year and has the 2016 Olympic Games in his sights.
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