Michael Lawrence (pictured) feels that Jamaica’s ad-hoc international schedule will only stand the nation in good stead heading into their maiden Rugby League World Cup appearance next year, despite a 56-4 defeat to England Knights at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle on Friday night.
Romeo Monteith and Jermaine Coleman’s side managed one try to their opponents’ ten in the first of two October games they will play as they look to build up preparations for the showpiece tournament, postponed from this autumn to next year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Reflecting on the decision to delay the event by a whole twelve months, Huddersfield Giants stalwart Lawrence acknowledged that it may well prove to be a blessing in disguise for his team, given that they otherwise would have likely headed straight into the competition without any rugby together for close to two years.
“We’d just come off the back of a little get-together, a three-day camp, and then about two weeks later, news broke that it had been cancelled,” he recalled.
“Obviously it was devastating at the time, but as soon as it got cancelled, we knew that we wanted to play games at the end of the season.
“Going in off the back of 2020 with no international games, it would have been a two-year break and straight into a major international tournament, so the fact that we can play games now, and know what we need to work on heading into the World Cup, is a massive plus for us. We’re going to use it to our advantage.”
Lawrence, a former Knights player himself, admitted that the result did not deliver on what Jamaica had hoped to achieve, adding: “Tonight, obviously, it’s a very disappointing result, but I think it is a real lesson for us. We’re going to have to be a lot better, especially defensively. Discipline-wise, I think we invited them into our half. We had some great opportunities early on, but we conceded some soft tries too.”
As for Jordan Turner, who skippered the Jamaicans on his Testimonial match, Lawrence had nothing but glowing place – and acknowledged that it was a shame they could not deliver the win he deserved.
“He’s had a great career and he’s done a lot for Rugby League. There’s loads of support for him here and I’m glad we’ve got that turnout; we’re just disappointed that we couldn’t get the result.”
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