Jamaica has potential to become a strong rugby league nation, says Omari Caro

Drew Darbyshire

Omari Caro in action for London Skolars (photo courtesy of London Skolars)

Jamaica international Omari Caro believes the Caribbean nation has a very bright future in rugby league – both internationally and domestically.

The Reggae Warriors will become the first-ever Caribbean nation to compete at a Rugby League World Cup this autumn.

Jamaica won the Americas Championship in 2018 to qualify for the World Cup in England, beating USA and Canada in the process.

London Skolars outside back Caro can’t wait to represent his ancestral homeland in the World Cup, with Jamaica being drawn in a group with New Zealand, Lebanon and Ireland.

He said: “Its always an honour to represent Jamaica. I’ve been playing for Jamaica in league and Sevens for a while but to get to a World Cup with the league boys is an amazing achievement.

“I think it was the fourth time we’ve attempted to do it so its a good feeling and I’m glad it is finally coming around.”

Omari Caro, Hull KR (2013)

The Jamaica Rugby League Association was only founded in 2004 but it continues to take great strides forward on international and domestic level.

Caro believes the island can become a strong rugby league nation in the not too distant future.

He said: “I’ve been out to Jamaica a few times and it is not just UK-based players who have got a Jamaican grandparent or parent that are playing.

“There are boys out there who play week in, week out in their own internal league. The quality of the leagues are getting better and the plan is to transcend that into the national team set-up so there are a lot of boys on the island who are coming through and playing at a pretty good level.

“The next 10 years could see Jamaica regularly performing in big tournaments.

“As an island, Jamaica have got their own domestic league and all it needs is a bit of love and few experienced heads to go out there and help out with bringing out the grass roots level because anything can happen then.

“Jamaica is an island full of great talent and if you can get those boys and girls playing from a younger age, then you wouldn’t put it past them to become a very good nation in the future.”

Caro was born and raised in England but qualifies to play for Jamaica through the family heritage rule, with his dad’s side of the family hailing from the island.

The 29-year-old is incredibly proud to represent his Jamaican roots, having won seven caps for the nation’s rugby league team as well as representing Jamaica in Rugby (Union) Sevens.

Caro said: “My dad has never been to see me play for Jamaica because we’ve always been overseas so it would be great if selected for my dad to come and watch me play for Jamaica in the UK, so fingers crossed that can happen. It would be a nice way to end this year.

“Unfortunately, my grandparents have passed away but when they were alive we saw each other regularly and for me, it is a massive honour for me to play for and represent the country.”

Rugby League Nostalgia is here! Get involved with Love Rugby League’s new group on Facebook to share all your rugby league nostalgia and celebrate the rich heritage of our sport.