US Rugby players tournament and holidays in Cuba
A US rugby team recently enjoyed rare Cuba holidays whilst they competed at the first International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens Tournament in Cuba's capital, Havana city with 12 teams from seven different countries.
The US team, Atlantis, was made up of 10 American players, two American coaches, one American manager and an American trainer and one Canadian at the end of February. The tournament was organised by Canadian rugby patron, Karl Fix and saw some exceptional play from some of North and South America's finest rugby athletes.
The tournament was kicked off with an opening ceremony at Eduardo Saborit Stadium sports arena and saw the 12 teams flying the flags for their nations before the games began. On the first day of the tournament, the Atlantis team played three games; two against Cuban national development teams and one against the Mexican National team.
Atlantis triumphed on the second day and beat the Venezuelan team with the help of talented former US National Sevens player, Marcus Respes and Texan Kelly Kolberg. The ultimate match was between Atlantis and the Cuban national team which was supported by horns, bells and whistles from keen Cuba fans.
As the tournament ended, players gathered in the clubhouse for celebrations and the US players were drawn to the Cubans, who they had befriended during their matches against each other.
Kelly Kolberg, sitting beside his new Cuban rugby friend, Pablo, said:
"I have been all around the world playing rugby and this has been my best experience yet. These people have changed my view on Cubans."
The current US-Cuba embargo currently bans US travellers from freely taking Cuba holidays or travelling to the region. However, the ban is currently being debated an brought to the US Congress where many are hoping it will finally be lifted after being in place for over 45 years.
Lifting the embargo will enable US travellers to take holidays in Cuba, and businesses will be able to build new relationships.
The lift of the ban will significantly help Cuban businesses in the travel and tourism industry if more travellers from the US take Cuba holidays.
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