Camp coach Duncan Bird, who oversaw the U17-U19 Boys Program, brilliantly summed up a fantastic week of action:
“Over the last four days I was finally back coaching rugby in person for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2019.
Led by the brilliant coach’s coach and Head of Performance and Development at BC Rugby Aaron Takel.
Day 1: Theme was Play to Space: The Attacking Day!
After a Bronco and a 40m sprint in the morning, the initial task was getting the boys to know and be comfortable with each other and just get a footy in their hands again! A big gap in Canadian rugby is their lack of game awareness and intelligence. This is down to a lack of exposure. The drills of the day were focused on players identifying space, creating space and utilising various ways to exploit it. Kick, run, pass.
Day 2: Theme was Get the Ball Back!
I loved this one. Not defence, GET THE BALL BACK! Intercept, rip, jackal, pressure, kick contest, sideline, holding up. How can you get the ball back? The boys enjoyed this day as they got into some light contact work and learned about how to attack through defensive alignment, speed and actions.
Day 3: Theme was Fight to Play!
This focused on work on the ground, offloads, and contact. We tied in the previous two days of get the ball back, fight to keep it. Fight to find space. By this day the group had absolutely gelled. Laughter, nonstop conversations, no cliques, total comfort around each other and us [coaches]. This was what made us happiest. On a Rugby note, we started to see the boys connect some dots and put into action the things we had been teaching and preaching.
Day 4: Game Day!
We mixed the boys into teams that included the U14-U16s for 6-a-side ‘Japan touch’. For us coaches it was about game day coaching. Mannerisms, behaviour, communication, and demeanour. Being intentional with everything we did. The competitiveness of the coaches and players came out as did the full display of skills from the boys. Seeing them try things, fail and try again. Some of the boys who had been on the quiet side found their voice, some who were not the best in drills and small-sided games came out and crushed it.
It was rugby at a pure level: joyful, positive, and competitive.
There will be more high-pressure situations to come but it was great to be on the tools again. The appetite is wet and BC Rugby has some real talent to nurture.”
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