During the December holidays Patrick Sowerby and I were given the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of an 18-player squad coached by former All Blacks at the International Rugby Academy in Palmerston North, New Zealand. The Academy’s focus was not only to teach players how to become better at the game, but also to understand the challenges and sacrifices it takes to become a professional rugby player.
Some of these challenges and sacrifices included learning mental skills, rugby IQ, technical ‘position specific’ tuition, nutrition and injury prevention.
As the week progressed, the team developed from the ‘stranger’ stage to becoming ‘best mates’ with one another. This was very important to the team and coaches because on the second to last day of the Academy we opposed Palmerston North Boys High School’s First XV. The game was very intense with some huge boys on the opposing team. The game fluctuated to and fro with both teams fighting it out for the win. The game finished on the final hooter with Palmerston North Boys High School edging us by a converted try.
One of my biggest highlights was the position specific coaching where I was coached by former New Zealand All Blacks, Peri Weepu and Eroni Clarke, alongside former French and New Zealand coach, David Ellis. Through these amazing people, I gained confidence in decision making and learnt new skills to improve my overall game.
I look forward to implementing and embracing the new skills gained into my last two years of rugby in the Somerset First XV. To any players who are presented with this opportunity, I strongly recommend you embrace it with enthusiasm.
« Back to IndexNext article in this edition »