Skill Rugby Clinic Bring Philadelphia Rugby Community Together
Schuylkill River Rugby hosted our annual high school clinic on Saturday February 16th. The free event was open to all high school aged athletes that wished to participate. Due to having active Schuylkill players on their coaching staffs, the North Philadelphia Nomads, Narberth Otters, and Roman Catholic High School teams were the best represented programs but the event drew players from throughout the Philadelphia area. The clinic was run by Schuylkill’s Head Coach in 15s and 7s, Mike Burch, who stated that “It was a fun day for all. We had players from all levels come together to build on their individual rugby skills. They worked hard and stayed engaged the entire time. The future of rugby in our area is bright.”
The attendees went through basic rugby skills and then broke into groups for individual skill development. Schuylkill’s players and coaches were on hand to work with their specific position groupings which gave the attendees a great opportunity to learn the drills from players who put those skills into action on a weekly basis. Narberth Otters Coach Gabe Gliwa told us that “with a lot of new talent this year and being a little light on numbers so early in the year a session like this was huge. It was a chance for our newer guys to see different aspects of the game put together and at a more upbeat pace. Beyond the different perspective on certain skills it was also a chance for our guys to hear that top level rugby teams like Schuylkill still practice the small things and that the drills we do today are just as important across all levels.”
In addition to the skill work, the teams were also able to combine and do some 15 on 15 drills in order to gain a better understanding of how to structure a team on offense and defense. By mixing the players onto different teams throughout the day they were able to work with players they don’t play alongside on a regular basis and really gain an understanding of the brotherhood that goes along with rugby. When asked for comment on the clinic the North Philadelphia Nomads Coaching staff, through Head Coach James Brunson, said “our Coaching Staff is thankful for the opportunity to our Young Men outside running around with the Rugby ball in their hands. It was great for them to interact with other Young Men who have varied experiences with the game, as well. We have a group totally new to the game this season so it was a very beneficial day for our program.”
Roman Catholic High School Coach Fred Koniecki added that “the boys from Roman Catholic want to extend a sincere thank you to the Schuylkill River coaches and players for their commitment to developing rugby in Philadelphia. Our players learned so much about the game of rugby, gained position-specific skills, and made friends from other local teams that will carry on past high school.”
As a result of the positive response that this clinic has received Schuylkill River has reached out to some of the teams involved and will be having another high school rugby clinic on Saturday March 2 in order to help these teams prepare for their league seasons.