Article by Rian Barrett
The rugby club is a place where any student can come to practice rugby and become a fit and smart competitor. In rugby, every player can be in the center of the action since the whole team is constantly involved as they move up and down the field. When rugby players play offense, every player is involved and the same goes for defense. Every player must be prepared and ready to handle the ball; therefore, rugby is a sport that helps develop teamwork, conditioning, hand-eye coordination, communication, and good sportsmanship. Although the rugby club at St.Mary’s is still treated as a club and not as a proper sports team, it has qualities that no other team sport has. It is a sport in which players must cooperate constantly and learn to truly be a team. Through time the rugby club has been a great opportunity for the members to develop values that will most likely aid them in future situations.
After last year’s mid-season shut down it was thought that rugby might never make a come back at St. Mary’s. With only one practice match and one joint practice, it had to be shut down prematurely, and hopes of going overseas to compete in the Singapore tournament ended up as something that never happened. Nonetheless, the return of the club is a big deal to students who enjoy the sport, and this time the rugby club has a professional coach.
Mr. York has coached at the British School in Tokyo and now currently coaches the Tokyo Esquire’s Youth Team. As a professional, Mr. York is providing a great experience for the rugby club members and the influence of the coach on the club has been greater than ever.
In addition to a new coach, a new training program has been implemented. During September through October, the players had practice every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 15:45 until 17:30. The training they did included core training, balance work, strength training, and agility. For example, the players worked on staying in the balanced strength position which they use in scrums (situation where the forwards from both teams tie up and fight for the ball in attempt to gain advantage when restarting the game) to fight for the ball. Other physical training included supporting the weight of fellow players with your arms or simple sprinting. Besides physical training, they worked on touch rugby, ball movement practice, and tackle practice to effectively simulate game situations. Mr. York covered specific details such as proper footing when tackling to avoid injuries and how to move around the field and correctly pass and receive the ball.
The club members think that Mr. York is a great coach. Mr. York has brought material for the members to work on, motivated the players to work on rugby, and executed his plans thoroughly. In addition, his efficient game preparing drills have managed to get the players to improve their rugby to the point where they could actually be ready to play a game in one months time. Also, with his enthusiasm and his specific planning of changing up the drills from time to time, he was able to maintain a fun and engaging practice.
The Rugby Club has had three matches this year: Two with Mita International School and one with Mr. York’s Tokyo Esquire Youth Team. All three matches were practice matches. However all three games provided a lot of worthwhile experience. They were intense yet enjoyable matches that all rugby club members had fun taking a part in. Sometimes it got a little physical, but because the players were able to keep their composure it was a great opportunity to learn sportsmanship. The rugby club intends on continuing next year and hopes that more underclassmen will join the club.