Coaching Association of Canada

From The Frontlines Of The Rugby World Cup

October 4, 2011

The scrum coach for Rugby Canada’s men’s team that competed in New Zealand at the IRB Rugby World Cup, Mike has shared with us some thoughts on coach preparation for their match versus Japan last week in which Canada secured a hard-fought, come from behind draw 23-23.  Canada went on to lose to New Zealand in their final qualification match, and with Tonga’s shock win over France, finished the World Cup in fourth position in Pool A.

Canada plays Japan this afternoon in the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand. Regardless of the outcome of this match, this has been an incredible experience for me this early in my coaching career. I have been coaching for five years in Canada following a professional playing career in England.

Rugby World Cup is the third most popular global sporting event after the soccer World Cup and the Summer Olympic Games. Even more special this year it is being hosted in Rugby’s spiritual home of New Zealand, possibly for the last time for commercial reasons. New Zealanders are passionate about rugby and have expressed that passion in their support of the teams that each region is hosting. It is certainly a humbling and emotional experience to see the Canadian flag all over the New Zealand towns and the genuine interest in the team from the locals.

This being Rugby’s showpiece event, we have a larger than normal group of coaches, which has allowed me to be along as a specialist scrum coach. This is certainly a new experience for me to fit into a group of five rugby coaches under Head Coach, Kieran Crowley, and has certainly stimulated some interesting debates during meetings. Having specialist coaches is certainly a luxury not always available but the amount of player-coach contact time is drastically increased with very noticeable results.

With four hours to kick off, it’s time for me to do my visualization exercises. I’m not sure if it helps when I visualize the players doing the right things but it calms my nerves before the game.

For more information on the Rugby World Cup, click here.

For more information on Rugby Canada, click here

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