Rugby with a Cherry on top!
The Royal Navy Rugby Union already has a strong track record of friendship and collaboration with Rugby Clubs around the Globe. Recently, Rugby Development Officer, Ady Cherrington reaffirmed this with a visit to Portugal and one of their local clubs, St Julians.
Having already reached out by providing some essential rugby kit to a team in need in 2018, Ady had forged new friendships in Portugal. A spring clean of the Royal Navy Rugby Union Rugby Store provided him with another opportunity to help the team. He was able to collate a sizeable donation of staple rugby equipment for them. A germ of a plan began to grow with the club’s executive, keen to bring a coach developer over to the Iberian Peninsula to help improve their approach to training. They thought of Ady, also known more fondly as Cherry.
"One of the great strengths of Royal Navy rugby is our ability to support this great game around the World. One of our stalwarts, Jamie Campbell-Baldwin (working at STRIKFORNATO, in Oeiras), is helping do just that in Portugal, and we had the opportunity to suppport him.” said Cdr Beasty Williams (RNRU Director of Community Rugby). "RNRU Community Rugby helps RN personnel around the World build the game, and it's a joy to see it being played with such energy."
Usually spending his time between Plymouth and Portsmouth, with occasional visits North of the Border, supported by 2 community rugby coaches, Spider Kelly and Dave Wakefield, Cherry was keen to conduct some Continual Professional Development for himself, taking on the challenge of helping to convert Portugal, where football is a religion, to the sport of rugby. A number of rugby nations, notably England and Scotland, conducted their training camps for RWC 19 in Portugal, and most recently Leicester Tigers pushed themselves in the Algarve as they prepared for the 2019/20 season. So perhaps the Senior XV might want to think about conducting their Inter Service training camp in equally testing hot and humid conditions in the future…
Simon Mount, President of St. Julian’s Rugby said, “Here at St. Julian’s, we were delighted that Cherry was able to visit us and pass on his expansive rugby coaching knowledge. I think the coaches were able to take a lot from the 2 day package and no doubt this will reflect well as we progress through this season and into the future. Rugby is part of the core P.E. syllabus, so we took the opportunity to invite some of the school’s teachers who are newcomers to rugby to benefit from the instruction and learn from the shared knowledge of the rest of the attendees. It was a great weekend. Thank you to the RNRU for lending us your RDO.”
The coaching camp was broken down into two days of class room and outdoor activity looking at the Principles of Play; the newly introduced Game Zone/ Skill Zone; contact management and Principles of Attack. On request from the coaches, a scrum workshop and a really useful lineout clinic was provided including best binding positions and grips and safe lifting and jumping techniques. Where the coaches got the most out of the weekend was in the practical sessions, where touch-tackle condition based games were run out. Coach-initiated constraints and problem sets brought about some significant light bulb moments as the coaches saw the benefit of the GZ/ SZ methodology. The switch of some players to the Skill Zone to develop their individual proficiencies before reintegrating them into the games once they had worked out the skill was a huge learning outcome for the coaches.
“What struck me first about the camp was the huge amount of enthusiasm,” explained Cherry. “We talked about communication as an integral part of the Principles of Play, and I’ll admit my Portuguese is next to nothing, so as the participants bounced between languages, the process encouraged significant sharing of knowledge and ideas. I was really impressed by this and as we moved to the practical aspect, I saw them look to challenge themselves, which will only go on to benefit their players."
“I’d like to thank Simon and João Marvão for inviting me to Carcavelos and for encouraging the partnership, and of course, my profound appreciation to Patricia Mirao (St. Julian’s Rugby Event Coordinator) for looking after the participants’ dietary needs. The RFU needs to adopt Portuguese hospitality!”
An option to return to provide a rugby camp for the age groups was voiced, with some thoughts on how to run it floated, but whether or not it can be pulled off, Cherry leaves Portugal having put a smile on several faces and having imparted plenty of advice on how to deliver training to an enthusiastic bunch of Portuguese rugby fanatics.
If you think you would be interested in getting involved in coaching then click here. For serving personnel, coaching is recognised as part of the personal development process and you can use your annual Standard Learning Credit (SLC) to put towards RFU run courses.
Words: J Campbell-Baldwin
Image credit: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Catarina Gaudencio