Sometimes, the best way to improve a system is to start at the top.
Thus, throughout the Peter Fatialofa (FAT) U20 Cup tournament, Rugby Academy Samoa is not only working on up skilling players but also the coaches.
The founder of Rugby Academy Samoa (R.A.S),Mase Mahonri Schwalger shared the mission and vision with Samoa Observer at their new facilities in Lotopa. He stated, “We are not only playing the tournament but we’re trying to coach our coaches and coach our players. Next year, the standards will be a lot higher We’ve had this tournament for two years now. Last year, the game wasn’t up to the standards but this year it’s a lot better. We tend to get all the kids in the academy and send them out to the village in order for the tournament to go up.”
R.A.S has been working hand in hand with Essential Rugby for the last two years and have been a major supporter in R.A.S’ development.
There to facilitate the clinics is Pacific Island Academy Manager, Sam Ward . Ward is responsible for implementing and overseeing systems to help develop rugby in the Islands, identify talent, and manage the flow of players into New Zealand.
As per R.A.S motto, Ward shared the knowledge with the Observer as he spoke of the qualities that make a good coach and the potential he’s seen on the island.
He stated, “To be a good coach, firstly you need to be involved. A lot of people have a lot of knowledge and that sort of thing, out there coaching people. All the coaches that are here are actually putting time into the kids which is fantastic.
“I think the second thing to be a good coach is being able to communicate with people and be a people person. Because , people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care .” “The third thing is , a bit of rugby knowledge. Most of the coaches that have come through are involved and really good people and what we try to do is improve the rugby knowledge and experience and help and to what their already doing in their villages and communities. We’re just trying to share the knowledge we’ve got and share it to the coaches and in turn, they’ll share it with the players and villages back home.” Ward is blown away but the natural talent that many of the players and coaches have displayed throughout these past couple days, but there is always room for improvement.
He stated “I think the more rugby that can be played the better. I suppose from my angle, I’ve been impressed at the standards of coaching and how good they are at coaching. But I think , how it could be added is the rugby detail and technical, tactical knowledge and rugby specific stuff.” “Basically they’ve got the coaching methods they just need a little bit of expertise and knowledge because their good people and their good people . I think with a little bit of knowledge, they’ll raise the standard of rugby.”
“Some of the rugby we’ve seen so far is outstanding. Just the natural talent of the players and then the natural coaching ability of the staff plus a bit of rugby, the standard will improve through the roof.” This will be a highly intense few weeks for R.A.S as they continue running the tournament, hosting coaching clinics and working on position specific skill sets in the hopes of creating better coaches and great athletes.