by Nigel Melville
Nigel Melville Direct
The next couple of weeks are exciting times for our men and women sevens players, both Eagles squads are resting tonight ahead of their opening games at the iconic Hong Kong Sevens, whilst our High School All Americans are setting off to London to play in probably the most prestigious School Sevens tournaments in the World, the Rosslyn Park Sevens.
During the first quarter of 2012, the Eagles men and women sevens players have been settling into their new home at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego. The transition has been pretty smooth for the players, the first job was to sort out their accommodations, in this respect the Women took the honors for being the most organized! Whilst the women’s major concern appeared to be a fridge, the men struggled with just about everything! Fortunately all the players meals are provided on-site, the variety is pretty impressive, and the volume unlimited.
Getting used to an increased work load was always going to be the biggest challenge, the men were more prepared for the daily training demands than the women, but now the daily routines are more settled the women are witnessing significant conditioning gains and all skill levels, men and women, are improving.
One interesting addition to the program has been the introduction of a Catapult athlete tracking technology system. This consists of small tracking units worn by the players during training, every movement is monitored including distance covered, speed etc. When we have more data we will be able to plan each sessions workload to perfection to make sure that the players don’t over train, and of course under train! Daily work rates are posted and the coaching staff get an additional tool to monitor their sessions and the players workloads.
The players schedules include rugby sessions, conditioning and a wide range of high performance support from bio mechanical screening, psychology, nutritional advice, massage therapy and plenty of opportunities to analyze and watch rugby.
On the coaching front, Ric Suggitt, the Women’s Eagles coach has done an excellent job integrating his team into a full time environment. The players are challenged on a daily basis, they are engaged in their development as a team and I think we saw an immediate impact in their performances in Las Vegas. On the men’s side, it is no secret that we made a change, Alex Magleby stepping into replace Al Caravelli until the end of the current HSBC Series. Alex has made a significant impact already, a new face, new ideas and the players are being challenged to raise their game to the next level. With a new format in Hong Kong, the Eagles face their toughest test of the year so far, New Zealand, Wales and South Africa will be joining them in their pool!
While the Eagles Men and Women take up their challenges this weekend, the All American High Schools Boys Seven will be preparing to face an equally stern test. The Rosslyn Park Sevens is an opportunity for them to play against some of the best school teams in England. Having played at the Rosslyn Park Sevens myself, I can assure them there will be no easy games. While they are there, they will have a coaching session with England Sevens superstar Ben Gollings – what a great opportunity!
Earlier today I read an excellent article by Alex Goff on the All American’s Sevens program, CLICK HERE to read the full article. We will be also taking a look at the standard of the women’s open event this year to see if there is an opportunity to enter a women’s seven in 2013.
2014 YOUTH OLYMPICS (China)
I received an email this week expressing concerns that we hadn’t announced our plans for the Youth Olympics in 2014….for those who share these concerns, we are in discussions with the IRB regarding the qualification process, and of course, the process is extremely complicated. The full details of the process have not been approved, but their will only be four team sports at the event in China, and each National Olympic Committee will only be permitted to participate in two team sports events – it will be their decision. There will be a men’s and women’s rugby sevens event, each region providing 2 teams, but I understand only one team per country…that’s just a brief overview of a complex process being discussed….but I wanted to confirm that we are engaged with the process and will make the appropriate moves to get the best representation possible at the games!!
With an impressive resume as player, coach and administrator, Nigel David Melville took over as CEO and President of Rugby Operations of USA Rugby, the National Governing Body of the sport in America, in 2006. In addition to his full time job promoting the sport in the U.S., Melville has launched his own blog, Nigel Melville Direct, to further the discussion and his passion for what it will take to make the U.S. a great rugby playing nation.
CLICK HERE to read more on Nigel Melville
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The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.