Sunday, 2nd July 2017 @ 10:27
Harlequins Global Development and Academy Director Tony Diprose and Women’s Head Coach Gary Street travelled almost 900 miles across California last week, to continue Harlequins’ US expansion.
Visiting a number of Rugby Clubs and organisations in San Francisco and the Bay Area, Santa Barbara, San Diego and Chula Vista, the trip was a huge success, according to Street: “It was refreshing to see the enthusiasm of players all over California in a fast-growing sport. The American players have an overwhelming thirst for rugby; these are exciting times to be involved in rugby in the USA.”
Harlequins has been growing its presence in California over the last year and has built an extensive network of Rugby Clubs across all levels of the game.
As part of the recent trip Street visited a Play Rugby USA school session to guest coach 20 youth players, many of who have only recently been introduced to rugby.
Working with Play Rugby USA coaches during the session the players were able focus on space awareness and team communication. Play Rugby USA are a leader across the USA in delivering community rugby programs to schools to encourage active and healthy lifestyles as well as using the unique power of rugby to empower and inspire youth.
Both coaches travelled to Palo Alto to visit Google’s rugby team at the company’s headquarters, Googleplex. The team trained in the heart of the company’s 26 acre campus and spent the session focusing on decision making in attack in preparation for a number of upcoming 7s tournaments the team will be competing in across the summer months.
Harlequins’ final session in the Bay Area was on Treasure Island at San Francisco Golden Gate Rugby Club (SFGGRFC) where Diprose and Street hosted a Women’s coaching session for local players.
SFGGRFC is becoming a familiar second home for Harlequins after multiple visits over the last 12 months and is one of the leading rugby clubs in the USA. With 7s being the primary focus for rugby clubs over the summer period, the session focused on quick offloading, support lines and communication amongst players.
Diprose then went to Southern California to the Chula Vista Olympic Training centre to visit the USA Men’s Eagles team who were preparing for the second leg of their RWC2019 play-off against Canada, having drawn 28-28 in the first leg of the play-off in Toronto.
Diprose’s final activity in the USA was to guest coach at the ATAVUS Talent ID camp in Carlsbad, near San Diego. The camp had attracted some of the best 16-18 year old players in the country and served as an opportunity to develop their skills working with both ATAVUS coaches and Diprose.
Diprose spent the day with 25 players honing their defensive skills, with training taking place at the Army & Navy Academy athletic facilities.
This follows Diprose headlining the ATAVUS Coaching conference at the Las Vegas 7s in March 2017 and more recently, ATAVUS athlete Psalm Wooching joining Harlequins to play in the World Club 10s in Mauritius.
Thank you to the following Clubs and organisations in California that helped make Harlequins' trip in the USA a success:
Play Rugby USA
San Francisco Golden Gate Women
Berkeley All Blues Women