Coaches - Craig Brown and Caine Elisara
Following on from the successful coaching trip of 2003, Craig Brown and Caine Elisara returned to Ontario to coach the Toronto Nomads 7s teams again. The aim of the coaching was to prepare the Nomad teams for the Magnificent 7s tournament held at Fletcher’s fields on 18th July 2004.
Two 7s training sessions where held with 25 players in attendance. Given the difference in tactics between 7s and 15s, emphasis centred on skills and routines suitable for playing 7s. As with last year, most players adapted thereto and applied the ideas being put forward.
The men’s open tournament attracted more entries than last year, although late call-offs and uncertainty of participation lead to some ambiguity and a re-shuffling of the draw. The Nomads team strength was below that of last year’s winning side due to player availability, and as a result the team failed to regain the title won in 2003. Despite valiant efforts by all players, the Nomads lost all their pool games, and were out played by superior opposition.
The club tournament was well represented by many local and travelling teams. The competition was fairly even with few teams out of their depth. The Nomads team in particular, did very well against traditionally much stronger opposition. Rather than trying to play 15s with 7 men as some teams attempted, the Nomads played traditional 7s to a good standard.
Through effective use of a sweeper defence system and great support play, in combination with using the width of the field and putting the “man into space”, the Nomads reached the club championship final. Although the Nomads had chances, they were beaten by a team with higher ability individuals and from a club two divisions above the Nomads. It was interesting to note the Club Men’s winners did not enter a team in the Open Men’s competition.
Overall, both the Nomads and the tournament were somewhat disorganised, which was disappointing following last year’s well organised event and participation. Some ideas on how to improve the Nomads involvement were discussed.
Following the tournament in Canada, Craig Brown travelled up to Montreal where he assisted in a summer rugby school organised by Shane Thompson (Canada and Canada 7s) who has represented the Penguins on three occasions. The school involved 34 young people aged between 8 and 17, and covered a wide range of skills and games. The Penguin International RFC and HSBC Rugby Coaching Academy was introduced to the school participants, followed by a 2 hours skills and game session organised by Craig Brown.