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Malta Coaching 2005

Coach: Grant McKelvey, Scottish Rugby Union

As part of the touring team to play in the Malta international tournament, the HSBC Penguin International Coaching Academy was active in running several sessions for the local rugby community. Under the direction of Grant McKelvey (Watsonians and Scotland), Edinburgh Rugby Development Manager for the Scottish Rugby Union, sessions were planned and executed for the local senior menís team, local children and young adults and the national womanís team.

The first coaching session held was for approximately 70 children and young adults aged 7 to 18. The entire squad was involved in delivering the training session as planned by Grant. The training included general skills as well as emphasising passing the ball out of contact and supporting the ball carrier. The session lasted for just over 90 minutes and was well received by all concerned. After the session, the Penguin team presented each of the local players with an academy shirt and badge.

Initial planning between Damien Neill, the Director of Rugby and National Coach of the Malta Rugby Union and Craig Brown determined a need for some specialist scrummage coaching. A session was held involving a number of tight forwards from the Penguinís under the leadership of Grant McKelvey. The session concentrated on the roles and skills of individual positions, as well as working as a unit. Twenty senior players attended, numerous of whom play in the national team. In addition, David Jack, Scottish Rugby Union referee, provided a hands on briefing to local refís on the complicated task of adjudicating the scrum. It was particularly useful that the players were used in live situations to demonstrate specific point. It was also useful for the players to obtain the refís perspective.

Two sessions were held for the Malta Ladies team and it was explained that womanís rugby is a reasonably new concept in Malta. The team has played against a couple of touring teams from the UK and had travelled once to play a match in Tunisia but had not recorded a victory. Due to small player numbers, the ladies concentrate on 7s and do not have enough numbers to play regular club competition at home.

Grant McKelvey introduced a wide range of skills and drills as well as working on the basics, organisation and team play. The ladies played an exhibition match as the curtain raiser to the final of the tournament and it was evident they were very enthusiastic and had taken on board much of the ideas and skills presented to them. A fortnight after the Penguin training sessions the Malta ladies team travelled to Prague to play in a 7s tournament. They had a difficult start, having drawn the Czech Republic in the opening match. The Malta team went on to win 12-7 and record their first ever win as a national team. The Penguinís were pleased to receive feedback from the Malta Rugby Union, confirming that the work of the HSBC Penguin International Coaching Academy had a large part to play in that first success.

Grove Tsumani Synapse