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HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy Tour
Singapore and Malaysia, 29 October - 10 November 2012

HSBC Penguin Academy Coaches sat in the breakfast room of Deano Herewini’s hotel and discussed the week’s coaching timetable. It was Monday morning and we had a full week ahead. Penguin Academy coaches, Tony ”TP” Penn from Taranaki, John “McKitty” McKittrick from North Harbour, and Ian “Chook” Fowler from Perth, were keen to get involved in coaching. As part of the joint venture with Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU), Deano, Douglas and Izzy from ARFU were also involved in the coaching programme.

It was a very gratifying week; all groups thoroughly enjoyed getting out on the park and learning more about rugby. Whilst we were unable to to coach as many groups as we had hoped - school exam period, we did get to work with approximately 500 players, coaches and teaching students, with an emphasis on basic skills, skill games, and fun.

The young players were fantastic to work with and had a real hunger for knowledge, making our job really enjoyable, and we left every session knowing the kids had taken something positive away about the game of rugby, as well as an HSBC/ARFU T Shirt and a Penguins pin.

Tuesday morning involved a 30 minute drive – as they all turned out to be – to a teaching university where Prof. Tom Browne’s class was entertained by TP, Chook, Dougie and Deano, demonstrating rugby games for use when they started teaching. With the emphasis on fun and motor skills, a good time was had by all.

Tuesday afternoon saw TP, Chook and Dougie head to Pioneer School for a session with their rugby programme. Deano and Dougie headed off to an Australian International School session, although traffic issues stopped McKitty getting there. Another enthusiastic group at Pioneer and we again worked on core skills, which the local boys enjoyed. Simply because he is a prop, TP had to throw in some contact!

The coaching group split again the following day, with McKitty, Izzy, and Chook heading to the UWCSEA school. Their task, to work with three 7s teams playing in the semi- and finals, of the schools' competition at the weekend at the Padang. This competition occurs around the SCC 7s. UWCSEA has a great programme, and John was able to pass on some of his enormous 7s knowledge, which lead them to 3 semi-final wins and a trophy win for the U16s on the Sunday!! Chook and Izzy learned from him too!

Deano, TP and Dougie went back to the university for more teacher coaching. We also returned on Thursday. It is hope these young men and women are well equipped to teach their students some awesome rugby games.

Chook and Izzy finished their day at Centaurs Club, a very successful local club, and again a good time was had by all. Coaches requested specific drills here; something the players will continue to benefit from.

The ARFU coaches were also involved with the Academy players, and we all spent Thursday in the company of Tana Umaga, delivering coaching at the Padang to over 300 local players, and coaching with representatives from ARFU, Ponsonby, and Sunnybank from Brisbane.

Friday was the first day of the Singapore 7s and the ARFU Qualifiers, so we enjoyed the rugby and the rest of the weekend.

After a great week of work in Singapore, the incumbent HSBC Penguin academy coaches, Tony “TP” Penn, and Ian “Chook” Fowler, were joined for week two by Flo Rossigneux - the journey north to Malaysia.

The trip, organised in collaboration with COBRA’s rugby development programme through Mr Charlie Wong, took us, over a 4-day period, to the north east of Malaysia; the town of Kota Bharu and its surrounding neighbourhoods.

The introduction, the local life, the environment, and the smooth running of our daily programme, was tribute to the efficiency and friendliness of local Malaysian rugby coaches, Che Ahmad Zaini Bin Hussin, Ahmad Nasri Bin Salleh, and Muszalizi Bin Mustafa.

During our stay, this international coaching team (France, New Zealand, Australia, and Malaysia) worked with over 250 pupils and their coaches from 5 different schools. The session commenced with the key principles of the game of rugby, and then progressed to more advance themes, with a focus on the following 4 core skills:

  1. Passing
  2. Tackling
  3. Rucking
  4. Game sense play (2v1)

The session plans incorporated warm up, and passing skills delivered through fun games and drills. Tackling was introduced through drills and tackling practise games, leading progressively to ruck organisation with up to 2 supporting players. For the more advance groups, the “2v1” activity was utilised, and to finish the sessions conditioned games (either touch rugby or full on contact depending on the level of capability of players involved) were used to put into practise the elements worked on earlier through game conditioning.

Rugby is included as part of the physical education curriculum in most of the schools in the area visited, and is highly regarded by the local teaching professionals as a great pedagogic tool to drive the mental, physical, and social development of the young Malaysians.

The HSBC Penguin Academy's visit, in conjunction with our partners COBRA, also embraced a wider element. The aim is keep the youngsters in the game when they leave school. The 3 coaches (or 3 wise men as Charlie Wong likes to call them) confirmed that this type of promotional exercise does help with interest in the game, and retention of players. This is important as the next generation of national Malaysian players are in schools currently.

The HSBC Penguin Academy coaches moved back to Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, looking forward to Friday's 2 local sessions planned there Friday.

The first session was with a regional school attending the COBRA schools coaching initiative. This involved 40 U14 young men, with the coaching team concentrating on team work, continuity, and support. This proved a key session as the team evidenced their learning, with great effect, in their next match. The reports confirm the U14 players had an impressive win as they were always on hand to talk the next pass in a great display of keeping the ball alive (i.e. continuity and support).

The afternoon and last session of the tour was a special treat. The HSBC Penguin Academy coaches ran the last session for an eclectic group of 20 orphans from the Agathians Shelter, which is supported by HSBC locally. The team planned and delivered a session of fun games, basic rugby skills, including running, passing, and the use of space. At the close of the session, the group was split into two teams and played a conditioned game of touch rugby, with the losers having to do the chicken dance again!

This was another great opportunity for the Penguin International Coaching Academy coaches, in partnership with the Asian Football Union, to participate actively in growing the game of rugby in South East Asia.

Maktab Sultan Ismail Kota Bharu 50 participants
SM Sains Tengku Faris Petra Peng 50 participants
SMK Sultan Yahya Petra Kuala Krai 50 participants
SM Sains Machang Petang 50 participants
SMK Sultan Ibrahim Pasir Mas 50 participants
Kuala Lumpur Regional School COBRA fields, Selangor 40 participants
Agathians Shelter COBRA fields, Selangor 20 participants

Thanks to Chook for the Singapore story, and Flo for the write up from Malaysia.

Fun for all!
High 5s for Chook
TP gets a high intensity passing game going
Chook discussing the finer points with the UWCSEA coach
McKitty getting his point across with the UWCSEA U16s
The UWC coaches and players with the HSBC Penguin coaches
From left: Douglas, Chook, TP, and McKitty taking in the sights of Singapore after dark
The Coaching Team: TP, Che, Flo, Nasri and Chook
Tony and Ian working the pupils from Maktab Sultan Ismail School
SM Sains Machang School
This is Malaysia!
3 photos above: Tony Penn is observing first then demonstrating good technics, while Ian Fowler is organising some very focused schoolboys from SMK Sultan Ibarahim
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