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HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy to India
August/September 2017


By Lead Coach Dave Cockburn

In August /September 2017 the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy travelled to Hyderabad and Kurnool in India, to support the India Rugby Union in introducing the game to all areas of the country. The initiative is called “Get Into Rugby” and focused on introducing the concept of what rugby is and the basic principles of the game. The main themes being delivered were:

 ·      What is a try?

·       How to score a try with the ball

·       How to pass the ball

·       How to catch the ball

·       How to pick and go

·       How to support the player with the ball

How the coaches from the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy delivered these principles was going to be a challenge as we knew that the average number of children involved, per session, would be more than 500.

The coaching team of Ian Fowler (Australia), Dave Cockburn (Scotland), Alun Harries (Wales) and James Farndon (England) started to assemble on 24th of August. Ian was in first with Dave and Alun next and James arriving on the 26th. As well as the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy coaches we had Rajeev Nath (Rugby Development Manager: Rugby India) and Ven Katesan (Rugby Development Officer) join us. Ven quickly became “Vinky”. Both Rajeev and Vinky were invaluable to the success of this trip.

 Upon arrival, there was no hanging about as Vinky, Rajeev and Dave met for breakfast to discuss the first session. The plan of action was still not clear on how to deliver the session because it was unknown what kind of space we were working in, what the actual numbers were, what the gender of the children would be and the general age range.

With breakfast over, the first stop was the Sankale International School.  A nice surprise was finding out we had 16 volunteer coaches already at the school to set up cones and lay out the balls. These volunteers were with us for our full stay in Hyderabad.

The journey was an eye opener and sometimes an eye shutter due to the erratic driving. We did not realize that the sounding of a horn could have so many meanings. Not only this, there were random cows, pigs and, let’s not to forget, human beings trying to get across the road.

When we reached our destination we were greeted by 525 children sitting in an orderly fashion waiting in anticipation for us to arrive. There was a table set with flowers, to be presented to us, and seats for us to wait for the introductions from the school Principal. We were served with tea or Chai, which was deadly sweet and strong. What impressed us was the order and discipline of the students. When we had a chance to speak to them and ask questions they were very responsive and never stopped smiling. The area in which we had to work was very limited, which was not the case in a lot of the other schools.

Rajeev controlled the session and this was the formula from which we worked for the rest of the tour. The volunteers controlled the groups of students, Rajeev explained what had to happen, and we as coaches demonstrated the particular skill required. Along with Vinky, we then facilitated the practices by going around the groups helping, encouraging, demonstrating and smiling. Once the practices started we knew the students were having fun and were engaged with what they were doing. There was noise, laughter, competition and a lot of skill considering the limited space available to the kids. The volunteers did a great job in keeping some semblance of shape to the groups and Rajeev controlled the stopping and starting of the practices with great skill. Once completed the Principal got the students back into fantastic order and we went through the process of getting our group photo taken. We then discovered the “Selfie”!!  Random adults who had nothing to do with the practice would come up to and ask for a “Selfie”. The kids main questions were: “What is your name?”, “Where do you come from?” and “Can I shake your hand?” Oh and let’s not forget “Can I have a Selfie?” If given half a chance they would swamp us just trying to shake our hands. This was the pattern that we followed for the whole tour with varying numbers of students and pitch sizes.

On 29th August we packed up and were on the road to Kurnool. This was a 300K-road trip and gave us a good opportunity to take in India. On arrival we were shocked to be taken directly into a full blown press conference with fifty journalists and three camera crews reporting. We were grilled for about half an hour then someone said lunch was available and the room emptied leaving Immanuel Taylor (Ian Fowler), Mr. James ( James Farndon), Allen Harpis (Alun Harries) and David Cook Burn (Dave Cockburn) all by themselves. However it was good publicity for Rugby India and the HSBC Penguin Rugby Academy.

After this was completed we met with Noel Mathew Sam, who is the Rugby Development Manager for Rugby India (Central Region). He joined the team and supplied a fresh group of volunteers to help with our practices. Once again the volunteers were pretty inexperienced, however, by the Saturday they were very good at what they were doing.

It is impossible to record all of the brilliant things that happened during this tour of Central India. Having given ourselves a week to reflect we have come up with our top ten in no particular order:

 

·       Working with the orphans from Sankale International School and Don Boscoe Orphanage.

·       The traditional Indian dance presentation at New Vignan School.

·       Eating street food with no repercussions. Fantastic food.

·       Mr James and his tag game at Hyderabad Public School. The faces of the girls who were playing the game just glowed with sheer enjoyment.

·       The songs that were sung to us at the session at Hyderabad Public School.

·       The press conference. It can only be described as surreal.

·       Kurnool stadium. 700 kids in a dustbowl. No complaints.  No bad behavior.

·       Walking into the Montessori Indus School at 6.00am with a guard of honour clapping us into the stadium filled with 1,200 students who were cheering and waving at us.

·       Dancing to Gangnam Style on the stage at the end of the very last session in India. Then watching about 1,000 kids doing the same dance out on the field.

·       All the speeches, presentations and Mr. Raman-Janeyulu who made us laugh.


We would like to thank Nasser Hussian (General Manager: Rugby India) and HSBC for giving us an opportunity of a lifetime.

The following table indicates the schools attended and the numbers of students catered for.

 


Day and Date

School Names

Age Range

Female

Male

Total

Friday 25/08/17

Morning (DC/IF)

 

Friday 25/08/17

Afternoon (DC/IF)

 

Sankale International

School

 

Don Boscoe Catholic Orphanage

10 - 15 years old

 

 

10 - 15 years old

   225

  

 

   0

 300

 

 

70

525

  

 

70

Saturday 26/08/17

Morning and Afternoon

(DC and IF)

 

 

 

Saturday 26/08/17

Morning (AH and JF)

 

Saturday 26/08/17

Afternoon (AH and JF)

 

SLNS Junior College

SVN High School

Vignan School

Government Junior College

Government High School

 

Delhi Private School

 

 

Christ School

8 – 17 years old

 

 

 

 

 

8 – 16 years old

 

 

8 – 16 years old

Morning

300

Afternoon

300

 

 

Morning

125

 

Afternoon

125

Morning

200

Afternoon

200

 

 

Morning

125

 

Afternoon

125

 

 

 

 

1,000

 

 

 

 

 

500

Sunday 27/08/17

Morning into Afternoon (All)

 

TSWR  Junior Girls School

7 – 17 years old

600

0

600

Monday 28/08/17

Morning (All)

 

Afternoon (All)

 

New Vignan School

 

 

Hyderabad Public School

6- 14 years old

 

 

8 – 16 years old

240

 

 

240

360

 

 

560

600

 

 

800

Tuesday 29/08/17

Afternoon (All)

 

Ridge International School

Kurnool

8 – 16 years old

280

420

700

Wednesday 30/08/17

Morning (All)

 

Afternoon (All)

CRR Residential School

 

 

Ardasa Vidya Manor Elementary School

 

8 – 16 years old

 

 

6 – 12 years old

210

 

 

150

700

 

 

150

910

 

 

300

Thursday  31/08/17

 

 

 

Morning Session 1 (All)

 

Morning Session 2 (All)

 

Afternoon (All)

 

District Sports Authority

Outdoor Stadium Kurnool

 

 

 

 

 

 

SDR World School

Students  were from a variety of schools and were between 7  & 17

 

 

 

 

 

8 – 16 years old

 

 

 

 

160

 

100

 

350

 

 

 

 

300

 

220

 

200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,330

Friday 01/09/17

 

Morning session 1 (All)

Morning session 2 (All)

Afternoon session 1 (All)

Afternoon session 2 (All)

 

Montessori Indus School

 

 

 

 

 

 

Varying age groups

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

300

300

250

250

 

 

 

300

300

250

250

 

 

 

600

600

500

500

 

Saturday 02/09/17

 

Morning Session 1 (All)

Morning Session 2 (All)

Afternoon Session 1 (All)

Afternoon session 2 (All)

Montessori Indus School

Varying age groups

 

 

0

0

500

500

 

 

500

500

0

0

 

 

500

500

500

500

 

 

Totals

 

5,505

 

 

6,030

 

 

11,535

 

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