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The HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy continued their long standing relationship with the COBRA Club in Kuala Lumpur and made the journey back to KL again, to support the COBRA schools development program. Six Penguin coaches made the trip and teamed up with the local COBRA coaches to visit 22 schools plus help with some coaching tips at the first ever Women’s COBRA tens, during the 8 day visit . 

The Penguin coaches: 

  • Su Olovsson – former Swedish International player and long term Penguin medic and coach. Famed for her delivery style keeping all children engaged. 

  • Sandra Soler-Gomez – former English International and near full time grass roots and development coach in England. Never a dull moment when Sandra has the whistle. 

  • Andrew Chambers – well establish coach in Hong Kong coaching at a number of levels and brings great skill in delivery and technical accuracy. 

  • Ian Fowler – Full time rugby coach based in Perth who is the Director of Rugby at the Cottesloe Club and runs programs in a number of schools. Huge knowledge on the game. 

  • Graeme Inglis – on his first visit to Malaysia and has delivered grass roots coaching in a number of locations previous and was at home delivering in Malaysia. 

  • Craig Brown – experienced grass roots and development coach who has cached in Malaysia a number of times. Key man for the fun games to start and end sessions. 


The six coaches were split as required to cover all the school visits as set out in the table below. Overall the HSBC Penguins coached over 1000 school children in the week, plus worked with the local school coaches to help develop their skills. The coaches exchanged information on skills and drills, motivation, games sense and some technical aspects. 

Although each session was different depending on the experience off the children, a similar model was used for each. Rugby experience ranged from beginners to 5 years plus so the coaches adapted the sessions to suit the experience level of the players. 

Su and Sandra has a great time working with the girls teams and the local schools confirmed having women coaches was a help in developing the game. 

All visits included a meeting with the senior and sports teachers at the relevant schools, who confirmed the value of the visits. In particular they confirmed they liked the values of rugby, the enthusiasm the children showed when they know the HSBC Penguins and COBRA were going to visit and the way the children took to rugby as a new sport. 

The week the HSBC Penguin coaches were in town was also the 50th Anniversary of the COBRA Club. The HSBC Penguin Coaches were involved in some of the celebrations. Craig Brown was the captain of the World XV that played the COBRA team in a Vets match on Friday afternoon. Su, Ian, Andrew and Craig all took to the field and the World XV ran out the winners after a slow start. Su was named player of the match with a great display from the front row and Andrew, Ian and Craig all got on the score board. 

Thanks to all at COBRA, especially TJ, for their support and welcome.

Grove Tsumani Synapse