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HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy

Kolkata, India

15 to 28 November 2018

Following the previous trips to India starting in 2014, the HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy headed to Kolkata for another visit and fantastic experience.  This trip was organized between the HSBC, the HSBC Penguin Rugby Academy and an organization called FUTURE HOPE whose mission statement is, “Giving Today’s Street and Slum Children a Better Tomorrow”  - www.futurehope.net

Future Hope was founded by Tim Grandage, who recognised the plight of children suffering from the effects of loosing their parents, rejection and abuse. Why did Future Hope want to be involved with rugby? The following quote from the Future Hope 30th Anniversary Newsletter should explain this.


“How Sport At Future Hope Changed My Life”

“I came to Future Hope at 7 years old. My family lived in a slum, my father was unemployed and his family had discarded him. My mother was ill and couldn’t work, so her brother looked after us.

 When I joined the boy’s home at Future Hope in class two I developed a complete love for sport. I loved all sports and was good at most of them but I began to focus on rugby. I played for the Indian nationals U-13 and captained the U-19 Indian team. In 2013, I was selected as a fly half for the Indian Asian Five Nations in Taiwan. It was a proud moment for me to represent my country. From Future Hope, I went to study Business and Sports Management.”  Suraj.

The HSBC Penguin Coaching Academy tema consisted of experienced coaches and coach educators were, Gary Townsend (GT), Keith Green (Greenie), both from England, Pete Gallagher (Pete) and Dave Cockburn (Cobie), both from Scotland. Sourojit Ghosh from Rugby India, along with Mintu Mondel, who drove us all over the City and was one of the first children to be taken into care by Tim, provided invaluable help.


The following is a summary of what we did during our stay in Kolkata. The programme was put together by Sujata Sen (CEO of FUTURE HOPE) and a summary of our activities can be seen at the end of this report.

Friday, 16 November.

Today the main focus was on organisation. Checking into the hotel. Meeting with Sujata and getting familiar with the programme. Meeting with all the coaches, to get a flavour of what they wanted from our coaching.

Saturday, 17 November.

Coach Education day commencing with a cup of Chi. GT, Greenie and Pete delivered the World Rugby Level One coaching course. Sourojit and Cobie delivered the World Rugby: Rugby Ready course. Great day! High Energy learning with a lot of smiling and some great examples of coaching from the participants. In the evening we ate with the young children from Future Hope, which was a very humbling experience.

Sunday, 18 November.

In the morning we went to the Jungle Crows Rugby Club, which was founded by Paul Walsh and Administered by Harinder Singh, who was nominated for World Rugby’s “Spirit of Rugby” award. GT and Greenie took the girls; Pete worked with the beginner boys and Cobie worked with the Jungle Crows coach Akash Balmiki. We all approached the coaching sessions by playing games, which was the common theme used throughout the whole trip. These games were all conditioned touch games, to develop learning. The consensus of opinion was that there was a lot of talent amongst these youngsters who were hungry to learn.

In the afternoon we had our first experience of  “The Maidan”, which is a field about three times bigger than Hyde Park. However Hyde park does not have 100’s of cricket matches, kites, kite runners, horses, goats, dogs, football and of course Rugby all going on at the same time. We also got our first taste of coaching the Future Hope School children. This was a challenge as the field was not in great condition and as described there was many distractions. However, the main thing was the children came away with a smile on their faces.In the evening we ate with the Senior and Middle Girls from Future Hope. Best Chicken Curry Ever!

Monday, 19 November.

The coaching team went to Future Hope School at 8.30am to be met by a full contingent of students ranging from the seniors to Primary 5. With a very limited space to work in Greenie and GT ran an outstanding session with the senior girls, as did Pete with the senior boys. The primary children came in last and took part in a programme developed by Ruby India called “Get into Rugby”. This introduces the basics of rugby e.g. passing, catching, scoring a try, running forward and co-ordination. Cobie organised this part.

We were then shown round the school meeting the teachers and watching the children being taught. Education matters! In the afternoon we went to the Armenian Schools ground, on the edge of The Maidan, which was of a good standard. GT and Greenie took the junior boys and Pete and Cobie took the seniors. Sourojit facilitated both groups. Using games to introduce our coaching points the boys progressed as the session did. They were all very physical boys and the juniors could show some pro players how to tackle!! In the evening we had dinner at the Future Hope junior boys house.

Tuesday, 20 November.

Future Hope school in the morning and worked with Senior Boys and Girls. Both practices were of a high intensity with the students retaining a lot of what had been learned from previous sessions. In the afternoon we went back to the Jungle Crows ground where we had a mixture of Jungle Crows and Future Hope Children. GT took the young boys. Greeenie took the girls. Peter took the boys who were relatively new to rugby and Cobie and Akash took the senior boys.  We approached the session in the same way by using games and introducing certain skills. Previous knowledge had been retained. Once gain a good intense session with a lot of effort, hard work and skill on show.

Wednesday, 21 November

11.00am. We got taken on a whistle stop tour of the city by Tim. The flower market, spice market, churches and the fruit market. Words cannot describe the diversity of this city. Poverty was very obvious but there was also a strength. It was a privilege to see these places.  In the afternoon we went to the Maidan where we had the privilege to coach the Adivasis Rugby Club. Adivasis means tribal people. This club was founded and coached by Sailen Tudu. Greenie and GT took the younger group. Pete and Cobie Split the seniors into three groups. Two groups playing against each other and one working on skills. The groups rotated so that everybody had worked on skills. All groups especially the young ones exhibited good skill and fantastic enthusiasm. A great afternoon’s work. We had our first session with the Kolkata Police at 8.00pm.

After the introductions Greenie took a game of overload touch to assess skills etc. We then split the players into two groups. Pete and Cobie taking one of the groups and GT and Greeenie the other. We worked on defense, attack and contact/presentation skills through different games of touch. The session was well received both by their players but also by their coach (Bihash Tamnang), their captain (Anupam Bhengra) and their administrator (Amitava Rakshit). In the evening we ate with Future Hope Senior Boys. Once again a brilliant vegetarian curry. Cobie did some Biology revision with one of the students!

Thursday, 22 November.

Another early start to be at Future Hope School to take part in their morning assembly. Some great singing by the children and staff as well as Penguin Pete. We then left the school to go back to the Kolkata Police. We continued from where we left off going over the practices we did with them on day one, then we split into forwards and backs where Greenie and Cobie worked on scrum and line-out and GT and Pete worked on defense and attack shape. The session culminated in playing scrag touch from scrums and lineouts.

Later on in the afternoon we had a joint session with Jungle Crows and future Hope. GT and Greenie working with the girls and Pete and Cobie working with the boys. Pete worked with the junior boys and Cobie worked with the senior boys. In the evening we were at the Kolkata Cricket club to coach senior women and men. The day culminated in us being taken on a night time boat trip on The Ganges by the Kolkata Police.

Friday, 23 November.

Up and at ‘em at 6.30am to get to the Police training ground for 8.00am. On arrival the police had been warming up for thirty minutes. We virtually did the same session as we did on Thursday 22nd. All three sessions were well received by the coaches and the players and especially by their administrator Amitava Rakshit. A quick turn around back to the hotel and Mintu picked us up to go to Guru Nanak’s festival site. Once again a great eye opener into Indian Culture. It was hard to credit that this Sikh festival provides free food for 2,000,000 people. It was even harder to credit the interest shown towards four ‘Brits’ wearing knotted hankies on their heads, whilst trying to sit cross-legged on the floor.

In the evening we coached the Kolkata Cricket club again and had our dinner at their club. GT and Greenie coached the women who demonstrated amazing energy and enthusiasm. Cobie coached the male forwards lineout and Pete coached defense.  We also got the chance to see the original Calcutta Cup!

Saturday, 24 November.

We were free for most of this day. Pete and Cobie walked through the Maidan to visit the Queen Victoria Memorial Museum and Greenie and GT went to the Future Hope School. In the evening we had dinner with Sujata.

Sunday, 25 November.

In the morning we worked with Jungle Crows again. In the afternoon we worked with the Armenian boys. As usual a lot of skill and enthusiasm was on display.

Monday, 26 November.

Pete and Cobie went home. GT and Greenie worked at Future Hope and departed on 27th November.

The consensus from the HSBC Penguin Coaches was that they were struck by the diversity of the challenge, with the Kolkata Police and the Kolkata Cricket club at one end of the rugby spectrum with their facilities and prior rugby knowledge in comparison to the hordes of Future Hope Children on a tiny concrete playing area at the other end of the spectrum. We were aware of the influence of Rugby India by having excellent assistance from Sourojit Ghosh and the very efficient coaches from The Jungle Crows, Adivesis and the Armenian school. The common thread was the creativity and resilience of all the participants, from the very young to the more battle hardened Police. There was always a willingness to learn and try out new skills with a smile on their face and 100% commitment.

In conclusion, Kolkata as a city and the culture associated with it, has left a lasting impression. Future Hope and its work with underprivileged children was humbling and the friendship shown by the Jungle Crows, Adivesis, The Armenians, Kolkata Police, Kolkata Cricket Club and people in general was overwhelming. Finally as a group of coaches, we all agreed, it was refreshing to watch other coaches as you always learn!


Day and Date

Coaching Schedule




Friday 16/11/18. Arrival

Meeting with rugby clubs at Future Hope to discuss the programme and finalise schedule.

Future Hope




Rugby India


Sanjay Patra

Mintu Mondel


Sourojit Ghosh




Saturday 17/11/18.


8.30am– 5.30am


Delivery of World Rugby Level 1 for coaches in the Kolkata area.


Delivery of Rugby Ready and Get Into Rugby. For teachers in schools in the Kolkata area.

This was carried out in Future Hope School




Sunday 18/11/18







Jungle crows Rugby Club


Future Hope Under 11’s, 13’s and 15’s on The Maidan



Junglecrows Ground.


Future Hope



Akash Blamiki

Harinder Singh


Paul Walsh


Monday 19/11/18






Future Hope. Full age range


Armenian students


Future Hope


Armenian College and Philanthropic Academy




Armen Markerian


Tuesday 20/11/18






Future Hope. Senior boys and Girls.


Jungle crows and Future Hope


Future Hope



Jungle crows Ground



Wednesday 21/11/18

Morning: 8 am–11 am



Afternoon: Early


Afternoon 3.00 pm


Kolkata Police



Whistle stop tour of Kolkata


Adivesis Rugby Club


Kolkata Police Grounds






Bihash Tamany

Anupam Bhengra



Sailen Tudu







Sailen Tudu

Thursday  22/11/18

8am – 8.30am

9am – 10.30am

2pm – 4.30pm


7.30pm – 8.30pm




Assembly at Future Hope

Kolkata Police

Jungle crows and Future Hope

Kolkata Cricket club seniors

Night time trip on The Ghangis.


Future Hope School

Police Ground

Jungle crows Ground


Kolkata Cricket Club

The Ghangis











Friday 23/11/18

8am – 10.30am





Kolkata Police

Guru Nanak

Kolkata Cricket club senior



Kolkata Police

Festival Site

Kolkata Cricket Club











Sunday 25/11/18 AM



Monday 26/11/18 AM





Armenian Students


Future Hope

Jungle crows Juniors



Jungle crows Ground

Armenian College


Future Hope

Jungle crows Ground











Jack Speak
Community Group
Jack Speak
Community Group