World Rugby Courses a Success

By | Tue 19 Oct 2021

Level 1 Strength & Conditioning

The Chiang Mai Cobras Rugby Club hosted a WORLD RUGBY level one strength and conditioning course on Saturday the 16th of October at the excellent Chiang Mai CrossFit CFCNX gym facility. In conjunction with WORLD RUGBY and the Thai Rugby Union, World Rugby’s educators flew into the North, to conduct the courses, which were booked out over both days.

Everybody involved in organising and playing Rugby has a duty of care in relation to the players. The Strength and conditioning course, part of WORLD RUGBY’s Rugby Ready programme, is intended to raise awareness of good practice and help stakeholders, manage the inherent risks of a contact sport, by putting appropriate safeguards in place.

Mike McFarlane, the lead educator, was supported by Thai Rugby Union educators, Weerachai Pongprasertin “Ho”, Nattapong Wangcharoensap “KK” & Attapol Suta “Ta”.  There was a diverse cross section of participants with the Bangkok Bangers, Bangkok Bangers Belles, Cantabury Thailand, Heathfield international Bangkok, Lanna Rugby Club, Maejo Rugby, Pattaya Panthers, Payap Rugby Club, Prince Royal College and the Cobras Rugby Club themselves all being represented.

The course is designed to provide coaches with a basic knowledge, understanding and provide a foundation of practical skills with regards to conditioning practices, for the adult rugby player. The participants spent time in the classroom learning standards, proceedures and how to plan sessions before hitting the gym, to discover some basic functional screening techneques and familiarise themselves with the various equipment stations. After lunch the budding coaches were back in the classroom for more theory, before each group was instucted to design an 8 station cricuit, specific to the needs of rugby players. They then had to take that plan and coach the other groups through the process in the gym. Each group came up with some innovative ideas that put the participants through blood, sweat, tears and laughter. It was a fantastic, fun session, that kept everyone engaged, challeged their physical and mental capacities, and forged new friendships.

Level 1 Coaching

The picturesque Chiang Mai Gymkhana Club was the setting for the World Rugby level 1 coaching course. Its been awhile since rugby has featured at the 130 year old establishment and its perhaps fitting that the members bar was turned into a classroom for the duration with rugby education at its core.

The schedule was pretty much the same as day 1 with everyone divided into groups and being taught the principles of coaching before being given theoretical assignments. Paul Drew, the chairman of the Gymkhana Club came in to welcome the participants and mention it was about time that rugby was reintroduced to the club.

After a couple of hours it was time for some practical application and its was off to the the cricket oval to get stuck in. Two teams were formed and Mike introduced different variations on touch rugby, that could be performed at senior & junior levels, to increase the interest and fun, but also increase stamina and develop the technical aspects required during a game.

After lunch things took an interesting turn as each group was divided into pairs with each pair given a specific rugby related task (Tackle, Ruck, Lineout, Scrum& Maul) and had to plan a session, consisting of 3 exercises, to be coached to the rest of the group over 15 minutes. The question was how much pain could you put your colleagues through in 15 minutes! Again it was a fun filled experiance with an educator review after each mini session, breaking down the good, the bad & the ugly of the session and the coaching pairs’ performance.

Once again it was back to the classroom for a debrief on the day and thanks given all round to the participants and World Rugby educators. Kiattichai Noptakul from the TRU Northen sub division was on hand to present rugby balls to Cobras and Lanna rugby clubs as a show of appreciation.

The whole weekend was well organised with quality educators who kept everyone engaged in an enjoyable enviroment. Level 2 courses are being planned for January to keep the momentum of providing top level coaching courses to help revive and grow Northern Rugby.

Lead educator Mike McFarlane said “It was a pleasure to spend two days with like minded people who wanted to develop themselves in different aspects of rugby, in order to grow the game, and the players within it.” Mike continued “It’s exciting times, and with further successful collaboration, the sky is the limit for Thai Rugby’s training and education programme.” He finished by saying “Thank you to all attending coaches, educators, host venues and organisers who made this a special weekend.”

Cobras Rugby’s Dave McRitchie and the inspiration behind the initiative said “This past weekend’s two level 1 courses were the result of a lot of preparation by many members of the Cobras.””We enjoyed a great weekend full of applicable lessons that we can utilise in our own training. The diverse backgrounds of the attendees added to the information exchanged. We had representatives from Thailand, UK, USA, Wales, New Zealand, and South Africa who all brought unique perspectives to the courses. Overall, it was a great experience and we hope to continue to develop coaches and rugby in Northern Thailand.”