North Nova coaches looking for players willing to learn
NEW GLASGOW – With a large number of players returning to the North Nova boys rugby team, at least trying out, the coaches are looking at others who can fill holes vacated by graduated players.
© CHRISTOPHER CAMERON - THE NEWS
Players take part in the NNEC boys rugby tryouts at the Sobeys Sports Complex last week. The tryouts run for three weeks before the team is selected.
Head coach Joe MacDonald said they are also looking at individual players’ fitness and natural talent. If all players return they will only lose six players from last year’s team, so it will be far from a rebuilding year.
They try to make it so there are no rebuilding years with their program by introducing Grade 10s to the sport, although if there is a large graduating group of players that can be tough sometimes.
“(During the tryouts) we’re also looking at the youth from the Grade 10s and the young guys to get them into the game,” said MacDonald. “Teaching it to these guys breathes life into the program and helps us have a competitive team each year.”
This week is the second week of tryouts, with the team expected to be picked sometime next week. MacDonald said they will be looking to see what players are willing to learn, their attitude and how they handle themselves as the game is foreign to most.
“If they come here willing to listen and learn, we can teach the rest,” he said. “We want them to enjoy themselves and have fun when they are here, but also be ready to learn and work hard.”
This year, similar to the girls team, they are hopefully going to be hosting provincials as the Highland Region is playing host. With that in mind their long-term goal is to be competitive, while their short-term goal is to get the team selected and come together as a group.
“We’re going to have a lot of time together over the next two months, so we want to find the best group of guys for our team,” said MacDonald. “We want to progress throughout the year and make sure that we have our best efforts at the end of the year.”
Although winning is important, he added that their goal is to grow the sport at the high school level. With the Pictou County Rugby Club adding a Division 3 team last year it opens the opportunity for some more high school players to play in the summer.
“We want to get them into the sport and set them up for opportunities after high school at the club or university level,” said MacDonald. “There are lots of opportunities now with our Division 3 team and we want to feed into that. That will also help some guys have the opportunity to play at the university level. We’ve had many grads go on to play three or four years with a university program and want to continue developing players like that.”
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