HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby Program
As part of the build-up for the past Volcanoes vs Hong Kong game, the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) sent two coaches, Deano Herewini and Ismail Kadir to the Philippines. The two coaches arrived to run an HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby program as a joint effort by the ARFU and the PRFU.
HSBC Asian Grassroots Tour – Day 1
The program began on a very hot Wednesday morning, May 1st, at the QC Circle. Despite the scorching sun, coaches Deano Herewini and Ismail Kadir tackled training 40 boys and girls from House of Refuge. This orphanage is one of the many orphanages that PRFU supports. Boys and girls ranging from ages four to 16 participated in the program. It was the task of the assisting coaches Acee San Juan, Kaye Llanie Honoras, and Juan Engelbrecht to sort the participants into groups to receive their free T-shirts before training.
Training kicked off with some handling skill drills and progressed with added running lines and rucking techniques. Even though the coaches were faced with a big language barrier, the kids understood the language of rugby and grasped the fine concepts fairly quickly. The kids enjoyed each drill oblivious to the heat of the summer sun. At the end of the day, the coaches completed training with a game of modified touch involving all the participants in an exciting, fun game. Afterwards, everyone finished the day with some merienda and pictures with the coaches, who they so very much appreciated for coaching them.
HSBC Asian Grassroots Tour – Day 2
The following day, the HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby program kicked off bright and early at the Bulacan Sports Complex. Forty kids from Bulacan Rugby Club, with an age range of five to 18 years old, gathered at the complex, eager to learn new rugby skills under the guidance of coaches Izzy and Deano. The kids were divided into 2 age groups: Under 10s with coach Izzy and those aged 11 and above with Coach Deano. The session began with a warm up game involving quick running, alertness, communication, and training to move as a team.
At training, the younger group was taught ball familiarization, running with the ball, evasion, as well as the basics of catch and pass. Meanwhile, the older children began with basic catch and pass skills, and quickly progressed to more advanced rugby moves like switches, wraps, scrum half passes, and reloads. The session, which lasted for an hour and a half, ended with a modified rugby game for both groups. Despite the hot weather condition, all the kids had fun and were eager to learn more of the sport they had just picked up a few months ago.
Later in the day, the Grassroots group travelled up north to head for City of Angeles in Pampanga with Clark Freeport Zone (Clark Jets Rugby Club) as the point of destination. The Clark session was scheduled at 4 pm at the Grand Parade grounds of the Freeport Zone. As they arrived, a total of 240 enthusiastic kids, with an age range of 4 to 20 years old, were waiting patiently for the coaches. Due to the larger number of participants, the ARFU coaches were assisted by local and regional coaches of PRFU.
Local coaches Juan, Acee, Aye, Lito, and Joemari helped out Izzy and Deano in coaching the different age groups. The kids were divided into 7 groups: girls U10s, girls 11 up, boys 8-10, boys 11-13, boys 14-16, boys 17-18, and boys 19 up. All the participants were taught the basic skills needed in rugby like passing, catching, and running with the ball. At the end of the session, a modified game of rugby was played by all the groups. What made the session even more special was the participation of the kids from a correctional institute based in the province, as well as a large group of Aeta kids who had come to join the session. The day was a huge success because of the large turnout of participants, as well as the great sessions. It can truly be said that the future of rugby in our country is bright.
HSBC Asian Grassroots Tour – Day 3
On Friday, May 3, the third leg of the tour took the group to Ayala Alabang Village Cuenca Field, where several Tuloy sa Don Bosco Foundation boys and Eagles Juniors boys were waiting for the coaching team. Everyone was once again ready and excited to start one of coach Deano’s fun coaching sessions when the heavens suddenly decided to open up on and shower the city with wind, rain and lightning. With quick thinking, the session was moved into the roof covered basketball court and the session continued as the elements were drowning everyone’s ears.
Nevertheless, nothing stopped the kids, the PRFU staff, and coach Deano from accomplishing what was nothing less than an inspiring coaching session which everyone enjoyed. Every person was keen to learn from the international coach and easily absorbed the new patterns being taught to them. The boys were very agile and receptive and before we knew it, the session and thunderstorm was over. Everyone had a great time and had huge smiles on their face as they thanked us before leaving the drenched Cuenca field.
HSBC Asian Grassroots Tour – Day 4
Finally on May 4th, the big day, just hours before the main game kick off, HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby together with the PRFU ran a grassroots rugby clinic at Rizal Memorial Stadium with an attendance of 500 kids from all over the Philippines. Youth from different clubs, schools and children’s homes, all came together for this joyous moment. The HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby clinic played host to more than 300 orphaned kids from different foundations.
Coach Deano and Ismial from ARFU and 8 more coaches from the PRFU took on this daunting task of coaching 500 kids in one venue. Although one might think this was impossible, the impossible was accomplished. With 10 stations and 50 kids at each station, all the boys and girls took part in a tough coaching session from all the coaches. After the basics of touch skills were practiced well, the teams came together for some touch rugby competition. With the coaches refereeing the games and the kids testing their skills to the limits, both coach and youth alike ended the day exhausted but happy. After the big session, everyone transferred to the swimming pool for a cool down. The pool session was the icing on the cake and was fully enjoyed by the kids, much to the life guard’s horror. After a great cool down, everybody was greeted with a meal from McDonald's. With tummies full and happy faces, each and every one was ready to hit the stands and cheer on their team, the Volcanoes.
The PRFU would like to thank our sponsors HSBC and Gerry’s Grill for making this event possible. It is thanks to our sponsors that we were able to get 500 kids to Rizal Memorial Stadium and feed them after a tough day at the office. We thank you HSBC and Gerry’s Grill.
All videos courtesy of HSBC Asian Grassroots Rugby
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