Australasian Rugby Association Visits The Philippines

Australasian Rugby Association

ARA General Manager Expo Mejia,
Chris O’ Young, and Rod Davies with the PRFU Consultant Matt Cullen

The Australasian Rugby Association is a newly formed company based in Australia that offers Rugby Union development courses to Asian Countries. The company manager is Expo Mejia, who is the current coach at Penrith Rugby Club in Sydney and has previously worked with NSW Waratahs Super 14’s squads. The company also employs two current Super 14’s players who both have Asian heritages.

Australasian Rugby Association

Expo Mejia of the ARA running a coaching clinic at the British

Rod Davies who is currently contracted to the Queensland Reds and has Filipino-Australian parents, and Chris O’ Young who plays for the Western Force and has Chinese- Australian parents, took time out of their busy training schedules to visit the Philippines and run an intensive week of Rugby Union development programs.

Australasian Rugby Association

Expo Mejia observes line-out technique at BSM

The week began at the British School Manila with the ARA team coaching the newly formed British School Rugby Team. Thirty high school and middle school students attended the clinic and the three ARA coaches presented various aspects of Rugby Union that included Attack, Defense, Rucking, Mauling and Team Play.

The British School students appreciated the expert advice they received from the ARA coaches. This year, the British School Manila will form their first tackle Rugby Union team to play in the MANSAC International Schools League in November.

The ARA then spent Tuesday evening at Murphy’s Bar Makati where they were able to meet with several of the PRFU board members. The recent success of the PRFU can be attributed to the professional and businesslike manner in which the PRFU board operates. The current PRFU board includes Admiral Santos, Alvin San Diego, Peter Lawrence, Rick Hartley, Leslie Stokes, Damien Allison, Romain Barberis, John Cuthbertson and Tony Butler. Expo Mejia spoke with the board members and explained that professional Rugby Union Clubs require a high level of board interaction and that the Rugby Boards that involve successful businessmen usually run efficient success oriented Rugby organizations.

Australasian Rugby Association

PRFU Coaches display a defensive pattern against an imposing ARA Super 14’s attacking back line

The ARA specialize in providing coaching and development clinics at the elite level and it was extremely positive to have 20 Rugby Union coaches attend the Elite Coaching on Wednesday, October 7. Expo Mejia led the coaches through an intensive course and the coaches were able to participate in both practical and theoretical sessions throughout the afternoon.

Australasian Rugby Association

THE Australasian Rugby Association with the
Philippine Coaches at the Elite Training Course

The coaches varied in age and experience from National Team Coaches Matt Cullen and Rick Hartley to school coaches from Brent and ISM and the British School to new player coaches from the PNPA. With the three Australian Coaches, the ARA were able to cater to all coaching and experience levels and each ARA coach took a specific session that concentrated on different aspects of coaching Rugby Union at the Super 14’s level. The ARA team were surprised with the high turnout and explained that it was great to work with so many enthusiastic coaches here in the Philippines.

Australasian Rugby Association

ARA Coaches with the children of Bahay Bata Foundation

Thursday morning had arrived and It was time to head out of Manila and the ARA trio hit the Northern Expressway with PRFU THE Australasian Rugby Association with the Philippine Coaches at the Elite Training Course ARA Coaches with the children of Bahay Bata Foundation consultant and National Coach Matt Cullen to run a coaching session with the Bahay Bata orphans.

The Super 14s players could not believe the skills and enthusiasm displayed by the Bahay Bata boys and agreed that there were some future Filipino stars within the ranks of the boys, whose ages range from 6 years to 17 years. The Bahay Bata teams have dominated the Active Fun Junior’s tournaments and the ARA coaches introduced tackle rugby in their 2 hour session.

Australasian Rugby Association

Bahay Bata boys learning tackle techniques

Moreover, the Bahay Bata foundation will enter tackle teams to play against ISM and the British School in November this year. The ARA coaches were delighted to have an opportunity to work with underprivileged youth and to teach these youngsters that sport and in particular Rugby Union can make a difference in their lives, through developing fitness, skills, sportsmanship, team work and discipline.

Friday saw the ARA development program move further north to Bataan with National 7’s Coach Rick Hartley. They attended the Maritime Academy Asia Pacific to run coaching sessions for the MAAP Warriors before they hosted their own Subic 7’s Tournament. The ARA Coaches worked with men’s and ladies teams at MAAP and the warriors were keen to show the Australian Coaches that they would be ready to compete in their home tournament.

Australasian Rugby Association

MAAP Ladies Team learning how to tackle with ARA Coach Expo Mejia

To complete a full week of training and development, the ARA Coaches finally attended the MAAP Subic 7’s which were held at the Remy Sports Complex in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. 8 Men’s teams, 4 Ladies touch teams and 2 ladies tackle teams played in sunny conditions all day and the tournament was a huge success. The ARA coaches were impressed with the quality of rugby in both the Men’s and Ladies’ tournaments and assisted with the touch judge duties and advising the players who were up for selection in the Philippine National 7’s team.