September 23 2014 Latest news:
Friday, March 21, 2014
Swaffham coach Francis Donaghy swapped Norfolk for the Caribbean after answering a Twitter-based rugby plea. Here is his second diary entry from his last couple of days teaching the players of St Lucia.
Colvis Samuels, the St Lucia rugby chief, had organised an interview for TV. I say interview, it was a monologue to camera, and it was a hand-held one. I was given 10 minutes to prepare and hope I spoke well for Swaffham and Eastern Counties rugby.
This happened at the cricket ground in Castries, the third-biggest stadium on the island, used principally for cricket, but also athletics. And as for the rugby ground - well that doesn’t exist. They have very little in terms of equipment. I took a session on a pitch shared by a soccer team. There were a lot of fist pumps and the boys seem to enjoy throwing the ball around. Bibs could have been useful, but the association have none.
Tuesday night training, a chance to really see what talent we had.
The men’s and ladies’ sides train together. I guess this is good for numbers, but restricts physical contact. These guys play off the cuff rugby, with very little thought of what to do next when play broke down.
These guys don’t have a bad bone in their body so getting aggression into them will provide a challenge. Having structures in place will come along. Governing bodies (IRB, US rugby etc) and suppliers (Gilbert, CCC etc) should really take a look and help out.
I was up at 5.40am and driven to appear on The Rumble with Terry Finisterre, who works for Lime St Lucia, hosts the morning sports show on RCI, and is a qualified IAAF coach.
It was my first time in a radio station and the sports chat was dominated by athletics and soccer, and no questions regarding rugby. Terry is passionate about sport, mainly his athletics and rugby. Colvis and I just sat back and waited our turn.
At 4pm it was time to get back for my last session. I was going to be looking at scrum technique, line-outs, simple tackling drills and the usual touch. Jerry Charles, the island’s captain, spoke to me after the session and told me he was beginning to see how to use it. One of the ladies I met, Mina, is new to rugby and on Tuesday she said she was intimated by me. By the end, she was smiling, laughing and her confidence was so much better.
These two things have made my trip totally worthwhile. My aim is to be back to help out next year.
Time to go home. St Lucia is beautiful. The energy for rugby is strong, but relatively untapped. If you are coming here, get off the beach and travel around.
I am now trying to get the association further help and exposure. If you are interested, please contact me via Twitter @franman0111