USA Special Preparation Gave Us Edge

USA Special Preparation Gave Us Edge

"I am convinced that one particular thing we did, ended up paying huge dividends"

The elation at winning a nail biting Under-20s Junior World Trophy final against Japan last weekend was almost off the scale.

It was such a thrilling game and there were seven lead changes in a contest which we won 37-33 after a gutsy injury-time goal-line stand.

I am so proud of the players and proud to have been a part of an amazing tournament which was so wonderfully supported out here in Salt Lake City.

Any win on home turf is extra special.

The result means that we have qualified for the Tier One Junior World Championships next season and will get to pit our wits as both players and coaches against the best sides in the world like New Zealand, South Africa, England and Ireland.

That will be a serious test of us all within the camp and it makes me excited just thinking about it.

When we look back over our preparation for this tournament and try to find out what was a success and what needs more thought, I am convinced that one particular thing we did, ended up paying huge dividends.

Head coach Scott Lawrence’s idea to try and get as many of the forwards to a pre-tournament training camp in Boulder, near Denver gave us an edge over the opposition.

I was happy to take it on when Scott suggested it and we then asked all of the forwards if they would be prepared to come to Colorado for the extra sessions on a voluntary basis.

Nearly all of those without exams bought into the idea and made it.

While their flights were all paid for, their food and living expenses were not. We are still an amateur set-up with regards to the levels of funding we get compared to established nations.

They stayed with families while they were out there and, although that provided the players with bed and breakfast, the rest of their food costs came out of their own pockets.

That is some commitment to the cause.

The time we spent together was hugely productive and gave us time to work on the specifics and detail of forward play such as the lineout, the kick-off, scrums and the breakdown.

It was intense and hard work but those five days ended up playing a massive part in our success at the JWT. We were well-drilled and our nuts and bolts held together throughout the tournament.

Right until the last play when solid defensive shapes forced a Japanese knock-on five metres shy of what would have been a winning try.

USA Under 20s Training Boulder
USA Under 20s Forwards Training Camp in Boulder, Co.

Watch video from the IRB Junior Rugby World Tournament.

Read more from Gavin Hickie at Lineout Coach.


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