Juniors building links with USA Eagles

Gavin Hickie coaches Dartmouth College and the USA U20 teams.

One of the things that will really help our USA Under-20s side develop is to see where all our hard work at this age may lead to.

Links with the senior USA Eagles will do wonders for the guys in many ways.

So it makes me feel really positive about our future that the senior side is certainly taking a strong interest in what we are doing.

Back in the summer, we spent time training with the senior side in the build up to the IRB Under-20s Junior World Trophy.

It was the first time that had happened in the history of the set-up and our guys absolutely loved it. There’s no better way to find out what life is like for a senior pro than to spend time with them, train with them and talk to them about the game and the nutrition and conditioning side of the sport.

I could tell that they got a lot out of it and the benefits were immediately visible when we went on to win the World Trophy to book our place in next year’s World Championship with the world’s big boys like South Africa, New Zealand and England.

On a personal level, I was also delighted when Eagles head coach Mike Tolkin invited me to spend some time with the senior set-up to learn how they do things.

He is keen to start bringing me into the senior squad a bit more so I can learn how they work and we can strengthen links between the senior and junior set-ups.

That is something I will be doing when I have completed my current spell at Dartmouth College.

I am filling in as interim head coach while Alex Magleby continues his work as head coach with the USA Sevens team.

It is proving to be a very exciting and challenging time here at a college which has a fine pedigree and is reigning National 7s champions.

We have already been on a pre-season tour north of the US/Canada border to Ontario.

And then we started the Ivy Rugby Conference season at Harvard last weekend and host another one of the world’s best-known universities in Yale this weekend.

The Big Green – as we are known - got off to a great start by beating Harvard 60-0 but there are some serious challenges ahead.

Gavin hickie gives a team talk.

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