The Maples National Rugby Sevens Academy are in Canada this week for an intensive 19-day camp that will see the players play in three world class tournaments and undergo training from some of the world’s leading sevens coaches.
The squad, coaching and management team has already undergone strategic sessions under Dan Baugh a world renowned and leading consultant in fitness and conditioning training for rugby, made possible with grants from the Cayman Islands Olympic Committee, Maples and Queensgate Bank and Trust.
The week long strategic session led to a complete rethinking of the way the rugby sevens programme has been conducted in Cayman with the ultimate goal to deliver similar world class programmes as the top nations.
To further Baugh’s work, Morgan Williams former professional Canadian sevens player, coach and captain, will accompany the squad throughout the camp as well as the Rugby World Cup Qualifier tournament at the end of August. Williams is also bringing in other national team sevens coaches to assist with the squads and managements development.
The camp starts on Thursday in Calgary, Alberta where the squad will spend two days preparing for the Calgary Stampede Sevens on Friday and Saturday.
The squad then goes to Victoria Island in British Columbia to stay in the world class facilities of University of Victoria. The university has numerous pitches, gyms, pools and training facilities and the main part of the camp will take place on the campus.
The squad will be in four daily sessions from 9-12 July before competing in the Victoria International sevens alongside Fiji, Canada, USA and other major teams on 14 July.
Part three of the camp is the toughest tournament, in Vancouver against some of the world’s top players.
The squad returns home on 23 July and the final squad of 12 to represent Cayman in the 2012 Rugby Sevens World Cup qualifiers in Ottawa 25-26 July will be named the day after they return.
When asked about why Cayman need to travel and play in such tournaments Director of Rugby Richard ‘Grizz’ Adams said: “We have in the North American and Caribbean Rugby Association region, both Canada and the USA who are core teams in the World sevens series and have full time professional players and staff.
“We have to compete against them to qualify for tournaments outside of the region so that is the goal. Ultimately, from the Americas region for the Olympics it will be one or two teams from the Americas as a continent this also includes, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Brazil.
“When you look at it in those terms we have a lot of ground to make up quickly and we need to start at a world class level in everything we do.
“Having Dan and Morgan involved is ensuring our coaches and players are gaining that ground and knowledge quickly and this is being handed on to the players. For the players to see and compete against the best players in the world in these tournaments is also the fastest way for them and our younger developing squads to see just what it is going to take.
“Hopefully the end result will be that the management and players understand what it takes to play at this level and this will then pass down into the developing players at all ages and the whole level of rugby in Cayman will once again kick start into new levels.
“After all the only thing stopping us from competing at these levels is not realising the intensity we have to achieve here in Cayman when we are training and preparing.
“We need to look to nations like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga where relatively small and remote nations have developed to be some of the best sevens nations in the world. For us sevens is the game where Cayman can really look to make an impact on the world scene.”