World-Class Rugby Practice

The SMUS rugby teams received some world-class coaching last Friday when Graham Henry, the New Zealand All Blacks coach, paid a visit to the school.

Graham Henry led the All Black to the World Cup semi-finals against Australia in 2003 and was named Coach of the Year by the sport’s governing body, the International Rugby Board (IRB) in 2005.

Mr. Henry spent the afternoon on campus and presented a short lecture to both Middle School and Senior School students. He answered a flurry of questions and when asked by a female student if there should be more girl rugby teams, Mr. Henry firmly acknowledged “there aren’t enough.” He also stated he believes “one-on-one skills are missing from today’s rugby.”

Following the lecture, the SMUS rugby teams headed to the rugby pitch to participate in a skills workshop. The sidelines were crowded with spectators who were watching the team practice alongside Mr. Henry. A-Channel News and the Times Colonist were also among the crowd.

“All the students enjoyed the opportunity to work with one of the world’s most famous coaches,” says SMUS coach Mr. Ian Hyde-Lay. “They learned that enjoyment is the key to any sport.”

Mr. Henry looked at ease in a school environment, but it’s no surprise given he was a teacher and school headmaster before he joined the professional coaching ranks.

The afternoon’s activities were capped off with an evening dinner presentation at Brown Hall. Mr. Henry told the audience how much he appreciated the efforts of the players who took part in the skills demonstration earlier in the day.

The visit was made possible through the efforts of John Davies and Cliff Yorath of the Advancement Office, as well as Gareth Rees and the SMUS Alumni Association.

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