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Coach Tawake inspired by Sacramento rugby clinic

September 07
09:20 2013

By TOMOS LEWIS

Men and women from youth to senior levels travelled from all over Northern California last week, to attend a rugby clinic conducted by former Fiji rugby skipper/coach Ifereimi Tawake, who said he was ‘inspired’ by the occasion.
Tawake, now head coach of the Sacramento Lions has held such clinics in the past and they appear to be just as popular, with over 75 people having attended last Saturday.
A strong contingent of players from nearby high schools and colleges turned out in the hope of gaining some skills and develop their rugby knowledge with the assistance of the Fijian legend.
Sacramento State College Rugby Union captain, Travis Haugen was amongst the lucky group of players who attended on Saturday and was grateful for the experience.
“We have a good relationship with the Lions and Coach Tawake and when I heard about the clinic I knew it would be a great opportunity for our players to step outside our system and learn some new things,” Haugen said.
In addition to gaining skills as a player, Haugen who assists in coaching a local high school team was also pleased to learn how to improve as a coach,
“There were a lot of drills I hadn’t seen before.  Coach Tawake has a wealth of experience from playing and coaching at elite levels, and it was great to learn some high-performance drills and techniques that I plan on implementing when I play as well as coach.  I think everyone learned a lot today and it was fun to be a part of.”
The clinic covered all aspects of the game, from basic warming up, to position-specific training and Coach Tawake paid tribute to his home country for what he was able to pass on to the young players,
“Much of what I was teaching the group today were things I learned while playing and coaching for Fiji.
“I was impressed with the younger players who learned quite quickly some of the more technical passing and running drills.
It made it fun for me as a coach.
“ My goal was to teach these kids something new about rugby, but also to help them realise that with enough hard work they can achieve anything,” said Tawake.
It seems that it was not only the youngsters that benefited on the day however, with the coach himself and rugby in the US gaining from the day aswell.
“What is most important for American rugby and any rugby nation is to develop players from the grassroots level.
If you want to grow the sport you need to focus on the youth.
I was inspired by the excitement and interest these players showed today.
It isn’t easy getting up early on Saturday morning but these players wanted to be there.
America has great athletes and if we can continue to introduce rugby to these kids at a young age, it can only lead to good things for USA Rugby,” said Tawake.
With the inspiration of a Fijian rugby legend behind them, the Sacramento Lions and the surrounding area will surely benefit greatly and will certainly look forward to attending potential future clinics held by the great man.

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