Old Colfeian’s U7 festival - Whitgiftian Warriors and Wizards
A sickness bug hit the WJRs hard and although we are still able to field two teams, we had no subs. Playing every available match minute of rugby required considerable concentration from the teams and only towards the end did coaches notice levels slightly drop. Great discipline.
A positive from this 4 matches and 4 players meant everyone was a captain for a match. We really enjoyed seeing each captain meet the referee before the match; choose which end of the pitch they wanted and lead the 3 cheers at the end. Great sportsmanship.
Coaches - Kirsty Blewer / Paddy Blewer
The Warriors were well balanced, with speed down the touch line, super support play and aggressive and brave defence. Our pre-match chat focussed on TREDS and how the team could demonstrate this during their matches – it was excellent to see tags being returned, accepting some questionable refereeing decision with grace (not the same can be said about the coaches, mind you) and keeping their discipline by staying on-side during the break downs and reforming the defensive line.
The team was complimented by an Old Alleynians coach (who refereed the Warriors twice) on the aggressive and organised defence. Tag after tag after tag; a warmer day meant more dextrous hands for tagging. Even better, he said they were “a good bunch of boys”. The game has to be about fun, and what was great on Sunday was the boys enjoying each other’s success.
Aidan – continues to communicate well and learn about better positioning to support his team mates. His blitz defence caused problems for the opposition. His catching confidence is growing, taking a super pass close to the try line and grounding it for an excellent team try that included multiple successful phases of play. Some very strong running.
Joshua – lightning down the side-lines as ever, which shocked the opposition on numerous occasions and resulted in lots of tries. Attempting to defend and tag more, building his confidence in tough one-on-one encounters. Very brave after a slow-motion headstand, Joshua remained entirely committed and was always a danger on the run. Complimented by an opposition coach for his speedy runs.
Raaj – a defensive masterclass from Raaj. He makes a grab and gets it, then gets back to his defensive line. Looks for space when he has ball in hand and employs a sneaky side step to get to the try line. A good turn of pace as well, the longer pitches really suited his running style; once free no one could catch him.
Isa – passing and game awareness is getting better and better, looking for team mates to pass to and support. Not afraid of getting involved, his brave and decisive tagging blocked several aggressive attacks. Also likes to bust through the try line with super speed and strength and has good feet and game awareness in a crowd of players.
Points to work on
The team did bunch up during defensive phases, which left some gaps for the opposition to run through, but this is getting noticeably better.
Running fast, hard and most importantly, forward should be the next stage of the game. Understanding that this in of itself creates the space for a recycle / pass and line break - no crabbing.
Max - finds almost invisible gaps in defence with astonishing regularity. Some silky running and great defensive work. It appears as though he can even sidestep with both feet off the ground...
Edwin - great team player: communicates a restart plan with his team immediately after conceding a try & just as likely to setup a try as he is to score himself. Always competing whenever the opposition dropped the ball, hungry for the next try.
Barney - strong runner & finisher, showing some real pace to beat defenders. Worked well with Edwin by standing in space, receiving a long pass and running in unopposed (3 times, I think). Managed to keep away from the touch line for a change!
Rosie - fearless tagger & consistently looked for a support player to pass to. Helped gel the team together and support them in the attack.
Couple of things to work on:
Defensive line was a little narrow at times meaning that the team were beaten round the sides of their defensive line.
Support the runner, the team needs to follow the runners and be on their shoulder.
Admittedly, this may well be a slightly rose-tinted view, but watching other matches during our rest periods, it struck me that the majority of our players stay/return to being onside more than other clubs. I don't recall any forward passes from my team; I heard plenty of communication and saw smiles on the faces of players and parents all morning. Great enjoyment. Our players have matured so much in the last two months.
Overall the Wizards grew as the festival went on, with only 4 players in the team in meant that the players gelled as a team with each game. The standard of rugby was fantastic both defensively and in attack.
Special vote of thanks to the dads for entertaining the players with catching games between matches and to Kirsty & Paddy for refereeing.
Coaches Nick S & Matt