We Want to Play Fast: Notes from Preseason
By Andrew Newman
This upcoming Saturday, Rugby United New York will take the field competitively for the first time in their 2020 Major League Rugby campaign. The Roosters are travelling to the greater Buffalo area for a controlled scrimmage against the Toronto Arrows. This test comes during a critical phase of the preseason training camp, already in the midst of its third official week. Here are a few takeaways from this week’s training to prepare you for the weekend.
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Patterns Starting to Take Shape
Head Coach Greg McWilliams and his staff have implemented a playing style that our fans will enjoy during the 2020 season. The Roosters struggled offensively throughout 2019, finishing 6th in total points scored. This can partially be attributed to a lack of creativity in attack- they only broke the line 53 times- 8th in the league.
McWilliams is giving his field generals, such as Cathal Marsh and Chris Mattina, more freedom to attack in 2020. Unlocking these creative playmakers will open the field for RUNY and their dangerous finishers. While it’s been a steep learning curve, the team is excited about debuting their new style of attacking rugby.
“The coaching staff is implementing a style that is ahead of the curve,” Prop Anthony Parry stated bluntly. “It highlights our team’s best qualities- we want to play fast and be physical.”
New Strength and Conditioning Staff Already Paying Off
RUNY experienced a lot of turnover during the offseason, most notably parting ways with both Head Coach Mike Tolkin and Assistant Coach Kees Lensing. In addition to those changes, the team appointed a new Strength and Conditioning staff ahead of the 2020 season.
The staff is led by Ian Jones, a veteran S&C coach with prior experience working in professional rugby. Mike Cullen, a former Lindenwood University rugby player, is one of the many assistant coaches overseeing the Roosters during training camp.
Jones and his staff put the athletes through a rigorous testing period at the beginning of preseason. This included strength, speed, and conditioning testing in addition to testing their body mass index, flexibility, and more. The results of those tests have proved vital for the RUNY coaching staff, giving unique insights into the athletes across their roster.
“Ian Jones and his S&C team were very astute in profiling our athletes,” Assistant Coach Marty Veale told us. “Each athlete now has a detailed plan that will increase their physical capacity.”
Rugby United New York reconvenes tomorrow to continue preseason training camp. The team then leaves for Buffalo on Friday afternoon for the controlled scrimmage against the Toronto Arrows.
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