JWRT: Under dogs to Champions
The reaction from people all around the world to the JWRT Final Victory has been amazing. From Twitter and Facebook, friends and family the good wishes have been pouring in.
It’s amazing what this group have achieved in such a short time together. From victory in Canada back in May to rafting down rivers, ‘enjoying’ (surviving) each other’s cooking while at the lodge in Steamboat Springs to taking the field against the Eagles, arriving in Salt Lake City as under dogs to leaving as Champions it has been an incredible journey.
Each step of the JWRT story has been documented here on the LineoutCoach Blog and I encourage you to follow our rugby adventures. When I’ve recovered from it all I’ll put my own thoughts down on paper regarding the amazing JWRT experience but for now I’d like to share a few words I was sent before the JWRT Final which sums up how I feel.
JWRT Game Day
“As a person raised on professional sport (mostly football, sorry soccer) and its associations with personal attainment rather than achievement, my recent experiences of following you and the U20s coaching team and players is quite a shock.
Some people still play for the love of the game.
From the outset of the whole JWRT journey the group seemed determined to succeed. Set expectations, get results – that’s what you and the coaching team did and that is what the players responded to. Brought together they had only one purpose, to play for the name on the front of their jersey not the back. They trained, they fought on the field, and they played for their team mates and their flag.
In the JWRT, they have shone.
Of course they want to win. The JWRT Trophy would be a remarkable achievement and a reflection of the effort shown by both the players and the coaches who work while tired players sleep. I know the efforts you and the staff have all gone to, the coaches scouring videos to find the weaknesses and plan the strategies, the fitness and medical staff who make them stronger and help them to recover so they can enter battle again.
Only 15 can run onto the JWRT field but everyone plays their part.
What cannot be forgotten is that for all the glory that would follow a victory in the JWRT Final the ultimate prize is not theirs to own. They will not compete on the fields of France against the Top Tier nations. This Play Station Generation’s tour of duty ends here. They are fighting for those who follow, inspiring the next generation to greatness.
Some of this group may go on to the Rugby World Cup or Olympics but they will be the exception. Most will return to their college and club teams and pass on their skills and experience. Their professionalism will make their teams better and they will benefit from what they have done.
These players may not experience the Olympics at first hand but what they have done embodies the Olympic spirit. Sport played, not for cars, endorsements or money but for the love of it, for friends, for pride. Passion, spirit, grit, heart. To reach their rugby potential. To be the best.
They are not standing on the shoulders of giants, they are giants.”
I could not agree more.
|JWRT 2012 Squad|
|Henry Hall||Auckland University||Prop|
|Angus Maclellan||Davenport University||Prop|
|Maika Moala||Titans, Hawaii||Prop|
|Vei Tomasi||Oakland Warthogs||Prop|
|Travis Whitlock||Back Bay||Prop|
|Cameron Falcon||Louisiana State University||Hooker|
|Casper Huizenga||Kutztown University||Hooker|
|Mike Te’o||Belmont Shore||Hooker|
|Nick Barrett||Minnesota State University||Lock|
|Pierce Dargan||Trinity College, Dublin||Lock|
|Alex Goff||Arkansas State University||Flanker|
|Tim O’Hara||University of Santa Clara||Flanker|
|Aladdin Schirmer||Central Washington University||Flanker|
|Glen Thommes||Delaware University||Flanker|
|Nick Boyer||University of California||Scrumhalf|
|Alex Taefu||Tempe Rugby Club||Scrumhalf|
|Will Magie||Leeds University||Flyhalf|
|Tanner Barnes||Central Washington University||Centre|
|Tua Laei||Brigham Young University||Centre|
|Sione Letoi||Tempe Rugby Club||Centre|
|Kingsley McGowan||St Mary’s College, California||Centre|
|Eakalafi Okusi||University of California||Centre|
|Madison Hughes||Dartmouth College||Wing|
|Pasefika Iosia||Belmont Shore||Wing|
|Noah Tarrant||Oceanside Hurricanes||Wing|
|Iniki Fa’amausili||Glendale Raptors||Fullback|
|USA JWRT Staff|
|Scott Lawrence||Head Coach|
|Justin Hickey||Team Manager|
|Vaha Esikia||Skills Coach|
|Jason Kelly||Backs Coach|
|Gavin Hickie||Forwards Coach|
|Sam Akhavan||Team Doctor|
|James Walton||Video Analyst|
|Justin Goonan||Strength & Conditioning|
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland A & 7s, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com