Goff Rugby Twitter     Goff Rugby Facebook

Tolkin Visits Iona Session

irish rugby tours

Tolkin Visits Iona Session

The Iona College men’s rugby team got a surprise Wednesday at training when USA Men’s National Head Coach Mike Tolkin dropped in to run a session.

“We knew Coach Tolkin was friends with [Iona Head Coach] Bruce McLane, and we’d heard he might come at some point, but to have him actually there when you show up at practice was a big deal,” said freshman center Michael Scarcella. “I learned a lot.”

Tolkin mostly worked on set pieces and defense, giving the players a new approach to playing a pressure defense and transitioning defenses through the phases. He also worked briefly on ways to get out of your own 22.

“For me, I learned how to play defense one way in high school, so to see it another way , especially as I’m learning a new position at inside center, was great,” added Scarcella.

“I was coached by Mike Tolkin at Xavier,” added outside center Mike Marino. “I know he’s very defense-oriented and he works on a team approach to defense. We worked on stuff where we knew what we needed to be doing, but to see how everyone approached the practice with the national team coach there, was great.

“Everyone put 100% into it, and we learned a lot about how to approach from set piece in different read of the field.”

Iona is a young team trying to make a move in the Rugby East. They beat Fordham last week and take on St. Bonaventure this coming weekend before opening their regular season schedule at Wheeling Jesuit.

“We’ve got a young team, but we’re learning so much,” said Scarcella. “Even in last week’s game, we made a lot of mistakes in the first half, but by the second half you could see it had gotten a lot better.”