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Gollings Discusses Youth Olympics Prep

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Gollings Discusses Youth Olympics Prep

Former England 7s star Ben Gollings is slated to be the USA Men’s coach for the Junior Olympics, taking 12 under-18 players to Nanjing,China next month.


It will be a tough ask for Gollings, in part because he has only seen the players picked for the squad in fleeting opportunities. He has relied on HS All Americans Head Coach Salty Thompson and his staff to help select the players.


But Gollings, who has scored more points in IRB Sevens World Series history than any other player, knows a thing or two about the game, but it still will be a tough task for him to work with players he doesn’t know particularly well. 


“We have had limited time and now most of the players are in Argentina,” said Gollings. “But I have been in contact with Salty and his staff and we’ve talked about certain training standards I want in pale. Salty feels he’s got the 12 players who will do the job and that’s great. There are things I want from the players in terms of physical aspects and skill, and they are doing some work in Argentina on that.”


Gollings said he will install a relatively simple game plan based on work rate, and he hopes to be able to put out a fitter team than the opposing teams. The schedule, though, might change the game in that regard. The Youth Olympics rugby tournament will feature two games per day for three days, not the usual three games per day over two. Gollings, who has done both, says two games a day is harder because you have to be able to switch on and off more dramatically. In addition, a fit team will often players its best game on game #3, but that advantage may be taken away.


The USA will face off with Kenya, Japan, Argentina, Fiji, and France in a round-robin, and then, if they make the top four out of that six, the semifinals. 


Gollings said there is a real chance for a medal here, and he takes that opportunity very seriously.


“The USA are the defending Gold Medalists in rugby, and so this return to the Olympics is not to be taken lightly,” he said. “You look at the six countries, though, and there’s an opportunity here. Getting a medal is an objective.”


Notes: Why are only these six teams competing? The Youth Olympics is limited in size, and each nation can only choose one team sport per gender in which to compete. The USA is enormously fortunate, then, to be able to field both a men’s and women’s rugby team, as the USOC could have pushed to put in a soccer, field hockey, or team handball team instead.

USA Team set to compete at Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China August 17-20.


NameHeightWeight (lbs)Age (as of 7 July 2014)Hometown
Cian Barry5'8"15118Point Lookout, NY
Hanco Germishuys6'1"21517Omaha, NE
Brian Hannon5'10"18017Indianapolis, IN
Junior Helu6'0"20018Union City, CA
Vili Helu6'4"23318San Ramon, CA
Sione Masoe6'0"18518Garden Grove, CA
Aaron Matthews5'9"18517Irvine, CA
Malcolm May6'1"21518Chicago, IL
Suwaiter Poch6'0"22517Hilo, HI
Tyler Sousley5'1"19018Osceola, IN
Austin Taefu5'7"16117Phoenix, AZ
Jojo Tikoisuva5'11"17618Sacramento, CA