Whiting Looks to HSAA Tour
Whiting Looks to HSAA Tour
The High School All American boys team that is going to Argentina is in for a treat, as Italy is also touring at the same time, allowing for a nice four-team series between the USA, Uruguay, Argentina, and Italy.
For the America players, they get to warm up against Cordoba Academy before playing the three U18 national teams.
“Three tests against three good teams is always a bit nerve-wracking,” said United HS and HSAA center Calvin Whiting. “There’s always a little bit of anxiety, but I like the challenge that it brings and I feel like every year we get better.”
It’s business - the players get a few little trips and some sightseeing, but for the most part it’s about the rugby games. The trip this year sees the HSAA team play four games in the space of 12 day; that ambitious schedule is by design, because Head Coach Salty Thompson is preparing players for the life of an international rugby player, which often requires three or four games in a short period.
“That third week is difficult,” said Whiting. “Your mind is tired, your body’s tired. Those last few days are crucial. it’s hard, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Most of the HSAA players have had enough time to rest after the high school and all-star season, although, added Whiting, “we’re still sending in fitness reports to Salty every Wednesday.”
Head Coach Salty Thompson is big on individual responsibility, and the first test is to get the reports in every week. The second test, of course, is to show up in camp or on your select side’s field looking as if you actually did the work you said you did.
“There’s always something going on so your body doesn’t have time to relax,” said Whiting.
So the players have to be ready for South America - how ready? Whiting said it can be a shock to players new to international rugby.
“A lot of the new players don’t realize how fast the game is,” he said. “The speed at which these guys is a whole other level, compared to at home. At home players can almost slow the game down and see the play develop in their heads. Down there, the guys are already executing it.”
And of course there’s the forwards. Whiting said last year Titi Lamositele, who went on to get capped by the senior Eagles at 18, had trouble busting through the defensive line. The other front-rowers were talking about how hard it was.
“Their forwards are just powerhouses,” said Whiting. As for the backs, “continuity is important. We need to be able to clean up our own mess. We need to use the space and if we keep the ball there are opportunities to score points. The main thing is possession, and with possession you get points.”