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EIRA U16s Gives Young Talent Their HP Start

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EIRA U16s Gives Young Talent Their HP Start

Eagle Impact Rugby Academy U16 Coach Jon Banarhall has an important job, but it’s one he relishes.

With Banarhall being the development coach at West Point, he’s used to bring talented player along and peppering them for higher levels. This is why the EIRA U16 team, which is in Vancouver preparing to play the British Columbia U16s on Wednesday, exists.

“We’ve got some really talented young players,” Banarhall told Goff Rugby Report. “But they are young. For several of them, this is their first experience playing in a high performance team and playing an opponent at this level. But we’ve seen it work. We’ve had other players go with us to Las Vegas who cane away thinking less me-me-me and more about critiquing their own performance so they can get better.”

This is the beginning of the pathway, said Banarhall, and it’s the sort of experience where players can emerge and blossom, or struggle.

“The quality of the players is outstanding,” said Banarhall. “I’m excited to work with them, and see how their skills and ability translate to a week on tour. This is where it’s happening in the game. These kids get this kind of experience and are able to build from there.”

See the full EIRA U16 squad here.

The EIRA U16s come from all over the country, most of them being players who regularly attend Eagle Impact Rugby Academy clinics and sessions, although not all do that. They have some big bodies up front despite their youth, but what the team might be lacking is height - only two players are taller than 6-2, Isaiah Cortez and Mateo Gadsen, and Gadsden is a wing. But they do have five front-rowers of 230 pounds or more. Victory for the EIRA team will probably rest on the tight five’s superiority in the loose, the back row playing defense, and the backs working together.

It will be an intense preparation before Wednesday’s opening game at UBC. But, as Banarhall said, you’ve got to start somewhere.

The EIRA U16s will face the BC U16s at 11am Wednesday. Check back with Goff Rugby Report for reports.