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Hard Work Center of HSAA Winter Camp

HS Boys

Hard Work Center of HSAA Winter Camp

The HS All American Rugby Team lines up for the National Anthem during their 2014 South American tour. Varsity Travel photo.
With the HS All Americans Winter Camp closing up shop on Wednesday, Head Coach Salty Thompson has a lot of work to do figuring out who will play 7s in Las Vegas and Rosslyn Park, who will be the JV squad going to Europe, and who will be on the varsity 15s squad going to South America.
 
Thompson pushed hard for players to maintain fitness standards, and tested them all on the first day. They scored better than before, said the coach, “but they are not where we’d ultimately like them to be. I asked them, ‘is there a reason why you can’t get to a certain standard? Are you too old?’”
 
It was a joke, but one with a message. If you’re going to get international rugby fit, now’s the time.
 
Still, Thompson saw some improvement, and also saw a pretty experienced, hard-nosed group of forwards. The talent up front is surging perhaps a little ahead of the talent in the backs mostly due to age. What that might mean is that this year’s incarnation of the HSAAs might be one of power up front.
 
That’s not to say there isn’t talent in the three quarters - it’s just that there may be more work to do to find the right combination.
 
But it’s a good start at the Grande Sports Academy, with Robin Reid and Aircraft Charter Solutions providing some extra backing for the program and 27 coaches and staff on hand to take care of 130 athletes. The facility parsed the behavior of the players, and that’s a nice thing to have on their resume, too.
 
“It’s been a good experience,” said Herriman HS No. 8 and HSAA prop Kalisi Moli. “Last year was the first time I’d played prop. We’ve all be working on our techniques, trying to get low. When we played France and Portugal [with the U17s] the loose heads were doing some weird techniques. So I’ve been learning a lot like that.”
 
“We did lose some players [in the backs],” said Back Bay U19 center Aaron Matthews. “We’ve all connected really well and outside of the games we’ve all connected really well together.”