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High Performance Centre

Investec International Rugby Academy at hpc a huge success

By Manfred Seidler

Posted on 29 May 2009



The inaugural Investec International Rugby Academy held at the hpc on the University of Pretoria's sport grounds was according to founder and Assistant Springbok Coach Dick Muir, a huge success.

The course, held over three weeks, aims to develop and maximize the full potential of both players and coaches and according to Muir, the HPC is the perfect venue. “There are very few venues in South Africa that fulfill the needs of this course. We need not only accommodation, but also all the sports sciences for this course as it encompasses both the theoretical and physical. The HPC is the perfect host as everything that we need is on site and we know the facilities as well as the staff here, so it was the obvious choice for our first course.”

Muir identified a need in South African Rugby for knowledge sharing and so went to New Zealand after the Super 14 Final in 1997. The idea for the Academy was brought back then. In fact the Academy is part of a franchise and Dick Muir and Ruan Fourie are the South African Directors. The 3 franchises are in New Zealand, South Africa and ironically the United States. “The potential in the USA is huge, hence the third Academy being placed there.”

Ruan Fourie, who designed the course in conjunction with the NZ and USA coaches, has the arduous task of finding the coaches, and booking them, who would be appropriate for the respective fields. In other words a coach for the scrums, the line outs, the forwards and so on. “That is why you will have seen the likes of Sean Fitzpatrick, Christian Cullen, Naas Botha, Garth Wright or Nick Farr-Jones walking through the corridors of the HPC. We use only the best.”

The players undergo a 3-week course and the coaches a 2-week course.

Week 1 : Assessment of players (mental toughness and team work)

Week 2 : Position specific coaching; Individual Skills Coaching

Week 3 : Corrective Coaching

Such is the reputation of the Academy, that the attendees who are awarded scholarships are handpicked. Only 30 players and 15 coaches are allowed onto the course. If the quota is not filled through scholarships, then coaches and players can apply and pay to attend.

The Academy will be hosting two courses a year, the next one in November and December in Cape Town. 2010 will again see two courses hosted, with the first again at the HPC around May and the second again in Cape Town.



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