RCW’s Haunted House: Episode 3

Welcome to the Rugby Coach Weekly…Haunted House, featuring:

Andy Stevens, Academy Chair and Club Coaching Coordinator at Ellingham and Ringwood, Level 2 coach, working with the clubs U11s, plus U13s and U15s girls, and coaching U18 boys at the local college.

Jess Bunyard, Director of Women and Girls Rugby and Rugby Development Officer at Huddersfield YM RUFC. Head coach of University of Huddersfield Women’s Team. Level 2 coach, assisting Yorkshire U18s Girls team  

Nathan Gosling, a teacher, coaching his son’s club team, coach at Exeter DPP, county U20s coach and just appointed head coach at Crediton RFC.

These three unsuspecting coaches were invited to enter the Haunted House. I led each one into a room where they faced a terrifying rugby scenario. Each one was challenged to find a coaching solution. On the spot, no preparation and no get out clauses. Sink or swim.

The other two coaches listened on, and at the end of the solution offered alternative views. One acts as the Devil’s Advocate, offering a completely different angle to the first two.

At the end, we also reveal the Skeleton in the Cupboard.

Here are the scenarios:

Refereeing hospital pass

A coaching friend has asked you to referee a local derby for his Under 15s. It is pretty soon clear why…there is no love lost between the players and coaches.

After five minutes, the opposition team captain says that you need to watch out for gouging. You say you’ve not seen anything, but you will be vigilant.

After another five minutes, that captain specifically accuses one of your friend’s team for gouging. You call over the coaches, and say that you haven’t seen anything, but can they have a word with their teams.

The opposition coach tells you that this happened last year, and it wasn’t dealt with then.

Just before half time, the opposition coach comes onto the pitch, pulls one his players over to you, and shows you a scratch which goes from his cheek to his forehead.

Floodlight failure

You are running your team session on a cold but dry Thursday night in November. You are expecting 20 players and there’s a league match on Saturday.

However, when you arrive at training, the floodlights aren’t working and no one can get into the clubhouse. While the changing rooms are okay, they only have low level safety lights inside. There are two security lights which do work and light up about a 10m square of grass about 3m from the changing rooms.

There is no prospect of the floodlights working tonight, or access to the clubhouse. You do have a bag of balls and cones in the car.

It is now 5 minutes before the session is about to start, and 18 players are there and ready.

Hookers fight

For years, a fiery, experienced hooker has been first choice for your team. A good player but not dynamic.

Over the years, other hookers have arrived but, because of a lack of game time, left by the end of the season. You have a young hooker in your development squad, but his only first team experience was a disaster for all concerned.

A new hooker has joined this season and is now the starter, with the old hooker reluctantly sitting on the bench.

On Tuesday night, during a contact session with the forwards, the two hookers fight, and the old hooker knocks out the new hooker. You have a league match on Saturday.


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