Saturday, March 6, had the last day of the Accelerated Development Programs run by Southern Districts Rugby Club (SDRC) and the Southern Rugby Alliance Accelerated go out with a bang.
The day had specialist rugby coaches Freddie Michalak (French International), Andy Marinos (Welsh International and Current CEO of Rugby Australia), Carlo Tizzano (NSW Waratahs), Joe Cotton (NSW Waratahs), Tim Rapp (Ex-General Manager of NSW Rugby) and various current and past Southern Districts Rugby Players teach the players tips and tricks specific to their positions.
Players across the Girls Accelerated Development Squad (GADS), Junior Emerging Development Squad (JEDS), Junior Accelerated Development Squad (JADS) and Rebels Accelerated Development Squad (RADS) were split into groups based on their positions for a skills and drills session.
Opportunities like this are rare in rugby and the players soaked up every minute.
The program has been a success, offering the participants a genuine pathway in rugby union, with increased connectivity to the pinnacle of rugby in the region.
The feedback on the programs has been overwhelming, with parents of the players highly impressed with the holistic approach.
Players have received rugby development and have grown as people with a strong focus on the "Life Skills" component creating "better people, not just better rugby players".
Following the position-specific training, the players attended Cronulla RSL for a presentation day and celebration.
Attendees heard from Andy Marinos about the future of Australian Rugby, Brad Devine (President of the SDRC) on the club's plans for 2021 and Simon Bennett (President of the Southern Rugby Alliance) on supporting the development of grassroots rugby in our region.
The day also saw many awards handed out to players who best demonstrated the values of the program, including inaugural medals named after local juniors Ben Volavola (JEDS), Brandon Paenga- Amosa (RADS), Rob Horne (JADS) and Memz Vuibureta Leivere' (GADS).
Rob and Memz attended the day to hand out these awards, while Brandon and Ben delivered videos from Queensland and France announcing the winners.
Recipients were: Josh Low (RADS), Rex Prosser (JEDS), Sofie Macdonald (GADS), Zion Poitaha (JADS).
The ADS Programs were undoubtedly a step in the right direction for rugby in the south and will continue for years to come.
These young players will take what they have learnt back to their local clubs before returning at the end of 2021 to continue their growth and development.
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