The Blues hosted 50 young rugby players at HQ on Friday for day two of our Under-17 Development Squad Camp.
The sun was out on the Alexandra Park infield, providing a perfect training location for the Blues squad and a great vantage point for the developing players to see their senior counterparts in action.
The Under 17s were taken through a morning of speed and fitness testing, including a YoYo, speed test, and standing jump.
Blues coaches were on hand to teach the players about basic skills while current Blues players shared position specific advice, their experiences with professional rugby and the journey to get to the next level.
Rob Cobb, 16, a prop from MAGS said his highlight from the day was meeting and learning from Charlie Faumuina.
“He gave me some scrum technique tips and gave me some advice on how the game changes as you go up the levels.”
While Lemeki Namoa, 15, from Sacred Heart confessed that he was inspired by the experience, meeting his Blues heroes and the rugby legend Tana Umaga.
“It was cool to have a feel for professional rugby, to have a day of footy and rubbing shoulders with these big names,” said Lemeki. “I’m pretty starstruck.”
“Seeing these players in their downtime, seeing what they look like when they switch off was pretty cool.”
The players enjoyed some off-the-field advice from Blues team nutritionist Dave Shaw, including a protein-shake making workshop, as well as a mental skills discussion with Blues Mental Skills Coach Kylie Wilson.
Blues High Performance Manager Tony Hanks said the second day of the Under-17 camp helped the players gain more insight into the professional rugby world, while also helping Blues coaches see what young talent is coming through the ranks.
“We were really pleased with how the day went, the young guys responded really well to all our testing and discussion,” said Tony. “It really helped to have some of our older Blues players around who gave their time to sharing their knowledge with these young guys.”
The next development opportunity will be over the next two weeks. The Blues have identified a group of under-18 players who are showing huge potential in the sport and will invite them in to team training to assist them prepare for their final school year.