Scholarship trust supports clinic for rugby coaches

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The Queenstown-based Southern Lakes Scholarship Trust is fostering rugby players of the future with an Otago Country coaches’ clinic. 

Trustee and Arrowtowner Simon Spark is organising a ‘Coaching the Coaches’ clinic at the Queenstown Events Centre on May 27. 

Coaches including the Otago ITM Cup’s Phil Young and Tony Brown, Otago Academy manager Tim Colling and Highlanders scrum guru Kees Meeuws will hold a clinic for about 30 coaches throughout Otago Country including those in charge of premiers, secondary school and under-age representative teams. 

The school coaches will also bring about 30 up-and-coming players. 

The scholarship trust, formed two years ago, is funding ground hire and catering. 

“We’ve been looking at ways to best utilise some of the scholarship funding,” Colling says. 

“It’s not just about the players. If you haven’t got the coaches, the players will only go so far.” 

The trust funds four Otago Academy players including ITM Cup squad member Queenstowner Michael Collins. 

Recently it also funded promising 16-year-old Queenstown halfback Matt Ellis to attend an advanced players course by the International Rugby Academy of New Zealand held in Palmerston North. 

Matt captains the Otago Boys’ High 2nd XV and played for the Otago Under-16s last year. 

“Spending a week with ex-All Blacks is certainly something I will never forget and getting coaching from them just added to the experience,” he says. 

Meanwhile, the Arrowtown Premiers fought hard to beat Alexandra 29-13 at home last Saturday. 

Wakatipu Premiers smashed Cromwell 63-0 in an away game and the Wakatipu Wanderers beat Cromwell Seniors 22-5, also in Cromwell.

SATURDAY’S DRAW: Wakatipu Prems v Alexandra, Queenstown Recreation Ground, 2.45pm; Cromwell Prems v Arrowtown, Cromwell, 2.45pm; Upper Clutha Seniors v Wakatipu Wanderers, Wanaka, 2.45pm