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Ross Doneghan's Trip to New Zealand

Ross Doneghan's Trip to New Zealand

James Norton7 Jun - 11:45
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Richmond Women’s Coach, Ross Doneghan has recently visited the Crusaders in New Zealand!

The main objective for me coming out here was to develop my own understanding of why New Zealand rugby in particular Crusaders have sustained success from a young age, right the way up to Super Rugby and International level. What the values and the virtues are teaching, how are they putting that through their academy system, how they're putting that through their grassroots staff, particularly in schools and how they always managed to harness and develop these brilliant athletes and turn them into a world class group of players.

That's a big thing they've done, develop the person first and then develop the player second. It is a fantastic message, you can really see it in everyone you've met and everyone you interact with and the people that have come before Richie McCaw, Reuben Thorne, Kieran Read, Sam Whitelock, all these amazing players that have played for the Crusaders that have gone on to play for the All Blacks because of this.

I'm here with coaches from all over the world, Lithuania to Canada to Australia to France to USA, it’s amazing. You don't leave the room having had a conversation with someone and not learn something. It has been amazing and we've been to watch some grassroots stuff including a First XV schoolboy game, amateur club game and academy training. From this we understand how the system works from the bottom up.

I have been to a talk from Whitney Hansen who is the Head Coach of Matatū, the Women’s Super Rugby team and is also the daughter of Steve Hansen meaning that her coaching calibre is very high. From this experience I learnt lots about the women’s game from a Super Rugby perspective. Kendra Cocksedge also spoke in the talk who has the record for Test appearances for the Black Ferns.

It was great listening to her and hearing what she thinks about women’s rugby being the direction it’s going in New Zealand. It’s just getting bigger and bigger all the time. They look at England a lot at what England are doing and how we can emulate what they're doing and make it even better. The environment is all about learning all the time and developing oneself and yeah, just the nuggets of gold like everyday you just put it all together and you've got this incredible program.

The person running it is a bloke called Grant Keenan, he's the International Academy Manager for the Crusaders and it's absolutely brilliant.

I would really advocate anyone that's looking to develop their coaching to spend some time over here and connect with the Crusaders and see what they're doing and how they're doing it. I have been to watch a Crusaders game, went to watch a Black Ferns Game as well and watched Canada beat the Black Ferns for the first time ever.

The standard was superb and I went to watch Crusaders beat the Blues last weekend, the atmosphere was amazing and they came behind to win. I have also been on a podcast, that will come out shortly and details will be released on how you can listen.

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