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Monday, April 11, 2016

Q&A With San Diego Coach Ray Egan


Correspondent Derek Sagehorn spoke to coach Ray Egan of the San Diego Pro Rugby team last week about the team’s preparation and balancing training schedules.

This Is American Rugby: How has your preseason preparations been so far?

Ray Egan: They’ve gone really well. We are fortunate to have a great facility in EXOS, which allows us to combine a lot of training aspects under one roof. It has been challenging balancing schedules of our foreign players and Olympic Training Center players. We are waiting on paperwork for some guys, or subject to sevens call-ups, but the players themselves have been great.

TIAR: How are the players adapting to the professional environment you are creating?

RE: We’re being patient right now, and not trying to overload their bodies. For a lot of the formerly amateur guys, two-a-days is tough on the body. We can’t go in and smash them from day one. So we’ve been taking it slow, and created a deliberate process whereby we measuredly increase the workload.

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TIAR: How much does it help to have professionals in the squad?

RE: It is great. Guys like Phil Mackenzie, Ryan Matyas and Mikey Te’o have experience in professional set-ups. But nobody is perfect, and we’re using this opportunity to create our own standards and really reset what it means to be a professional. For example, we’ve been trying to really instill the importance of preventative work in terms of injuries. We are creating targets to keep our injuries under a certain threshold. That is important for both a player welfare and league costs point-of-view. We’ve invested a lot in these guys and want them to stay on the field.

TIAR: Ahead of your first game on 5/23, what are some of your preparations going to look like?

RE: We’ll be making sure we start settling into our combinations with all the different players. Making sure our decision-makers are on the same page and timing clicks.

TIAR: What kind of experience are you hoping for the fans at Torrero Stadium?

RE: We really want a family experience. It helps that we have a beautiful location on the University of San Diego campus. But we want it to be a great summer experience that is affordable to attend and open to young people. Part of the draw of rugby is that it’s only 90 minutes, unlike 3-4 hour experiences in other sports. We’ll also have beer tents featuring a couple of well-liked San Diego breweries. We want to create an experience that is open to casual fans in addition to the existing rugby players. We’re also hoping to have some high level club rugby as the curtain raiser for our first home match.

TIAR: How has the San Diego team been marketing this experience?

RE: We’re really invested in creating an active social media presence, aimed at getting young people, and even non-rugby players, excited about our team and players. That means doing a lot of interaction, across different platforms. It also means peeling back the curtain and showing our players doing their day to day. We have some great guys on the team and we can share that with social media.

3 comments:

  1. What the league really needs to do is educate the public in the basics of rugby union including the laws and how to watch the game. It would also be nice if they could get live play-by-play commentary either over a local AM or FM station or internet streaming. This would be helpful to the spectators.

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    Replies
    1. Pro Rugby has actually put together some great entry level videos about rugby on their facebook and other social media platforms. Check it out.

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