Friday, September 22, 2017

Interview With Scrum Guru Jase Ryan

By Derek Sagehorn

The Rugby Site is partnering with the Pelicans, representative side for the Northern California Rugby Football Union (NCRFU), to produce a skills clinic led by Crusaders scrum coach Jase Ryan. Set for October 6 and 7, 2017 at San Francisco Golden Gate on Treasure Island, the first day will focus on contact and continuity while the second day concentrates on front row scrummaging. Tickets are available here with special rates for NCRFU members and clubs)

This Is American Rugby (Derek Sagehorn) spoke to Jase Ryan about scrums, coaching and his Front Row Club.

This Is American Rugby: How and where did you get your start coaching?

Jase Ryan: I have always had a passion for scrum coaching and basically fell into coaching by chasing a dream to be a professional coach. I started from the bottom at club rugby in Christchurch at my local club Sydenham. I then moved on to some Crusaders & Canterbury Academy coaching, Coached in Brazil, the New Zealand Black ferns, NZ Under 20, Canterbury & now the Crusaders. Scott Robertson (Razor) gave me an opportunity 5 years ago to be scrum coach for Canterbury, and then Forwards coach for Canterbury, running Scrum & Line-out. I wouldn't be where I am now if it wasn't for him giving me an opportunity years ago.

Take the jump to read more.TIAR: What is the Front Row Club? What kinds of players do you work with in this program?

JR: Front Row Club is a specialised scrummaging program design to teach players the art of playing in the front row. Making players especially at a young age to understand that the safest technique is the most effective. This is important for young men to understand safe techniques It is also reassuring for there parents, especially Mums that there sons or daughters have been taught correct technique. We have worked with players of all ages, from U15 through to professional rugby players. Owen Franks is a big supporter of Front Row Club and we work closely with him and his father Ken. Front Row Club is really "Evolving" now as we can provide total set piece (Scrum & Lineout) development programs.

TIAR: You've coached for New Zealand u20 and Canterbury... Do you take special care with front row and other players to develop at these crucial stages in their playing careers? For example, in the United States, there is often a difficult transition for 18-23 year old props/hookers playing against adult men. Are there similar development hurdles in NZ?

JR: It's a very good question, and yes we do have similar challenges in New Zealand. I guess the biggest advantage we have over here is that our kids grew up watching the best in the world every day. Boys in particular bodies are always changing until around under 18 and from then on you can get a fairly good indication of who is going to be a world class front rower. It takes 4 years to develop a very good one with full strength and conditioning programs, mental skills etc. Front Rowers can never be strong enough, in particular they need to grow there core and neck strength - this is a constant work on for all of them. The Front Row is the most demanding position on the Rugby field.

TIAR: What do you find to be the most difficult lesson to impart for developing front row players?

JR: For young players it is understanding how to generate power from the ground and how to use their body. For the older players it is getting the technical detail and process in their set up for every scrum.

TIAR: How did you get involved with the Rugby Site?

JR: I met Phill Connelly 4 years ago when I was doing some work for POWA & Rhino Rugby here in New Zealand. I was instantly impressed with Phil's passion, professionalism and where he wanted to take The Rugby Site. Dan Carter is also a very good mate of mine and he told me about it was well.

The content on the Rugby Site is work class and I'm sure it is only going to grow and grow its world wide audience. It has the worlds best players and coaches sharing there skillsets and experience to help players and coaches. It has a real point of difference.

TIAR: Any thoughts on the upcoming coaching clinic in San Francisco? Have you worked with SFGG's Neil Foote or Life West's Adriaan Ferris before?

JR: I can't wait to get to San Francisco. This will be my first time to San Francisco and have only heard great things about Neil & Adrian. I can promise everyone that there will be some great content I will share, and it will be a great weekend of learning and fun

TIAR: The US is developing some very preliminary specialized coaching and infrastructure--mostly around 7s. Do you seen opportunity or space for specialized scrum or lineout coaching in the States?

JR: Most defnitely - my last visit to the States was in Washington & Chicago and I was amazed at some of the athletes that are playing Rugby. Although 7s seems to be a focus I strongly believe the states is huge potential to develop all aspect of rugby. Particaully set piece, & scrummaging.

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