Tour Diary: Kingsley McGowan (Part One)

Posted: January 8, 2016 in Uncategorized
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Kingsley McGowan is a member of the current USA Men’s 7’s team that is touring south America at the moment. He is based in Dublin, Ireland, playing rugby with Trinity College, Dublin.

5th January, 2016

We met in Houston, Texas, for our flight over to Buenos Aires in Argentina There is a good group of guys here; three or four college guys and then the rest are graduated. A few of the guys here are now full-time at the Olympic Training Center.

Once we landed in Buenos Aires I realized I wasn’t in Ireland anymore. At 10AM it was 20 degrees Celsius. Once we gathered all of our bags we got on a bus and travelled 5 hours south to Mar Del Plata with the South Africa National Development team that’s here as well. They’re good guys, it seems.

First training session tomorrow morning. After all this travel it will be good to get the legs moving again. Long day.

6th & 7th January, 2016

First day in training was pretty rough. We had two sessions to start with. First session was attack and getting the basics, getting the feet back moving under you as 20 hours of travel can be pretty rough. Second session of the day was more position work; going through the phases, going the width of the field and then coming back the opposite way, ball in hand, how you position yourself when you’re receiving ball, how you should align prior to receiving the ball. We also did set-piece work, off lineouts and scrums, so it was basically attack for the day.

Today was defense. We had a gym session first which was pretty cool, working with the team in the gym. Second session was defence, specifically in the breakdown area, as a lot of the other teams are pretty strong in the breakdown. We worked on communication from the second tackler to the first tackler-in terms of rolling away, getting up and trying to poach the ball or just in terms of getting up and getting everyone to drive through. We also worked on communication from the attack side as well, in terms of the man with ball-in-hand and where he could expect his support to be, which was good to see.

The most important aspect we worked on was tracking, so if you see a guy running, you have to think about what angle he and you are running, where you should run, where your feet should be pointing and things of that nature.

Tomorrow is defence again, but it’s phase defence. This is a wave defence, so it’s how we position the first, second and third defender in regards to the opposition ball carrier.

A cool thing about being here is seeing how serious rugby is taken in south America. Argentina is big on rugby and we’ve been stopped a few times by people calling “Los Pumas!” and getting in our faces and whatnot so it’s been pretty interesting. I love being here and getting back in the 7’s environment, it’s an Olympic year and rugby hasn’t been an Olympic event since the 1920’s.

It’s a big year for me, to put myself back in the Olympic pool of players, going out playing to get myself in. I’d love to get back involved with the system and hopefully make a push for an Olympic spot. So this is kind of the beginning of my journey essentially. I mean, my journey began four years ago when they announced it but now that it’s here it’s real, so I’m going to try to make a push for it; whether it’s realistic or not, I don’t know yet, but I’m really going to go for it.

The guys are great, everyone is quality. The guys just think “OK, let’s play, let’s have fun”. It’s different being in a hotel with South Africa, Chile and Argentina, and Canada arrived today so that’s been different. I’m not really accustomed to, not necessarily hanging out with opponents, but being near opponents and things of that nature so it’s a bit different. One thing that’s extremely unusual is we take the bus with South Africa to trainings and that’s been kind of different. But it’s interesting; we get to look at their sessions and see what they’re doing, see if it mirrors us. It’s cool to see how the systems within 7’s play.

I’m definitely happy to get going this weekend. Our pool this weekend is Brazil, Chile, and Argentina in that order. So we have the south Americans, which will be a big test for us, one we’re all looking forward to, and we’ll see how it goes.

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  1. […] Tour Diary: Kingsley McGowan (Part One) […]

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