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2001 (July) Invited skills coach - TOSHIBA Fuchu Rugby Football Club, Tokyo, Japan

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I was invited by Head Coach of TOSHIBA Rugby, Andrew McCormick to spend some time with his squad during their pre-season preparation for the 2001 season. TOSHIBA competes in the national corporate teams competition and has previously won the 1997, 1998 and 1999 national championship.

My role was to help develop the squad's overall skill level, decision making and general individual and team defence. As with all my other coaching experiences with professional rugby union teams, there is a belief from many rugby coaches that rugby league still has a lot to offer due to its typically stronger individual defence and the fact that its been professional for a lot longer.

The squad of 43 players contains three "foreign" players and a number of players who have represented Japan internationally. In fact, Andrew was the Captain of Japan in the 1999 World Cup played in Wales. Andrew played for TOSHIBA for approximately 8 years and took over as Head Coach 2000. The entire set up at TOSHIBA rugby is very impressive - the team has a budget greater than most clubs competing in the Australian National Rugby League competition.

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It was very hot and humid during my stay (most days around 35oC) but fortunately because the players are considered semi-professional and effectively work for TOSHIBA, we only trained in the evenings when it was a little cooler. Overall this was an amazing experience and I found the players to be very skilled and eager to listen and learn.

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