Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Doing it for Myself

I need to remember this:

I was just browsing during lunch for some inspirational photos and stumbled upon this one. It's so true in my life because I am the biggest pushover known to man. My brain operates in a way where I am so concerned with pleasing everyone else and not being a disappointment that my own needs can be pushed aside. Rugby is one of the few places (if not the only one) where I am full heartedly invested from my own choice and no one else's influence. I am dedicated and so into rugby because i CHOOSE TO BE, not because someone told me to or is standing behind me pushing me to.
Just recently, I was told that one of my parents said about me,
"I don't know how to stop her from thinking about rugby. She structures her life around it too much and it's too important to her."
That was pretty hurtful, because although I've known it all along, so many people in my family do not support my dream of making it far in my rugby career. They make me feel like I am wrong for loving this sport so much, and for finding a passion in life that they do not accept. They have made it to a few games, which I appreciate, but whenever I excitedly bring up the topic of rugby in conversation a frown crosses their face and they look disgusted or annoyed. One family member even said to me earlier this week,
"....have you ever thought about dropping rugby and taking up sailing?" 
It's hard for me to accept rejection in the first place; my whole life I have avoided rejection and disappointment from others whole heartedly. But now, this is one of the first times in my life where I have had to face rejection head on and say, "NO - THIS IS A GOOD THING AND NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF." 
I am so lucky to have my grandfather, who unconditionally cheers me on at rugby games and loves asking me about it. Wherever we go, the first thing he says about me to strangers is, "My granddaughter was the president of the Canisius Women's Rugby team!" He loves coming to my practices and games to take photos. Throughout everything in my life he has always been beyond supportive, but this just goes even deeper than that. My siblings have also been major supports as well.
It's not always easy for me to reassure myself that my commitment to rugby is necessarily right because of how much my family can make it seem like it's wrong. There are so many times where I feel ashamed and like a lunatic for taking it so seriously, and sometimes I feel guilty for thinking that I could make it far in the rugby realm. It makes me think of this line from the movie Rudy (someone that I most personally connect with and am inspired by the most):

...and I can't bare hurting anyone in my family, can't really bare hurting anyone (emotionally, not physically....if I play rugby then not physically hurting anyone is an unrealistic expectation HAH)!! But the thought that my rugby dreams cause the people that I love pain absolutely kills me.
....but also like the quote above, if I don't pursue this now then I will feel remorse and regret forever. I have to at least TRY. At least ONCE (it'll probably be more than once but.....at least once). I don't want to blame anyone else for getting in the way of what I dream to do. If I give up and don't try, then it's nobody's fault but mine (that rhymed).


Inspriring All Blacks Story: Jonah Lomu

First things first: listening to almost any speaking with a New Zealand accent is going to be enticing.

I'll try to give the summary of this amazing individual but I know I'll fail at it.
  • Jonah Lomu is the youngest player to ever be on the All Blacks; he was 19 years old when he first started. 
  • He was a winger that was 6'5 and on average it took 4 PLAYERS TO TACKLE HIM (we've heard of on average one or two players being drawn in to tackle someone, but FOUR?! That's more than half of your team in sevens!!!!). 
  • He has also been used as a prime example of why there are so many issues/inaccuracies with the BMI: his body produced a BMI that would be considered obese.
  • In his career, he has scored 15 tries in the IRB Rugby World Cup, NEVER dropped a pass, and NEVER caused a penalty.
  • He turned down a multimillion dollar contract with the NFL to continue playing rugby
  • He's been considered rugby's first global star
  • He's also rugby's first millionaire
This is a pretty famous picture of him.....unfortunate for Mike Catt of England who is getting pummeled on the ground.

But where Jonah Lomu's true legacy lies is in his dedication and refusal to ever give up.....even when you have a kidney transplant trying to hold you back.
He was on dialysis for 18 MONTHS, and still was able to score two tries in the 1999 World Cup afterwards. These quotes he said about having to handle his illness and still train with the team show how much he was put through:

"It was like falling off a building and suddenly, bang, you hit the bottom. The first time it happened was on an ordinary day at home. I was taking down some curtains. I took one step, turned around, took another step and then I fell and hit my head hard on the rowing machine."

"I was this guy who'd been racing around down there, on that field in 1999, running straight over people, scoring tries, winning games, having fun. And I ended up so sick I couldn't even run past a little baby."

"I was on dialysis for 18 months before the transplant, so it was important I tried to look ahead to days like my comeback this Saturday. You need those big goals to drive you on."

"When I was playing I felt tired all the time. My recovery period was a lot longer than the other players. They'd be ok after an hour - I'd have to stay in bed till the next session."

"Towards the end of 2003 it was hard to get through training - and the darkest point was when a doctor told me there was a possibility I could end up in a wheelchair." (quotes source)

BUT he continued to come back....again......and AGAIN. He's even played through surgery on a shoulder and a broken ankle. Even when he officially retired from the All Blacks and professional rugby, he has continued to play on random teams in Europe and in many charity events. He's a member of the "Champions for Peace" club that contains 54 famous athletes who "serve peace to the world through sport."

No matter how much the odds are stacked against you, even when your body is telling you that rugby isn't in the cards, sheer will can get you pretty damn far.

"I didn't just turn up on the doorstep playing rugby; I had to go through a whole lot of things to get there."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On your mark, get set.........PUSH PLAY!


I have compiled a list of bone-chilling tunes that make me pumped up for rugby down to the core.
***The actual playlist is on the right of the blog so you can listen to all the songs, not sure why they wouldn't let me put both in one post but I ain't complainin' because this hasn't been working for so freakin' long!

I listen to these songs the night before a game, the minute I wake up in the morning before a game, and they're practically the only way I can sometimes stay motivated to keep training. I'll constantly have some sort of rugby related skill pictured in my mind that I am working on. When running on a treadmill, I'll imagine myself on a rugby field either scoring a try, making a game saving tackle, supporting my fellow teammates, chasing after a loose ball, firing at the opposition, etc.

1. Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys
 "She's got both feet on the ground, and she's burning it down....she's got her head in the clouds, and she's not backing down..." Reminds me that I may be reaching for the stars in terms of my personal rugby goals, but I'm continuing to run towards those dreams full speed ahead. I take rugby very seriously because of the practically uncontrollable fiery passion inside of me! This song helps me push through when I'm feeling tired or like I want to give up, and reminds me why I'm able to keep on pushing in the first place - BECAUSE I WANT IT.
SIDE NOTE: To all you Hunger Games fans out there, it's also pretty cool to imagine that scene when Katniss is running for dear life through the fiery woods in the arena....that'll keep your feet movin'.

2. Let There be Rock - AC/DC
AMAZING sprint song. This is by far my first or second best sprint motivator. Moving your legs to the speed of the guitar and drums is unreal! What's also great for intervals is that the moments when Brian Johnson (lead singer) is singing, it's actually pretty tamely paced. It's a good limbo period to keep moving steadily but also to recover for the next guitar solo! AGH my heart is racing!

3. The Man - Aloe Blacc
Celebratory song of accomplishments....because appreciation is important too! I've noted a hundred times before that sometimes I air on the side of criticism a little too much and not enough support. But this song motivates me to believe in myself. 

4. Cat People - David Bowie
WOOF. This song gives me the CHILLS. It's so slow and creepy, but also very explosive. "You wouldn't believe what I've been through..." reminds me of all the hard work I put into rugby, and how people generally don't realize how much fitness goes into rugby. Any Inglorious Basterds fans out there? I can't help but picture the movie scene with this song in the background, here it is (IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT, SPOILER ALERT...MOVE ON!):

Basically the scene is preparation for a battle, like the feeling you get before a rugby game.

5. Oh Boy (Original Mix) - Diplo & GTA
Just a typical pumpin' club mix that keeps you upbeat and energetic. It's also pretty lengthy which is good!

6. Started from the Bottom - Drake
This song also gives me the chills......while it reminds me of all the progress I've personally made, there's also a lot of references to progression as a TEAM. No matter what, whether you've played with the same team your entire life or switched teams, you always need to start somewhere. And it can be difficult hopping onto a team! I have been really lucky to be welcomed in by such friendly teams all over the place, which in general us rugby players are lucky for, but progress as a team is just so sweet.

7. Light 'Em Up - Fall Out Boy
Similar to Girl on Fire, but a different feeling to it. This song has got a little more of a CHARGEEEEEE to it. Fast paced background, and this song also reminds me of HOCKEY SEASON...GAHHHHHHH!!! And the phrase "light 'em up" reminds me of completely laying someone out in a tackle, ha ha. 

8. The Battle - Gladiator Soundtrack
Many people may not identify with this song like I do, and they may even think I'm nuts since it's basically just an orchestra playing. But another major part of my pre-rugby game ritual is to watch the movie Gladiator the night before. I've already ranted on here several times about why I identify the movie so much with rugby, but (as the title hints at) this is another battle preparation song. In a nutshell, it's a captain getting the team revved up and prepared to attack....and the music's tempo pretty much goes "ready....ready....FIREEEEE!!!" as if you're in a defensive line. Just like Let There Be Rock, the pace slows for significant time periods and then suddenly bursts into speed, which is a great thing to practice for rugby.

9. I Love It - Icona Pop
HAH another cliche upbeat song. But deep down, I try to think of all the tests and trials I go through for rugby when hearing this song and then they all wash away at the chorus of "I DON'T CARE, I LOVE IT [RUGBY]!" Need to wake myself up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday morning to get a run in before the 90 degree weather hits? I DON'T CARE, I LOVE IT [RUGBY]!

10. You're The Best Around - Joe Esposito
Well first off, there goes without saying that The Karate Kid is one of the greatest sports movies of all time so anything that will remind you of it is already a winner (.....and if you think I mean The Karate Kid with Jayden Smith I WILL END YOU. I MEAN THE ORIGINAL). This song is a great mix of inspiring confidence and perseverance. Don't let anything bring you down! Even if someone sweeps your leg.....

11. Stronger - Kanye West
Well duh. This is also cliche but hey...it's cliche for a reason. Upbeat, catchy, and a good message. What more can you ask for?

12. Rollin' - Limp Bizkit 
The beginning lyrics of the song are already a bunch of things you say to yourself and your teammates on the field:
Move in now move out
Hands up now hands down
Back up, back up
Tell me what you're gonna do now
Breath in now breath out
Hands up now hands down
Back up, back up
Tell me what you're gonna do now
Then it goes into the chorus of KEEP ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' ROLLIN' which is what us rugger probably do best - keep on truckin' and movin' forward! Also, it reminds me of NHL Hits 2002 (bahahahhaha), so any hockey reference will get me pumped up.

13. My Way - Limp Bizkit
Another song that builds. Also talks about overcoming odds and crushing the opposition. So explosive!

14. Midnight City - M83
Probably one of the slower songs on the list, but another hockey reference because it reminds me of the playoffs. I think it's also to be sure to include some of these songs that still have a decent tempo but aren't really that fast so you can make it through the long haul.

15. Number One - Nelly
HAH come on. You have to.

16. Just a Girl - No Doubt
My 5th grade anthem hasn't left me yet! Although this pump up song may be a little more gender specific towards the women ruggers, either way it's a pretty fast pace to rev your engine. I also really identify with anything related to an underdog, because that's where I thrive the most. I like exceeding people's expectations of me when they're expecting me to mess up or do nothing :)

17. Self Esteem - The Offspring
I'm pretty surprised with myself that The Offspring hasn't come up sooner on this list, because overall The Offspring make up the most of my workout music BY FAR. This one is another filler for long runs, but it's still pretty amped up. And the lyric "that's okay because I like the abuse" gives me a no pain no gain mentality.

18. The Kids Aren't Alright - The Offspring
SO fast paced, it's great. I can hardly picture in my head moving my legs to the pace of the music! ALSO, "nothing's free" - progress in rugby isn't just going to come to you for "free," there's quite a price you have to pay.

19. You're Gonna Go Far Kid - The Offspring
This is up there with Let There Be Rock for my top two sprint songs. It just makes me constantly keep going....and going.....and going......and going................and although if you "hit 'em right between the eyes" in rugby you'll end up in the sin bin, picturing a hard hit in the form of a great tackle energizes me beyond belief.

20. Last Resort - Papa Roach 
This reminds me of how much I HATE it when I'm not in tip top shape and I'm in the middle of a game feeling like I'm on my "last resort." That feeling of wanting to run farther and faster but your legs feel like cement is the WORST. It especially kills me when I see a teammate running without any support and there's just no way I'm going to be able to catch up. AGH can't stand it.

21. Icky Thump - The White Stripes 
The music itself is enough to pump  you up, but I like how it pumps you up from a slower pace. It's almost like conserving your energy so you can keep plowing through people for a longer period of time. I also can't help but picture Mark Wahlberg sliding across a glass table and shooting guns at people from The Other Guys - that's an adrenaline revving image! Here's the scene I'm talking about for anyone who hasn't seen the movie:

22. Seven Nation Army - The White Stripes
Amazing message about not letting anything hold you back. Can you imagine going up against seven nations?! This song helps me picture some of the biggest obstacles in my personal life and pushing right though them.......great for on and off the field!

23. The Kraken - Pirates of the Caribbean Sountrack
Very similar to "The Battle" from Gladiator, this song has some great progressions from very slow to VERY FAST. There's even some parts that keep the fast pace going for at least a few minutes right in the middle of the song, so in between already doing intervals at a point where you're already pretty tired this part can FIRE YOU UP to have another outburst. Our coach was already telling us that we should be adding in a faster pace in the middle of our run to burst through when we're already pretty tired, so this song can definitely aid in that.

What do YOU listen to for your workouts and amp up sessions before games?! The list can never get too long, the more the merrier.


Soo I guess the playlist will be displayed on the side of the blog....FOREVAH! Play on my friends.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Yet another family to add to the mix :)

We earned 3rd place in our tournament this weekend and won ourselves a piece of dinnerware....the bowl!!!
...dinnerware...with Lucky Charms in it, you ask?
And I say, Lucky Charms is the dinner of champions you fool.

We played some tough competition, had some fabulous weather, and a great time was achieved by all. It was a 10s tournament with teams coming as far as from neighboring states. There were some blowout games and some nail biters. It was great to finally see everyone's talents in action, and learn about everyone's different playing styles.

What I also love about rugby tournaments is that while you're not playing in your own game, there's constantly opportunity to still improve yourself through watching other games going on in your down time. Spectating rugby is a great way to gain knowledge from a bird's eye view while also picking up on the frequencies of potential opponents.
***I need to just start carrying around a designated rugby journal, because I try to quickly type things into my phone that I'm learning but since it's so quick I keep telling myself "I'll write that down later," never do actually write it down, and then my Dory-esque memory forgets it right away.

There's so many different things you may not catch when you're in the game since (clearly) you're not fully able to take in the entire picture. Of course that's the goal while playing, to be aware of the field in its entirety, but you're focusing so much on your own job that spectating allows you to focus on what everyone else is doing and learn from it. There's no substitution for learning through playing, but there's opportunities around every corner for you to continue improving your game and you may not even realize it!

Personally, (I need to work on being strengths based so I'll start it out here) what I am most proud of with my playing throughout the tournament was that I feel that the majority (definitely not always, but at least more often than not) of the time I was on the field I did everything I could to support my teammates. That is constantly my goal in rugby. In the photos taken of all our rugby games (thanks Hilary, they're really helpful!!), I'm glad I was able to find multiple photos not of me specifically doing anything glamorous or being front and center, but there were some pictures of me right behind a teammate working hard and giving it her all. Whether she was on offense plowing through defenders and I was there ready to ruck over the ball if she got tackled or I was right next to a teammate on defense making an amazing tackle and ready to stop the next play, I never want anyone's hard work to go to waste:

Seeing a turnover happen from a teammate having no support with her is more painful to me than hearing nails on a chalkboard or being burned alive. It is one of my biggest peeves that I absolutely cannot stand.
Here is an example via photo:

Morgan blasts through at least a third of the opposition for our team on offense and gains what? NOTHING!
Multiple times by multiple people, my teammates would break through the defense and be off to the races but occasionally slowed down or tackled by a defender. Even if they are slowed down by a defender and then met by other defenders, their extremely hard work can be stolen from them with no reward for what they're putting in.
It's beyond irrational to expect your teammate to score every time she/he is a badass and makes it onto a breakaway.

On the flip side, it is also irrational to take a breather when your teammate makes a bone-crunching tackle. For a split second many people may think "Okay, the ball has been stopped on offense and they're not moving forward," but in that same split second an offload can occur, a ruck can be lost, someone can pick and go the ball, and suddenly you just gave away at least 5 points......all in less than a second. When a teammate is able to deny the opposition a breakaway, it's (obviously) such a major sigh of relief and full out HALLELUJAH at the same time because an easy 5 points has been prolonged at least a little more. But then a support player or the tackled player can truck right on into the try zone just as easily afterwards and take away the amazing feat your teammate just accomplished.
You really do need to be always thinking one step ahead, always about what's coming next.

....and as I learned the hard way at one point in a game, YOU NEED TO KNOW THE RULES.

SIDE NOTE: I think this picture is HILARIOUS. I look like I was completely caught red handed murdering someone with nowhere to hide. The real back story, however, is that the referee 'twas not calling obstruction the entire game but just through sheer habit when one of my teammates ran behind me I threw my arms up in the air to show I was not blocking anyone.

I made quite a blunder in one of our last games, and it was completely through hesitation of not knowing what the exact ruling was. The other team ended up scoring the next play or two afterwards, so I feel I need to share the experience so no one else makes the same mistake:

SCENARIO: It was a long kickoff that went as far back as one of our deepest positioned forwards (in the last row of players of the exploded scrum). The ball looked like it was going to drop, but it had some extra umph on it and ended up going over her head when she tried to catch it. In true personal fashion I was en route to running behind her and preparing to support her for if/when she caught the ball and ran with it. When the ball ended up going over her head, I ran towards the ball that was rolling into the opposition's try zone. At that moment, my mind froze at the question of "Do I pick the ball up and still try to run it even though I'm on the opposite end of the field and the defense is currently charging full speed at me, touch it down in the try zone, or let it roll out of bounds?" I was completely stuck and at the same time heard one of my teammates yell not to touch it and let it roll out of bounds, so I immediately did it. THAT WAS A BIG MISTAKE. 

RESULT: Because the ball had already been touched by our receiving team, that meant the ball was live. Allowing for the ball to roll out of bounds caused it to be placed where the ball had landed, which was pretty much 2 meters before the try line. What was supposed to be our opportunity for an offensive attack suddenly turned into a desperate attempt at defense starting right on the try line. They scored in probably less than 30 seconds.

WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN DONE: I should've just ran the ball. Running the ball would have still been a beyotch, but it still would have been more yards than where the opposition got to set up their offense. That's pretty much the only other option I really had because the ball was considered live. I only would've been able to touch the ball down into the try zone if the ball was still dead/hadn't been touched by any other player.
 Touching the ball down into the try zone would have had to been done IMMEDIATELY. 
If you immediately touch the ball down into the try zone then the referee will give the option of a re-kick or a scrum.
BUT if you hesitate to touch it down then the referee will consider that as you making a decision to play on, and the ball will still be live....in the opposition's try zone!
Here's the actual rugby law (source: IRB Laws website):
13.9 Ball goes into the in-goal
(a) If the ball is kicked into the opponents’ in-goal without having touched or been touched by a player, the opposing team has three choices:
  • To ground the ball, or
  • To make it dead, or
  • To play on.
***STOP RIGHT THERE. Because the ball was touched, THERE IS NO CHOICE BUT TO PLAY ON. Everything else that follows ONLY applies if the ball hasn't been touched yet. 

(b) If the opposing team grounds the ball, or if they make it dead, or if the ball becomes dead by going into touch-in-goal, or on or over the dead ball line, they have  two choices:
  •  To have a scrum formed at the centre, and they throw in the ball, or
  • To have the other team kick off again.
(c) If they opt to ground the ball or make it dead, they must do so without delay. Any other action with the ball by a defending player means the player has elected to play on.
(d) If the ball does not travel ten metres and ends up in the kicking team's in-goal and:
  • it is made dead by a defending player, or
  • the ball goes into touch in goal, or
  • lands on or over the dead ball line;
a 5-metre scrum is awarded and the attacking team throw in.

Disclaimer: I am, nor am I anywhere near, up to par on all the rules or close to being a referee. If any of my super-intelligent and/or reffing rugby pals see anything I wrote above that's incorrect or know I missed something, PLEASE enlighten us and leave a comment or something....or even just contact me and I'll change it! 

...that was a lot of work to explain one random fuck up, ha ha. But it's definitely worth it to understand the rules fully so you don't make as many mistakes via hesitation. Knowledge is a powerful tool! I've referred to this website probably a hundred times, but the IRB Rugby Ready website is a great place to keep up with your rugby knowledge and 100% FREEEEEEEEEEE. 

And one last shout out to my good ol' SOUTH BUFFALO WOMEN'S RUGBY team that has been kickin' ass and taking names. They're all over Facebook with team photos and tournament updates which makes my heart cry because I think about them all the time. But I cannot convey how incredibly lucky I am to have already started to develop another family right here in my own backyard with NORTH SHORE WOMEN'S RUGBY. Someday I shall get both of these teams to face off with a rugby match and a boat race....and it shall be GLORIOUS!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pledge Allegiance to The Struggle.

AGH I wanna go to NYC and play in the Liberty Cup with South Buffalo Women's Rugby soooo bad....but it's not lookin' good :( wahhhh

Sooner rather than later, however, I will be in a stage where I am [hopefully] able to jet off to whatever tourney calls my name. But in the mean time, I'm really lucky to be playing with North Shore Women's Rugby full time and also engaging in full time CrossFit.

ONCE AGAIN, at practice today the running whooped my ass. It even made me ANGRY, because I worked so friggin' hard all this week at CrossFit while also fitting in some pretty long runs. It was more of a positive angry, though, more like "WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING THAT THIS RUN IS SO HARD?!"
No fucking idea. But clearly I've gotta do more.
And I can't be too disappointed, because like I described in the previous post, I haven't been working out this hard in a LONGGGG TIME. I'm glad that I can dedicate the time and energy to it now! It'll come...it's only been a week of hard training. Someday...someday...
So this run-that-kicked-my-ass which I am speaking of - I will share it with you all so you can put your own team through this misery/wonderful training as well:
It's not complicated, really it was just an indian sprint...
....three times (3 long ass laps of them)...
....with a single file line of 6-7 people each (doesn't sound like a lot but it is)
....with push ups, burpees, and star jumps in between each sprint....

We did a myriad of great offloading drills, focusing on the different ways that you can offload after being tackled and the communication that goes on behind it. Some great quotes about this skill that the coach said were:
"You should be so far back [steep] that you're thinking 'OH SHIT I'M NOT GONNA MAKE IT.'"
This is such a clear cut and great way to sum up your own positioning to receive the ball because if you have that mentality of potentially not making it to the breakdown in time, then obviously you will be running full speed into the pass. So many times people receive an offload pass at a slower pace because they're not steep enough, and that causes zero effort on the defense to stop that. You waste time and energy and it feels like running into a brick wall a hundred times with no breakthrough. No fun!
"The only way you're allowed to pass with one hand is if you're a New Zealander or your hands are the size of dinner plates."
This sounds obvious but it's not; of course with adrenalin kicking in and s the sheer instinct to act fast, many people make ridiculous one handed passes that sometimes work out but most of the time end up a hot mess. Already a rugby ball in itself is pretty large, so it really only helps to keep both hands on the ball while passing. There's no harm that can be done! The more I think about it, passing with two hands probably also protects you a little more from landing directly on your hands or wrists; it's almost a natural way of forcing you to be tackled properly
***(I have NOT landed properly before and suffered some dire consequences.....)

There were also some distinctions made about differences in ball handling when it comes to 15s and when it comes to 10s or 7s. I've already touched on this before, but in 7s and 10s the game is absolutely NOT about crashing: it's really all about finesse and skill, finding ways to create gaps and overloads. I will distinctly always remember from Vegas 7s when watching Japan Womens Rugby play, sometimes it looked like they were in slow motion for a moment just to take that extra second and figure out where the ball is headed next. They would receive a pass, take about two almost gliding/slow motion steps, and then BAM react quickly.

But one tactic I believe can be used universally throughout all the types of rugby play is that if all else fails/no one is in support/don't know what to do next with the ball: STAY STANDING. Keep pumping and holding your ground until an opportunity arises (or until you absolutely can't stay standing....or until you actually end up breaking though the tackle!).

I also had a monumental first positive experience with SPEED BALL at practice. Normally whenever I hear someone say we are about to engage in speed ball...........

In the past it's driven me CRAZY that we spent our time on a scrimmaging drill that involved NO TACKLING, but this was by far one of the first times where the usefulness of speed ball actually came into the light. I will go into as much detail as I can remember about what I gathered from playing speed ball and how you can implement it into your own team's practice:
- the focus is all about ball movement and offloading quickly
- when the defense tags the offense/whoever is carrying the ball twice: TURNOVER
- knock on/forward pass/dropped pass: TURNOVER
- the goal is NOT to go into contact (hence the quick ball movement)
- look for gaps and where the ball is going next
- keep your SPACING on defense by not committing more than one person to a tackle and filling all possible lanes

This seems to stray away from a lot of the type of playing done by the forwards (hence my previous distaste for speed ball), but in the end these are skills that can be used in all positions and all types of rugby playing. And in the end, rugby is rugby, so how can you possibly complain?