On a cold January day, with the spring collegiate and senior seasons approaching quickly, rugby players and coaches began to shake off their rust as the Pittsburgh Highlanders held a women’s winter skills camp at the Greentree Sportsplex in Pittsburgh’s west hills. Highlander coaches, veterans and alumni, many of whom coach at various levels around the ARU, hosted players from many of the area’s collegiate programs in addition to Highlander women’s senior side rookies.
The day began with offensive drills that focused on the basics of passing, simple decision making and rucking before moving the focus to defensive drills. Here, players worked on fundamental and safe tackling, defensive positioning and awareness. After discussing the new amendments to tackle law, the finally part of the camp saw forwards practice proper body positioning from scrummaging and backs work on footwork and hands skills. All of the players involved were pleased with the workout and training. The Highlanders hope to make this training an annual event for the benefit of area women’s rugby.
Many thanks to the Highlander coaches who ran the skills clinic:
Andrew “Lurch” Chapman – Level 200 certified coach and a current player for the Highlander Men; Andrew was the club’s captain from 2014 – 2015.
Hannah “Muscles” Chapman – Level 200 certified coach and current club captain for the Highlander Women.
Kevin Dell – Head Coach of the Highlander Women and player for the Highlander Men.
Dan “Snuggles” Houlihan – Assistant Coach for Kiski Valley High School Boys and a certified referee for the ARURS; Dan is a former Highlander Men’s player and captain from 2011 – 2012.
Erica “Yanni” Houlihan – Head Coach for Kiski Valley High School Girls and Indiana University of PA Women; Erica is a current player for the Highlander Women.
Kiyomi Knox – former Head Coach of Clarion University Women and a current player for Highlander Women; Kiyomi also serves as the Collegiate Coordinator for the Allegheny Rugby Union.
Bill Marnell – Head Coach of the Highlander Men and California University of PA Men; Bill is also a player for the Highlander men and a certified referee for the ARURS.
Brittany Marnell – Head Coach of the California University of PA Women and currently a player for Highlanders Women.
Michael Rennie – Level 200 certified coach and a current player for the Highlander Men.
Brian Scanlon – Level 200 certified coach and a former coach for California University of PA Men & Women as well as the former coach of the Highlander Men.