Saturday, October 17, 2015

back to the beginning

Autumn has brought a flurry of excitement as rugby season is now underway. For anyone wondering where I have been other than hiking with the furbabies, I have been busy with club administration. My club, SCAA Causeway Bay, took inventory of where we stood and have decided to continue on our pathway as a competitive, amateur club. Our several seasons in the Premiership left our club with deep wounds but we are now in a very good position, having rebuilt; and while always looking for opportunity, we are happy to be where we are now.

In some ways, our foray into premiership level rugby was successful. We were a club with a majority of local players and very few resources compared to the other premiership powerhouses, but when we exited the premiership, we were not in last place. We never broke into the top half, but we did manage to develop quite a number of young players into elite athletes who were quickly snatched up by the top teams. In one year alone, six of our players were lured away by high paying premiership clubs and while this was the final nail in our coffin, it showed that our talent development program was a success; just we didn't have the funds to retain the talent that we developed.

The big problem though, was that the time and effort and expense that were required to field a top level team was costly in terms of our core values. Many clubs import professional players, and we had to do the same, yet this went against our ethos as a local, inclusive team. Since exiting the premiership, we have worked hard to make amends and rebuild our base of supportive, team oriented players. We still develop top level local players who are still snatched up by paying clubs, but since we don't compete at the premiership level anymore, we can grudgingly let them go to seek higher level (and compensated) competition.

One day if the right offer comes along, we would consider throwing our hats in the ring and rejoining the premiership, but for now I think that we are where we need to be: at the top of the amateur league with a successful program that produces top level local players who sometimes go on to play at the top level of the sport in Hong Kong.

And while we can't claim too much credit for this player's development, we are the only club that can boast having a former player who is currently playing in the rugby world cup. Hint: he's also the heaviest player in the tournament.

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