COLUMBUS, OH – Tiger Rugby has been on fire lately, with a bushel of announcements which have left some tongues wagging across the United States… and now around the world. Indeed, star pupils such as Speed Stick Perry Baker (who is dominating the HSBC Sevens series) and Mighty Joe Taufete’e, who has GREAT HAIR and is the new wunderkind of the Premiership in England are but a smidgen (over 5o capped) of Eagles that have come through Tiger since its 2007 inception. Moreover, if you believe owners James Walker and Paul Holmes, just a curtain raiser for the main event to follow. With that kind of track record one would think that they would be hard pressed to make much more than incremental improvements to their system, but then 2017 happened and everything changed again.
Suddenly, there are world class Tiger coaches across the country, identifying, developing and providing opportunities from Chicago to Austin. Even better, Tiger has partnered with the top other American development brands such as NorthEast Academy, ARPTC and Rugby Utah, to share the same solid services as they offer to their traditional markets. There are full-time Tiger coaches living and working in Southern California, Northern California, Texas, Ohio, Illinois, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida and if our intel is correct… soon to be Mid Atlantic. Tigers’ mission of a clearly defined Professional Player Development Pathway seems to be more than a flight of fancy.
Tiger owner James Walker says of the partnerships,” It’s been frustrating at times cutting through the political red tape and provincialism that comes along with the American Rugby landscape. Quite frankly it’s one of the reasons that we started Tiger Rugby in the first place. We desperately needed a place that put the players first plain and simple…. that has always been the core of our philosophy. Too many coaches and administrators are more concerned about their own self-interest, and it’s always the players that suffer. Our new partnerships are with folks that have been carefully vetted, and have shown a commitment to their players first and foremost.”
So what can we expect from Tiger in the coming year? Walker again – “Now that we have a firmed up the relationships, and have the best coaches in the U.S all working together to identify talent into our development pathway, we have been focusing on creating the opportunities for the athletes to shine. We are working with our partners to create a series of day camps, and residency clinics across the United States where players can trust that there are next identifiable steps for them to aspire to. To this end we are aggregating a global calendar which will include tours from both Tiger and its partners with very specific dates that men and women will be able to be selected for, including several international destinations to be named very soon.”
Perhaps more exciting for the growth of rugby in this country is the commitment by the group to also focus on creating more opportunities for coaches and administrators. With their announcement of the creation of a residency Tiger Academy at the home of the world champion Blitzbokke in Stellenbosch, South Africa, as well as the partnership with TheRugbySite.com out of New Zealand, Tiger Rugby affiliate programs will truly have an incredible array of resources to tap into. “Our affiliate program is really coming along nicely,” said Paul Holmes. “We have almost 400 clubs across the country that we are helping now, and with these new partnerships we intend to give them even more levels of access. Our recent tour with Graham Henry was a direct result of the partnership with TheRugbySite guys, and we are already working on making it the first of many, with another big-name coach touring with us here in September. Joining the affiliate program is free, and gives many perks to clubs, coaches and players that can’t be found elsewhere.”
“The year kicks off with our flagship High and Elite performance camps at the world class IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida next month, That will be followed by a men’s and women’s tour to the Cancun 7’s. After that, we are selecting two Tiger Cubs u19’s teams (East and West) to play against 8 visiting South African High School select teams in Dallas in the middle of July, before finishing the summer at the Serevi 7’s in Glendale. A busy international season will then follow, with standouts being offered opportunities to train in South Africa and play at the Dubai Invitational later in the year. Athletes who shine at our camps will get seen, and will get opportunities……it’s as simple as that.”
Even with all these announcements coming in such rapid succession, Walker and Holmes guaranteed that there are still many more developments to come. Based on their track record to this point, we simply cannot wait to hear more.
Coaches or Administrators interested in their affiliate program along with special pricing and discounts for camps can email James Walker directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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