Women’s touch squad for W.C. showing huge improvement

By Thomas Airey ,

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Coach Geoff Hooper runs Samoa women’s touch training at N.U.S. Fields last week.

Coach Geoff Hooper runs Samoa women’s touch training at N.U.S. Fields last week. (Photo: Samoa Touch Rugby Incorporated)

The Samoa women’s open touch coach said the World Cup squad have progressed massively since he was last on the island for a training camp.

Coach Geoff Hooper came over from Australia with his family to run a week-long training camp which ended last Saturday.

He said the work he’d been doing with the squad seemed to all click that day.

“Just today they progressed further than they had all week.”

“We actually started on some of the advanced stuff defensively that we do in Australia.”

The squad will now continue to work towards the World Cup in April, with Hooper returning to Samoa about two weeks before they fly out for Malaysia.

“For the next 12 weeks they’ll do their training programme, three times a week they’ll do their fitness, then work on the skills we did during the week at the end of those sessions.”

“It’s basically the same as the Australian open women’s programme, just adapted for these girls.”

He said now that they have started to grasp a specific attacking style which works at the highest level, the squad can now work on it themselves.

“It’s still a work in progress, they can do it 80% of the time so we need to get that higher.”

“What we did today will beat half of the sides at the World Cup, that rucking pattern and how we defended, sides don’t know it or how to adjust to it.”

He said the team will then be able to look at more advanced skills and decision making at the next camp.

“I can then start to adapt it to certain styles or opponents.”

“To then get from 8th into the top 5, we’ve gotta be a bit more adaptive or flexible in what we do.”

The team have organised to play friendlies against Scotland and South Africa as warm ups, and are looking for a third team to play before the World Cup starts.

“South Africa will be around that top 5 side, so that gives us a chance to test ourselves before going in to the tournament itself,” said Hooper.

He said the team have come back to training after time off over Christmas in about the same place.

“The base level of fitness is still there, that was where we got after the first 10-12 weeks of the programme.”

Hooper said with the girls training harder and harder as the week went on, they’ll now be ready for the next phase of training.

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