Junior All Americans Sean Coleman (L), Steven Branham (R), and the Wildcats now transition to preseason Fifteens and Sevens.
Aug 24- Arizona Rugby concluded their 2016 training camp this past weekend, with both returners and recruits moving in early to get the year underway.
The Wildcats welcomed back nearly 50 returners to campus, as well as 30 recruits who join the program from all across the country and the globe. Head Coach Sean Duffy commended all of the players for their hard work, singling out a few who stepped up during the sessions. "It was great to have the boys back in training this past week and we have young guys who are growing up before our eyes into leaders" said Duffy "Kyle Rogers is a key guy for us with his leadership from the front, and others such as Shane Dempsey and Jonah Eldridge take ownership in that backline. In the Forwards, our young crew is growing up, as guys like Sean Coleman, Steven Branham, and Ryan Fitzpatrick are pushing the tempo."
The performances in camp were stellar, with a few freshmen turning heads in their first go around as Wildcats. "A few Freshmen caught the eye of the coaching staff, with Ben Scoular (UK) and Jake Hedge (Australia) being two of our international prospects who have merged into the group really well. Korbin Miller is another whose pace and effort was evident on day one and he's continued to grow each session" said Duffy. In addition, a handful of walk-ons were invited to camp, with their collective Rugby experience showing well.
The camp concluded with an Olympic-themed team building event won by Team So Cal, who defeated Nor Cal, East Coast, United Nations, and Mountain/Midwest. "Had a little fun at the end of camp, gave the guys a reward for their hard work and helped bring the team closer" said Duffy.
The Wildcats now shift to their all-important preseason, as they have both Fifteens friendlies and Sevens tournaments lined up for the Fall semester, including the 2016 PAC Rugby Sevens Championship in Tucson. In addition, they will hold their walk-on period the first three weeks of classes, opening up opportunities for crossover athletes to join the program. The Arizona Fall schedule will be announced shortly, with the regular season schedule to be released in October.