Australian Men’s and Women’s Rugby Sevens Player Development Manager (PDM) Gina Rees continues to look for ways to broaden the professional experience of players in the programs.
As a RUPA-employed PDM, Gina is tasked with assisting players in expanding their horizons away from Rugby through skill development, training and education, as well as playing a pivotal role in their wellbeing and mental health.
This week, she took advantage of a rare opportunity to bring the men’s and women’s programs together to complete their Foundation Referee Course and Level One Coaching.
The sessions were run by Michael Magriplis (ARU National Coaching Development Manager) and Jamie McGregor (ARU National Referees Development Manager), and players have the ability to now complete some practical assessments if they wish to advance on to the next Level of qualification in either Coaching or Refereeing.
It represents an opportunity for them to head in that direction at the end of their Rugby careers and to utilise the skillsets and qualifications when conducting clinics, school and Club visits while representing their squad.
Australian Women’s Rugby Sevens young gun Shanice Parker said that it was an enjoyable and informative afternoon, paying tribute to Gina for taking the lead and making it happen.
“From a personal point of view, knowing and understanding the laws of Rugby better will help me to be a better player,” she explained.
“I am definitely going to follow through and get the formal qualifications, it’s a great thing for me to have in the future and who knows how I will be able to use it, so I am really grateful Gina organised this afternoon.”
Parker paid tribute to the overall support provided by Gina, and praised her for getting both programs together when there was a gap in the schedule which permitted.
“Gina is awesome, I see her as somebody I can go to whenever I need help and she helps organise so much for all of us and supports us so well; we really appreciate her,” Parker said.
“I’ve been in the program for a year and I would say that this is the first time that the girls and boys have actually mixed together and shared their thoughts as one group. It was really different, but I think that both groups were feeding off each other; the boys were teaching us some stuff which we didn’t know, and I think Charlotte (Caslick) put them in their place a couple of times which was really good.”
RUPA employ a Player Development Program full-time within each of the professional Rugby programs in Australia; for more information about RUPA’s Player Development Program, click here.