Chairman of Stockholm rugby, Rick la Roche, and long-term rugby enthusiast with Exiles has asked me to post a couple of items about the Haka Rugby Global Camp and the Exiles U14 trip to Scotland. I am happy to do so, although sorry to see that the SRF showed no interest in the Haka project,

Haka Rugby Global Camp

The inaugural Haka Rugby Global camp took place August 12-14 in Sigtuna, attracting nearly 70 rugby players between 10 and 14 from around Sweden. Sigtuna RFC hosted the camp, providing a great pitch and great facilities. The Haka Rugby Global VISION is: “Utilizing Maori CULTURE and RUGBY as a tool to create future world leaders.’’ By using the HRG Haka we try to instill Values, Respect, Mana, Self-confidence and Pride in their everyday life!

The Haka coaches were extremely patient and maintained control over this large group without screaming and yelling. It was all about respect; respect for rugby and its values; respect for the Maori culture and its values; and respect for the Haka, which the players performed with great enthusiasm every time.

Few, if any, knew a single Maori word on Monday morning, but by Wednesday they were singing Maori songs and performing the Haka like they had known them for years. One of the coaches praised the players for learning and embracing the Haka quicker than any other camp before.

Tobias Skagerström, Uppsala Nya Tidning, wrote a wonderful account of the camp (see the Swedish article below). Plans are already underway for the 2020 camp, which will be open for players from 8 to 18. Next year we hope to get players from all over Sweden.

Glädje, maorikultur och rugby

RUGBY Under tre intensiva dagar har Prästängarna fyllts av rugbyspelande barn. Haka Rugby Global arrangerades för första gången i Sverige och 70 deltagare från olika klubbar var på plats.

Tobias Skagerström

05:00 | 2019-08-15

Det är hård kamp om platserna på spelplanen där västarna ska ligga. Det är orange mot blå och det gäller att få tre i rad.

– Lägg den nere till höger! Blocka! Heja heja!

Barnen börjar vid en linje, springer fram, tar en väst och lägger den vid spelplanen. Ibland går det inte att få fram en segrare men ledare håller koll på ställningen på en tavla.

– Vi vill lära, uppfostra och få barnen att växa genom att använda rugby och maorikultur. Vi vill använda båda delarna för att utvecklas både på och utanför planen. Förmedla våra värderingar och förhoppningsvis uppfostra ledare, säger Troy Nathan.

Han är en av grundarna och ledarna på lägret Haka Rugby Global som arrangerats under tre intensiva dagar på Prästängarna i Sigtuna. Klockan nio på morgonen samlades barnen och höll på med aktiviteter till klockan fyra på eftermiddagen.

Under lägret har barnen lärt sig det mesta om rugby, sportens historia och kultur. Lägret inleddes och avslutades med Powhiri som är en traditionell välkomstceremoni hos maorierna som är ursprungsbefolkningen på Nya Zeeland och på schemat stod även att lära sig om maorifolkets kultur och historia.

– Jag föddes med en rugbyboll i handen och det har varit ett sätt att leva för mig sedan till. Det är vad jag känt till och vad som lärt mig om livet. Rugby är en fantastisk sport som gett mig mycket och det är kul att ge tillbaka till andra, säger Troy Nathan.

Lägret grundades i Nya Zeeland och många av ledarna har erfarenhet av spel på hög nivå som bland annat med landslaget.

Tidigare har lägret arrangerats i stora rugbynationer som USA, Japan och Fiji och det här var första gången det hölls i Sverige.

– Det har varit jätteroliga dagar där vi gjort olika rugbyövningar, lärt oss om kulturen och sporten. Jag visste inte mycket om Sverige eller rugbyn här innan vi kom hit. Jag visste vilken nivå landslagen spelar på så det har varit jättekul att se kärleken som finns till sporten här. Att se alla barnen som kommit, tränat och utvecklats, säger Troy Nathan.

Sigtuna IF räknade först med cirka 40 barn på campen men fick snabbt in fler anmälningar och till slut blev det 70 deltagare i åldern 10–14.

Många av barnen kom från Sigtuna IF men även från klubbar som Uppsala, Stockholm och Malmö.

– Det har varit underbara dagar och jättekul att allting gått så bra. Det har varit full fart och rugby hela dagarna, säger John Bennet, ordförande i Sigtuna IF Rugby.

Förhoppningarna är att arrangera lägret även nästa år, då med ännu fler deltagare.

Stockholm Exiles RFC U-14 Tour to Edinburgh, Scotland

The day after the Haka Global Rugby camp ended, our U-14 team and a number of parents headed for Edinburgh to play the Musselburgh RFC U-14 team. This was the third tour abroad by Exiles U-14 teams. The first tour was in 1993 and included three matches in the UK. It’s interesting to note that some of those players – now approaching 40 – have children playing for Exile youth teams today. The second Exile U-14 tour was to Ireland in 2015. Let’s hope the U-14 players from 2015 and today’s team continue to contribute to Exiles RFC in the future.

The first day included a “light” training session, while the second was dedicated to sightseeing and “hill-climbing.” On match day, the boys and girls hopped on a bus and headed to the coastal town of Mussleburgh. Our gracious hosts were ready, and all we needed to do was discuss how we would play the game. Our players had never played on a full pitch, had more than 12 players on the pitch at any time or been allowed to kick from outside the 22-meter line. It seems the Musselburgh team played pretty much the same way seniors do in Sweden. In the end, we decided to play according to their rules to gain some experience.

Luckily, we only played two 20-minute halves. Our players battled valiantly despite the unfamiliar rules, dominating for the first 10 minutes or so and camping out on the Musselburgh 22, much to the shock of our hosts. Our pack was stronger and never retreated a single centimeter. Although we pushed them around quite a bit early on and had a few “near scores” before being stopped, an intercepted pass under windy conditions followed by a grubber from the 10-meter line caught our players by surprise and led to a try.

A second try followed shortly, and Musselburgh looked to be off to the races. Exiles, however, picked up the pace with Marcus Taylor “bulldozing” his way through our opponents to score a try and Liam Ager putting over the conversion (the first ever by the team since we don’t use posts in the U-14 matches) to give a respectable 7-14 score at the half. Playing on a full pitch started to take its toll on the team in the second half, and our lack of experience and fitness began to show.

Musselburgh, who were using to playing on a full pitch, proved to be highly adept at getting the ball out to their wingers and began to slowly pull away. The final score was Musselburgh 45, Exiles 22, with Exiles scoring the last try in the final 30 seconds, thanks to another bruising run by Marcus, who scored all four Exile tries. Marcus and Liam received recognition and awards for their efforts. Despite the final score, our boys and girls fought hard and should be extremely proud of their performance.

The match was played in great spirits, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. The hosts put on a BBQ followed by salad, fruit and a new delicacy for our team – “Stovies,” a traditional Scottish dish made from leftovers. Everyone seemed to love it, and a recipe has already been posted on the U-14 Facebook page. Musselburgh has contacted us about coming to Sweden in the not-too-distant future. This was a fantastic opportunity for the team and for many parents new to rugby to see a proper rugby clubhouse with “all the bells and whistles.” Hopefully, more Exile youth teams will take the opportunity to go on tour.