Can US Rugby Coach Mike Friday transform India’s U17 Team? | The Z Team

Can US Rugby Coach Mike Friday transform India’s U17 Team? | The Z Team

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Tackle! – Believe, be confident.
– India! (THE Z TEAM) (MUMBAI, INDIA) India is a country
of cricket lovers. These girls want to change
that. They’re India’s
under-17 Rugby sevens side. They’re one of the lowest
ranked countries in the world and have won
nothing in the sport. Now, they’re trying to qualify
for the Youth Olympic Games, somehow they need
to drastically improve. I wouldn’t say everything is
as it should be in our team. Some of us are bad at
passing. Not everyone in
the team is equally skilled. Some are weak at passing. Passing is not their only
problem. Our weak point is
communication. There is a bit of a language
problem in our conversations. The girls come from
all over the country. From different backgrounds,
different languages, so communication is something that they will have
to work on. But these players are used
to hard work. Many of them come from India’s
poorest communities. I see talent today
in this country that is just from the grass roots. It’s the greatest social flip
that you can find in rugby, which started off being
a posh person’s sport. It’s played by kids from
Nagpur, kids from the hinterland, kids from tribal areas. We have girls from Orissa –
it is full of different, different tribes. Their families
will be out of the forest maybe you know three, four
generations ago. It’s a very poor state,
they won’t have enough food on the table, they never
get nutrition at a young age, so that’s why
our girls are so small. They’re going to have
much bigger opponents from Kazakhstan,
from Japan, Hong Kong, so we need to work
a lot on defence. Being small has not helped
their confidence in tackling. The worst thing in our team is
that if the opposing team is in attack-mode
and we are defending, no one will initiate a chase. In one week, the team travels
to Dubai to compete against 11 other Asian nations
in a Youth Olympic Games qualifying tournament. Unfortunately only
one team qualifies from Asia. They have only
played two or three international matches so they
don’t have much experience. It’s going to be a
tough ask from the girls. It’s one of the biggest
tournaments that these girls have ever played in. The girls don’t know it,
but a current Olympic coach is on his way to help. Mike Friday is Head Coach
of the USA Rugby sevens team. With a wealth of international
experience training England and Kenya,
Mike led the Americans to the Rio games
while transforming them into one of the
world’s top five sides. Morning 1, Mumbai,
first time in India. I don’t know what to expect.
When I signed up for it, I was up for being
uncomfortable. I think this is definitely
going to be one of the biggest challenges of my career.
Cheers, mate. Mike has come to Rugby India’s
training base in Mumbai to meet Nasser Hussain, Head Coach of
the national women’s team, and get his first look
at the players. Have they done
a lot of tackle work? We’ve done a bit.
No, not too much. They’ve not been taught when… It’s not a habit yet, is it?
That’s the problem, isn’t it? Tackling and tackling technique
to me looks non-existent if I’m honest with you.
I mean I’m not sure that this lot have tackled that
much. Your biggest worries
going into this tournament? Normally when
we get into tournaments, we’re the smallest team in the
comp and we’ve had in the past, teams counter-rucking us just because they’re
physically bigger. Oh, get your
head in the right place. So, Mike, I’m going
to introduce you to the girls, they’re not expecting you here,
so it’s going to be a pleasant surprise. – Hello, ladies.
– Hello, sir. – How are you?
– Fine. The team are clearly
shy on first meeting Mike, something he’ll have
to change quickly if the team are going to progress. So are you prepared
to work hard with me? Yes. And are you all up for the
challenge? – Yes.
– Yeah? Yes, we’ve always got
a smile, however hard it gets. In this next session, can we
work on the passing, on the accuracy? The pull-back drill is working
on the actual physical act of passing. The players have inconsistent
passing technique, so Mike uses this drill to get
them focused on improving. You want
to come up, make the pass, then follow into this here. You’ll catch the ball,
up, make the pass. Technically passing-wise,
it’s a bit hit and miss. Hands up! But that’s consistency of the
shoulders, the early catch and you know and these
are habits that we’re trying to form here in less than 24
hours. When we’re trying
to catch the ball, how do we have our hands? Fingers up. We don’t bring
the ball in here, agreed? Well done! Fingers up! Control your shoulders! When they look to release
the ball, I’m looking at their shoulders to ensure their
shoulders stay square and tight, and I’m looking to ensure
that they finish the pass by extending their arms fully
and I refer to that as rifles. This ensures that we
can get accuracy of pass. Run, run, run, run, make the
pass on the run, on the run. I want you to get the ball
moving and then we’re going to bring in another ball. I throw in the second
ball to create distraction, confusion and chaos,
because the players need to be able to strategize, they need to be able to
communicate, they need to be able to scan
so that they can then pick up which ball that
they are receiving. You need consistency in your passing to be
successful at this game and there are
too many dropped balls, but hey, that’s a tough drill, you know we do that with the
American boys, three balls in there, they’re
dropping a few as well, so, you know, it’s all relative
and they’re going to have to improve
significantly if we want to do better in
Dubai. My mother is a housewife
and my father is a tea picker. I hail from a place called
Siliguri in West Bengal. We don’t have much. (SANDHYA, CENTRE) (ASHA, PROP) Just a two-room home with
a kitchen and living room that accommodates
us seven sisters, two brothers, mother
and father. My mother sets out
for tea-picking at six or seven in the morning
and returns around 11 at night. Our school is very far away. We have to go there in a
vehicle. It’s so far away, that if we go
by bicycle, it is night by the time we get back. It’s frightening, as sometimes
elephants attack. One time an elephant charged
at us and we had to run off, leaving our bicycles behind. We are in school now. None of us are in college yet. Usually everyone works at a tea
garden. We feel so fortunate
because no one gets a chance
to get out of there. Do you remember
what we used to do when we were
young and rugby was new? Eating chaat in the tea garden, that’s what
our life used to be, right? Our life consisted of only
going to school and returning. There was nothing interesting. But after rugby came, so many things changed
for us. Like now we are in Mumbai,
where famous actresses live, and we are here too. This morning, tackle
technique. Where do we think
we should be tackling? Crease of the knees. The reality is that the team that wins the contact area
normally wins the game of sevens,
so this is a big point that we’ve got to get right.
Go! One thing’s for sure.
You are very brave. This is worrying. I mean, look, the energy, the endeavour and the
bravery, it cannot be,
I mean, it’s almost kamikaze. I need to teach
you how to tackle safely. I’ve seen so many times where
their head is coming across here and then you get knocked out. OK? It’s so important that
we get our heads to the side. You need to get your feet in
close. I want to get my foot in between their legs, head
to the side, means safety, crease to the knees,
ring of steel. If we don’t get their
tackle technique right, we’re going to be in a world
of pain, end of story. That’s what concerns me most
about this. They’re going
to get heads and the face, they’re going to get
concussions, they’re going to get jarred necks,
bloody noses, they’re going to be out of the tournament. Lock, load, chase, down. OK? What is our advantage? Because we’re a smaller
team. We can get lower
and drive through. So you see this area here,
I want you to look for a lever, get lower in and look for a
lever, just lift and drive. The seal drill, this is about
attacking body height and ensuring that you’re able to clear the opposition
defender. I’m looking for your body
height because we’re low there, boom. And aggressive. We get our legs in, shoulders
through, in and we chase. And we’re up, OK? I want to see that clear. Whoa, whoa, whoa, understand
where you’re aiming for. You’re not aiming for there. No, no, no, no.
There, the seam. There, there, good girl. Bang, back, come on,
back again, Sandhya back again. Here, Sandhya, back here again,
back down. Lower go, go, go, go.
Sandhya, Sandhya back here, back here on the floor, go, come on Sandhya go,
good girl. Three here, three there, three
there. Come on, let’s go,
come on, let’s go. Mike’s time training
the team is coming to an end. Their tackling, passing and team play have
significantly improved but to stand any chance
in competition, they’ll still need
100% commitment. When we do these drills,
we have to have the mental approach it’s like the position
is taking something from us. We protect family, we protect
one another, we protect the ball. – OK? What are we?
– Warriors! What are we? – What are we?
– Warriors! – What are we?
– Warriors! – What are we?
– Warriors! – What are we?
– Warriors! The team have arrived
in Dubai for the Youth Olympic
Games Asian qualifiers. I’ll wear this tomorrow, yeah? Yes! Mike has arranged for the girls to meet three of his USA team
who are in town to compete in an international Sevens
event. He’s hoping they’ll inspire the
players and give them a glimpse of what they could achieve. Being an under-sized, what
they call smaller rugby player, if you use your strength well,
then it’s their job to stop it, so that’s how I looked at it. When you’re small, it’s like
you’ve also got to have the mindset that just because
you’re smaller doesn’t mean that you can’t be physical
and engage contact and be strong as well. Thank you, sir. – Thank you, sir.
– Good luck. See you. – Good luck.
– Have fun tomorrow. (MATCH DAY) The tournament features 12 of
Asia’s best rugby-playing nations. In their first two games, India
have mixed fortunes. They are thrashed
50-0 by Japan. The tournament favourites
crush India with a superior display of power and pace… ..but against Laos, the girls
are a different team. They gain
a crucial 27-10 victory. The win sees India through
to the knockout stages. Despite a brutal
defeat fresh in the memory, the team have made
it to the quarterfinals. But if they are to go further than any side in Indian
history, they must now beat Hong Kong, one of Asia’s strongest
nations. We are by far one of the
smallest teams here. They have all the power,
they have all the pace, they have all the physicality
and they are twice our size. I mean, it’s a fly-weight boxer
going in against a heavyweight. Who’s going to be brave? Warriors, tigers. Everybody, believe,
be confident and then you go again, and again, and again as a
group. – Yes?
– Yes, sir! – Yes?
– Yes! – Yes?
– Yes! – Yes?
– Yes! Hong Kong have already
swept aside Sri Lanka and thrashed
the Philippines 54—0. This here now, this game,
Hong Kong, quarterfinals, is the biggest game of their
lives. The long and the
short of it is this will be the best they’ve ever
done if they go out there and they’re capable
of getting that win. This is our final, you know,
if we win this we’ve crossed, I mean, all hurdles
and we’ve actually moved into the top four
in Asia so it’s a big step. Stronger and bigger, Hong Kong beat India
last year. Has anything changed? India start with confidence,
their organised support play and pace stunning the
favourites in the first minute. Go on, Sweety! Yeah, come on girls! Fantastic, all started
from the kick-off, came up, pressure on, made their
tackles, around the ankles, got the ball, moved into
space, believed in themselves. Hong Kong fight back, but India are committed and the
tackling skills they have worked so
hard on all week are game-changing. Good girl!
Great tackling. Turning defence into attack, India travel the length of the
pitch with a brilliant
passing and running drive. Pass! Pass! Hong Kong are in shock… Go on, Sweety!
Go on, Sweety! ..and at the break, India
find themselves two tries up after an inspired
first-half performance. No talking, 30 seconds, we get
our breath back, we get calm, and then we get
focused for Nasser. OK? We won the first half,
Now second half 0-0, OK? We need to win the second
half. 0-0 we’re starting. Go, India! Hong Kong have misjudged
India’s improved skill level, and their determination. Go on, girls! Go on, girls! They can’t find a way to stop winger Sweety,
who speeds away to score her
second try of the match. Ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies,
water, again, get them to remember,
belief, defence, tackle, deli. Tigers, they’re warriors,
they’re warrior sisters. They’re just playing for one
another, it’s amazing to see. You know, it’s what
you want, you want them to play to their potential.
Win or lose, it’s irrelevant. They are playing for one
another and that’s what’s beautiful
about our game. I’m so happy! But there’s a reason
Hong Kong are one of Asia’s best sides. Their players are far bigger
than India’s and they have power,
which they start to use. But despite their size, India
are fearless in the tackle. I mean, Sweety’s on fire. They’ve got the ball to her and
she has just destroyed them. Their collective team
tackling has been relentless, absolutely relentless. Deep into the second half, India continue to defy
the odds. What we thought
would never happen but always wanted
to achieve is happening now. So thank you so much
everyone supporting. India’s newly found tackling
skills have amazingly stopped Hong Kong
from scoring a single point. In the last
minute of the match, they finally manage
to break through. But it’s too late to stop
a remarkable victory for India. This is the nation’s greatest
ever rugby achievement. Everyone gave their
200% and that’s why we won. In their semi-final, India face
the huge Chinese team. Despite fighting for every
ball, they are soundly beaten and miss out on a place in
the Youth Olympic Games. But the team
will return home heroes. Everything we’ve done on the
pitch, in the training, you’ve transferred
in this tournament. Think how far you
can go as a team. Could you girls take India
into the World Series? There’s a challenge. – Do you accept my challenge?
– Yes, sir. It’s been an absolutely
amazing experience, thank you so much
for letting me into your world. They have gone the furthest
than any India team, male or female, has ever
gone in a competition. They’ve done that, they’ve
done that, they’re the ladies, they’re the pioneers. Two, three. Tigers! One, two, three, India!

23 thoughts on “Can US Rugby Coach Mike Friday transform India’s U17 Team? | The Z Team”

  1. Even if they will win the world cup nobody will care about it, Cricket has high jacked the sport passion in India and it's all a propaganda of corporates, very sad..anyway goodluck girls

  2. inspiring. when you have nothing to lose, you play the best. play with your heart and make em pay! good job on the coach for significantly improving the girls' skills and good job on the girls for practicing what they've been taught.

  3. today's best video for indians…thanks olympic youtube channel for this beautiful video…we have no idea…our girls are showing interest in rugby….🙏🙏

  4. Don't know when we will start giving importance to other sports as well and treat every sport equally why we give unnecessary importance to cricket which is not a global game played by just ten countries

  5. I'm Indian.. first time I watched rugby in 2008 Beijing Olympics.. we can watch this game only during Olympics otherwise there is no coverage of rugby in television.. if they wants to develop this games in India first they have to provide free coverage of rugby worldcup and important matches.. People actually don't know about Olympic games.. because India has lot of rural population.. The game which played in Rural area and streets then India find good player.. here street game is still cricket..

  6. I think that quarterfinal taught a lesson:
    No matter how strong your team is and whether you think u will lose or not, always give it your all, just like India here. They used everything

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