2023 Sunshine 7s
Talent ID & Development Day
We are really looking forward to taking part in the Sunshine 7s at East Grinstead this Sunday, 23rd April.
A tournament we utilise every year as part of our talent ID and development programme.
We have 3 sides competing with a blend of experience and youth, many of whom are pulling on the famous Samurai RFC shirt for the 1st time!
As a not for profit organisation we aim to give aspiring 7s rugby players opportunities to showcase their playing ability at the highest levels of the game via open access (teams in competitions where anyone can play).
Whilst challenging and developing their skills this gives them the opportunity to progress into representative teams due to our close links with various clubs and organisations.
The competition day experience of the 3 teams competing will be enhanced by the coaching and management team we have in place for the day, which includes Tom Bowen (ex GB 7s), Simon Hunt (ex England 7s), Dan Connolly (ex Wales 7s) and Owen Scrimgeour (ex New Zealand 7s), all of whom have a long standing relationship with Samurai RFC.
We will also be joined by other members of the #SamuraiFamily such as Mike Friday (USA 7s) Freddie Roddick, Jamie Adamson & Jamie Farndale (GB 7s) and from a little afield Ocen Levi of Uganda 7s.
Academy Director, Allen Boyd is incredibly excited about the talent pool we have available for the tournament stating
"The Sunshine 7s is a fantastic competition, one which raises thousands of pounds for local charities every year. We are always really happy to support it on that basis alone but the with the competition being part of our Talent Identification Process, the opportunities are very real for these players."
This month alone our senior men's 7s teams have reached the finals of the Hong Kong 10s and the Melrose 7s, both with 2 completely different squads.
This weekend our teams will undoubtedly include some future talent, from the schools and university circuits all wearing the infamous Samurai shirt.
Fingers crossed for some sunshine and lots of running rugby.
2023 is the 10 year anniversary of the Samurai 7s Academy Programme
The Academy team started life as the Samurai Bulldogs, a talent ID and development programme initiated by Mike Friday and Terry Sands.
The Bulldogs have provided many players with an invaluable stepping-stone in 7s rugby and it has played a big part in developing players' understanding of rugby and in particular 7s. A huge part of the Samurai Bulldogs' ethos is to provide much needed elite level 7s experience where players can develop through the input of coaches with experience at the very highest levels in the game. Players can then continue to progress, either through to Samurai's senior 7s sides, or through their own club, school or university teams. Naturally some progress into representative teams also. Coaches of these teams continue to be overwhelmingly supportive of the programme as they recognise the benefits to the players selected and its role in player development.
By utilising these experienced coaches, alongside expert management and medical teams, Bulldogs have provided outstanding 7s rugby experiences and invaluable game time for a huge amount of talent over the last 10 years. Players who have recently progressed through the Samurai Academy programme include Alex Dombrandt, Tommy O’Flaherty, Piers O’Connor, Callum Sheedy, Gabriel Ibitoye, Ben Earl, Harry Glover and Ethan Waddleton. Even Ellis Genge showed off his skills at an early age with the Bulldogs!
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As champions of the Super Sevens Series in 2022, and with 137 cap LEGEND Rocky Clark coaching, your Samurai women are sure to be title contenders.
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With 2023 being a commemorative year for the Samurai Bulldogs, the programme is being expanded to include more tournaments and provide even more development opportunities for players. As part of this expansion, Samurai Rugby have appointed an Academy Director, with Allen Boyd agreeing to take up this important role.
Allen is currently Head of PE and Head of Rugby at Wirral Grammar School for Boys. Away from school he has been involved in talent identification for the IRFU through the Irish Exiles 7s as Programme Manager since 2012. During this time he was their 7s Programme Manager when the Exiles represented the IRFU in the Sky Sports televised GB7s. This was used to reignite, the now successful, Ireland 7s programme. Alongside this, he has also held numerous coaching and managerial roles with 15 and 7 aside representative teams.
Commenting on his appointment, Allen said:
"I am incredibly excited to be taking on this role, especially on the 10 year anniversary of the Samurai Bulldogs. Having coached and managed sides who have played against Samurai over the years I have almost always come 2nd! They are one of the world's most successful invitational 7s teams and to play a part in the development of future international players is going to be very special indeed".
Watch out for the limited-edition Samurai Bulldogs match kit for 2023 which will be announced soon!
We are really pleased to welcome Allen to the #SamuraiFamily and that we are growing again in 2023!