Scouting For The Next Women’s Eagles
Rob Cain shares some insights from the WPL Tour that is currently underway.
One of the best ways to find the talent on the pitch is to go to the pitch. That is precisely what Women’s Eagles Head Coach, Rob Cain has been doing on his Women’s Premier League (WPL) scouting tour. WPL is the highest level of domestic competition for women rugby in America. With a year under his belt and having already experienced this tour before, Cain is finding the process to be positive in more than one way.
“It’s been great to be back out seeing the players in their own environments, being part of trainings and having the individual skill sessions, watching some great individual and team performances , thank you to all the clubs and colleges for being so open , this contact time is crucial as it our joint collaboration for the players development. Thanks to the past year and the number of test matches our national team has played, we have a good understanding of what international rugby is demanding from our players – from a tactical, physical and technical standpoint. This allows us to identify how we can best support the players whether, through individual, positional or unit attributes,” Cain noted.
“Run catch pass , seeing space , ability to beat defenders , being creative, problem solving these are things that we are we looking out for and its been great to see this throughout the game.” While scouting, Cain explained how they are looking for players that fit in the national teams’ short and long term development plans.
“Short term and long terms this allows us to have more inner competition in the player pool, we want to see players do well and challenge each other through their performances and form. We know the positive direction we are headed. Our players showcased some great strides during the Women’s Super Series performances and unpacked some very important trends while playing against some of the best teams in the world. This inner competition through our domestic game is fundamental to the players continued development, its been great to see so many close games so far , enabling players to consistently experience so many different challenges , all the time learning through experiences”.
“In terms of building a team, we are looking in the long term perspective from where we are. With a World Cup on the horizon, we want to give athletes enough playing opportunities that help them become a more settled squad with a definitive USA Women’s playing style.” Luckily, Cain is seeing many players who are showing great potential. There is nothing better than seeing people do well and showcase their talents. There have been some really nice surprises while on tour, in terms of where we saw players at the regional training vs. where they are now.”
“I would say the first few weeks of the WPL and alongside my involvement with the U-20s in the UK and the All-Star week has unearthed many players who are making impressions.” Cain shared that the number one thing that a player can do to make a good impression is to be themselves.
“We want players to showcase what they can do, what they are good at, and what makes them stand out. What makes them, them. If you carry the ball well then carry the ball; if you have great feet/step and can beat a player then do it; if you are quick then show us; if you are a dominant scrummager or strong in contact, let’s see it. Whatever it is you do well, show us. Apart from this, our message is always simple things done well. Focus on the small details; everyone has something slightly different.”
“We are very much focusing on individuals during this time. There are so many questions we ask while scouting but here are a few we think about: do they study? Do they work? What challenges could they face away from rugby? Where they are currently in terms of their skill sets; what sets them apart; how long will their development take; how can we best support them; and do we think they transition their domestic form onto the international stage”
“These are exciting times ahead for the program – more contact time, more games, more test matches, more opportunities to turn the IF into a WHEN with success against the top teams in the world.” Cain will continue the WPL scouting tour through the first week of October. To learn more or
support your local WPL team visit wplrugby.org.