Students Staff

13 October 2016

You are not a forward, you are not a back, you are a Blackswan

Filed under: News — ckeitch @ 4.29 pm

We spoke to Jordan Fenton, a second year Sports and Excercise Science student about coaching at a Canadian Rugby Club as part of his work-based experience.

How did you get your work placement in Canada?

An image of some Rugby players.

Jordan Fenton (far right) with some of the Stratford Blackswans.

As part of my second year course, I was required to complete 40 hours of work-based experience. After lots of research and applications, I was offered a voluntary job coaching juniors (10 years old and under), under 18s, women’s and men’s rugby for the Stratford Blackswans R.F.C. in Ontario,Canada.

What else did the placement involve?

I also played for the men’s 1st 15 and was able to referee some games as well, due to a refereeing award I’d been awarded in the UK. This was a great opportunity for me to share my rugby expertise not only as a 7s player, but as an English player. I was also able to gain some invaluable experience from the way that Canadian teams play their rugby too.

What was the best part of the placement?

One of my favourite parts of the placement must have been the training sessions and the matches. There is a level of cohesion and collectiveness, coupled with an eagerness to win, that made me feel really motivated to play hard. However, the best part of the placement was definitely the people I met. The day I arrived at the club, I was treated like a member of their family, and given a very warm welcome. Their hospitality and generosity was second to none.

 What was the most important thing you learnt as part of your trip?

The Stratford Blackswans

The Stratford Blackswans

The trip has helped me grow as a coach,  helping my communication and creativity skills, and as a player, by introducing a more physical and assertive element into my game. Nonetheless, the most important thing I learnt from the whole experience was a quote from the Blackswans ethos: “You are not a forward, you are not a back, you are a Blackswan”. This means that on and off the field, we work together as a team, we aren’t selfish and that we will always have each others’ back. This is something I strongly believed should be the philosophy of all teams.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to finish my degree in two years, and hope to see how far I can take my rugby career after my scholarship. I aim to do a masters in physiotherapy too. All in all, this experience has made me want to go on more rugby-based trips and I definitely plan on returning to Stratford within the next few years.


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