We are excited to announce that Jack Baird will be returning as head coach for our 7s team this summer, with Irene Gardner and Lucy Croy as assistant coaches. Hailing from England, Jack is currently the Director of Rugby at King's College School, Cambridge. Jack is also the head coach of Cambridge University Women's, and has worked as an assessment coach for the England Women's Squad. Both Irene and Lucy are All Blues alumnae who have competed at some of the highest levels of rugby in the United States.
Jack’s first year coaching the All Blues was last summer. In the post-season interviews he was commended for his ability to coach players regardless of skill level, adapting his coaching style to each person’s needs so they can thrive on the field. Cathy Cai, who walked into the team not ever having played sevens before and with only 8 months of rugby at Cal under her belt, says, “I could see my personal development throughout the season. I remember knowing nothing and being in the wrong places during my first game, to working as a team and beating Life West in the playoffs.” Part of Jack’s success was paying special attention to each player and giving individual feedback after each tournament. According to Meeko Luarca, another player who joined the All Blues just last summer from Cal, “he really made an effort to get to know and sit down with everyone which was pretty cool for me.”
Jack, alongside assistant coach Sarah Davis, were instrumental in developing a young sevens team last year that was mostly composed of college players Sarah recruited from Cal and some tight fivers. Together, they brought the team to compete at the 7's National Championship, with the team finishing within the top 8 in the nation. According to Meeko, Jack would "give us the goal and how to get there and [Sarah] would give us tips to either actually achieve the goal of the drill or smooth out our efforts and 'get some swagger in there'." One of the ways in which Jack engaged the players during training was by including plenty of game-like drills. Says Meeko, “[Jack] liked changing aspects of drills which kept my mind engaged i.e. touch game, one side is continuously on offense and between reps he'd ask a different focus on playing style: more aggressive in disrupting the rucks, in the launch, or go for a poach from the defense and all the off loads, hard strike lines with a cut, or fast rucks from the offense.”
Meeko and Cathy are excited to see Jack grow in confidence as a coach for the All Blues sevens squad. “With a consecutive year,” predicts Meeko, “he will probably come through with more confidence or understanding of who we are and maybe won't let Frieda mess with him as much or at least make it a two way street.” Cathy is hopeful that he will come back to build on the fundamentals he’s worked on with the team, and “[transform the basics] into creative play on the field.” Together with Irene and Lucy, both seasoned veterans of the game, we’re excited for what this season will bring, too!
Important Dates for 2017 Summer 7s
More information will be coming soon, but please put these dates down on your calendar!
May 16 - 7's first practice! 7pm @ Gabe Catalfo Fields
June 17 - NCRFU Tournament @ TBD
July 8 - NorCal Club 7s Qualifier Tournament 1 @ Silicon Valley
July 15 - NorCal Club 7s Qualifier Tournament 2 @ SFGG
July 29 - CR1 Club 7s National Qualifier Tournament @ Tacoma, WA
Aug 12/13 - National Club 7s Championship @ Blaine, MN