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A Golden Opportunity

Bay of Plenty Rugby Sevens Study Abroad Programme a Golden Opportunity

The Bay of Plenty Rugby Union and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic recently travelled to the USA to attend the USA Rugby National Development Summit in Philadelphia. The trip was the result of a successful funding application by the Polytechnic to Education New Zealand’s International Education Growth Fund for a Rugby Sevens Study Abroad programme (to be run in partnership with the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union).

Mike Rogers, BOP Rugby CEO, and Chad Tuoro, Player Development Manager, joined Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s Anne Young, International Manager, and Peter Sommers, Group Leader Sport and Recreation, at the Summit to promote the new Programme. The Summit provided the perfect forum for the team to develop relationships within the US college rugby communities and to gauge the level of interest in the Rugby Sevens Study Abroad programme.

The Rugby Sevens programme provides US college students with the opportunity to participate in an elite rugby sevens training programme while also enrolled in academic study at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. The students will travel to Tauranga to complete the 17 week Programme (from July to November) before returning to the US with enhanced rugby sevens skills and academic credits for their study.
Mike Rogers says the trip was very beneficial. “There was a positive response to the Programme and we received great feedback as to how we could best deliver the Programme to ensure its success.”

Rogers and Tuoro presented a session to coaches at the Summit and were given the opportunity to address all the attendees during the reception dinner. “We were the only organisation asked to speak which really highlighted our strong relationship and reputation with USA Rugby.”

Anne Young from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic also spoke of the success of the trip. "We received an excellent response from USA Rugby and strong interest from US colleges who would like their students to participate in the Rugby Sevens Study Abroad programme. It was fantastic to see the support of the Programme and that the college coaches could see the value of combining academic study with high performance rugby sevens training."

Both the BOP Rugby Union and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic will be developing the relationships they made at the Summit over the coming months to convert the interest from the colleges into enrolments on the Rugby Sevens Study Abroad programme.

“We are intending to have the first intake of students arriving in July this year; this is timed to be within our rugby sevens season and also fits well with the Polytechnic's semester two start dates,” said Rogers.


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