Sean White and Rugby Canada didn’t qualify for the Olympics in 2016. Now as a coach, he'll develop the batch of Canadian players that will.
Watch Two Live Feeds For the NAI 7s August 2-3
Just three years ago Sean White retired from the Canadian National 7s Team. Over his career White recorded 149 points in 200 appearances on the HSBC World Series, now he’ll be giving out pointers to the next wave of Olympic hopefuls.
“I never had a chance to play under-18 sevens,” said White. “These kids have a chance to start their Olympic dreams at such a young age, which is really quite new to the sport.”
When White was growing into the sport in Canada his only path was fifteen-a-side rugby. He came through the Rugby Canada ranks to eventually represent his country in both fifteens and sevens.
A classic. Canada Men's Pan Am Gold 2015. pic.twitter.com/Ip6uCrK1mB— Bryan Ray (@raysrugby) July 25, 2019
He played in the 2011 Rugby World Cup and twice took gold in the Pan-Am games, so you could say he’s been around some pressure-packed tournaments.
He’s never been to NAI.
“I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard how well it’s run,” said White. “I’ve been to a few tournaments now and some can be a logistical nightmare, but NAI is said to be very organized.”
Coach White optimistically compares players now to where it was in his day. “The difference is in the way they read the game,” said White. “They understand the game, what to do and when to do it.”
Last year the Misfits put two teams in the cup finals of the U18 and U20 bracket. The U20s overcame long odds en route to securing the trophy. These U20 Misfits will have big shoes to fill.
“There’s times when they’re put under pressure and they revert to fifteen’s tactics,” said White. “But the only way you break that is to put them against the best teams.”
White coaches three of the players he’ll take to NAI at his home club in James Bay. He’s excited to get accustomed to the rest of the players; including five players that have capped with the Canada U20s.
White knows he’s got an elite group, and he looks to give them as much autonomy as possible. What he looks to give them most, is feedback.
“It’s my job to give them that feedback, and draw that line in the sand that lets them know exactly where they are in their development,” said White. “I want the players to come away knowing either just how close they are to the national level, or the things they need to work on to get themselves to that point.”