Fletcher is the Team Manager for the current Super Rugby champions. He has played and coached at the representative level and has long experience in coaching provincial age-grade teams.
Both are part of a Crusaders program that has won 13 Super Rugby titles in the 26-year history of the competition.
After Seattle the pair traveled to Houston, Texas, where they worked with The Woodlands program.
“They are going places and really building something,” said Flay. “And they wanted to look at ways to get where they’re going.”
It was eye-opening for Fletcher as he was working with a program that starts kids at U6.
“Working on these concepts with younger players is great, because you think about what are the players who might have an impact in 2031 when the USA hosts the World Cup,” Fletcher said. “You look at Japan and how they performed when they hosted. That’s kind of part of the mission to help everyone be more competitive.”
This weekend the pair is in North Carolina and then will be back to Virginia for another session later on.
And it’s not so much technical rugby practice as it is a look at what makes a successful team, a successful program.
“We’re not like a Manchester United trying to spread our brand around to sell more Crusaders shirts,” said Fletcher. “We want to develop the game and the brotherhood and sisterhood of the game. The game of rugby is an incredible thing to be a part of, we are passionate about spreading the word. If more people think ‘those Crusaders are good blokes’ and support the Crusaders, that’s great. But we’re talking about how you don’t just appoint a captain or a leader, you develop them; how you create a team framework that works throughout the organization and help young people, whether they play for the Eagles or go into a professional career, be successful.
“And we’re having a great time doing it, too.”
The US Rugby Foundation has been a supporter of the Crusaders Academy’s efforts, but while many pay to be part of these different sessions, Crusaders Rugby is picking up much of the bill here
Learn more about the Crusaders International Academy here>>