Global interest in polytech workshop

Alejandro Pastor.
Alejandro Pastor.
When it comes to rugby there are few countries better to learn from than New Zealand.

Maybe that is a bit arrogant, but it must have an element of truth to it.

A workshop hosted by Otago Polytechnic this week has attracted global interest.

High-level participants have come to the city from Argentina, Spain and South Africa in order to attend the workshop.

Focusing on high performance conditioning, the course began yesterday and runs for three days.

Various local experts are presenting on a range of topics, as is Argentinian expert Alejandro Pastor.

Pastor, an elite-level strength and conditioning coach, hopes the workshop will not be a one-off.

He said it was an opportunity to consistently share information and said in terms of this trip, it was important to learn off New Zealand.

''If we talk about rugby in a specific way, it's quite important to learn from New Zealanders.

''How you build all the strategy to prepare players to face being professional.

''Not only saying 'now we are professionals because we are receiving money', but how you develop a player from youth to senior level.

''How you can use the period of the last 20 years of professionalism like a partner, not like a threat.''

It was also an opportunity being pursued by many locals, including Thagana Riunga.

Riunga moved to New Zealand from Nairobi in Kenya 2½ years ago and works with both the John McGlashan College first XV and Harbour club.

He hoped to better his knowledge at the workshop and pick the brains of the experts hosting it.

There were a few notable differences between New Zealand and Kenya and there were things he had learnt that would be good to take back to his home country.

''Firstly weather, that's a big one,'' he joked.

''In terms of the game, just the knowledge the boys have here from such a young age is quite amazing.

''I wish most countries would do the same thing.

''Just the passion as well to play the game.''

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