Texas has three All-Americans in the USA Rugby High School All-American tour to Ontario, Canada going on now. Read the press release here about the tour.
Daniel Metcalf is from Dallas Jesuit High School, Ellis Glaw is from Westlake High School and Jason de Villiers is from the Katy Barbarians U-19 team. We caught up with Jason on the phone from Toronto on Thursday, July 1.
The 6′ 2″, 185-pound flanker has been playing rugby for two years as he enters his senior year at Richmond Foster High School near Katy. He says the team flew to Buffalo, NY and then drove over the border to Toronto.
“We have been practicing, eating and sleeping,” he said. “Oh, and lots and lots of stretching. They really have us stretching thoroughly, before and after training.”
And the training is pretty intense, de Villiers says. Three sessions per day – lineouts in the early morning, then a mid-morning team workout, then an afternoon team session.
“They feed us really well, so we have enough energy to get through all these sessions,” he said. “It’s been fun, and we are learning a lot.”
Jason tells us that most of his fellow All-Americans are people he met or played against when Katy finished 3rd in the national U-19 tournament in May. He also said most of the players were in the Rocky Mountain Challenge – which the Texas U-19 team won. Jason played on that side as well.
The All-Americans play the Ontario U-18 0n July 3 and again on July 5. De Villiers said the team has worked hard on situational aspects of the game.
“We’ll do team work, then work on things like if we are down by two points late in the game, what do we do,” he said. “We work on the ruck a lot, setting it, clearing it out. Then we scrimmage and work on more situations.”
De Velliers played soccer and ran track before falling in love with rugby. He got his start playing in the backline, which he says helps his flanker play.
“I am used to running and making moves, now I put that together with forward play,” he said.
De Villiers said the All-American team is chock full of flankers, so he is battling hard for playing time.
“I just love the game, I want to play all the time,” he said. “Everyone gets to run the ball, hit, pass – and you do it for all for 80 minutes. It is just unlike any other game.”