Former Australian under-20 rugby union coach Shane Arnold (left) at Heritage Oval with Toowoomba Bears captain Mick Collins.
Former Australian under-20 rugby union coach Shane Arnold (left) at Heritage Oval with Toowoomba Bears captain Mick Collins. Kevin Farmer

Bears welcome special guest to their den

ONE of Australia's most accomplished rugby coaches reckons there is plenty city footballers can learn from their country cousins.

But the boot was on the other foot last week when Shane Arnold took time out to re-connect with grass-roots rugby on the Darling Downs.

Arnold is a successful Premier Grade, NRC, Australian under 20 and Reds coach.

Last week he was in Toowoomba at the invitation of Bears rugby club for a Thursday night training session, happy to interact with coaches and players to his experiences at elite level rugby.

"I've been pretty lucky that I've been able to go all the way through the rugby pathway with plenty of support from the ARU and QRU along the way," Arnold said.

"I have a family connection to Charlie Martin, the Bears president, and I have a couple of clients up here at board level and support level.

"I was up this way and they asked me to come along and give a bit of a hand, and I'm excited to do so.

"I'll just have a look at what they are doing and if I can add anything of benefit, then I will.

"If they are doing things good, then I will let them know as well.

"It's a bit of a one-off for me, but I actually did something with Goondiwindi last year, because I've got a mate who coaches at the club.

"It's good to get out to the country rugby teams and have a look and see how passionate they are about the game and how much they enjoy it.

"The fitness side of things is one aspect where country players can probably most improve themselves.

"But I think that just comes back to depth and numbers playing the game.

"There's a lot more guys playing rugby in the city which pushes the standard up.

"There's not as many guys out in the country areas playing footy.

"But I don't think there is any one area country players lack in. It's just a different type and level of footy.

"There's a lot of things the country boys can teach the city boys, so I think it works both ways."

Martin said Arnold's visit was part of the Bears' aim to inject fresh input into the club and competition.

"We have a lot of young kids coming on and to have someone of Shane's profile helping them out with a few skill and motivational tips we think can only help us as a club," Martin said.



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