Pre-season Quins in Mid-season Form

Consistency is a common thread among the challenges of club rugby. Players sacrifice time and energy from their personal and professional lives to commit to the game they love. Sometimes the commitment feels too great and other priorities take precedence over the rugby pitch. This is understandable and predictable. We can expect then, that progress for a competitive rugby club does not follow an upward linear path. Instead it behaves more like a roller coaster with its ups and downs. Consistency with practice attendance, fitness training, and administrative functioning are all significant challenges at this level.

This point is best illustrated with the break between seasons. Summer time offers a chance for players to recuperate their health and commit more time to that which they missed during the regular season. It makes sense then, that the progress made during the previous season is temporarily put on hold until the end of summer and the start of fall.

But if you have attended any of the pre-season fitness or practice sessions you would have noticed that, in fact the Pittsburgh Harlequins have not lost any of the progress that they have battled long to achieve. Instead the Quins look like a better version of the team that finished in the top 16 nationally last season.

Despite the summer break, many of the players have been on rigorous fitness regimens at fly-half Luke Titus’ gym Titan Fitness. The Harlequins have combated the challenge of consistency with the power of club culture. The core group of Quins have created an atmosphere that demands excellence from its members. Participants struggling with other time commitments may miss a session here and there, but so long as the culture remains then progress can be sustained.

If you were at Saturday’s training session at Founder’s Field, you would remember how fluid the ball-handling drills were, how open the communication was, and how fun the rugby looked. Of course there is a lot of work to be done in order to build on last season’s success and learn from its failures. That work has already started. You might say it never stopped.

The Pittsburgh Harlequins open up the 2017-18 season against Rocky Gorge in Maryland on September 9th. They return to Pittsburgh on September 16th for two successive weekends against the Washington Irish and the Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies.