Bath Rugby’s Francois Louw has this month been on a trip to witness first-hand the growth of the game in the United States.
First up, Louw headed to Columbia University to visit one of New York’s leading rugby clubs, Old Blue RFC. The 43-times capped Springbok supported the training session at Old Blue – one of the oldest rugby clubs in the US – with a particular focus on his field of expertise: the breakdown. The evening ended with a Q and A session, during which players and staff had the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the world game’s most respected players.
Adam Schwarz, club captain of Old Blue RFC, said that the experience of having Louw’s input was invaluable for the team – especially for some of the younger players, many of whom have yet to watch a game of professional rugby.
"I speak on behalf of Old Blue, as well as all the local high school and college kids that attended the session, when I say how grateful we are to Francois for coming to run the session,” said Schwarz. “With the rapidly-growing interest of rugby in the US, it was a fantastic opportunity for both Juniors and Seniors to learn from a guy of his experience and reputation.”
“Francois’ knowledge around different facets of the game is remarkable. It was a great chance for everyone at the session to learn some key pointers to improve their individual game, as well as spreading the rugby word to their respective teams and further afield.”
Louw, who was fresh from captaining Bath to victory against Leicester Tigers in the Club’s season finale, said of the trip: “It’s been brilliant to have the opportunity to visit Old Blue RFC. This is a really exciting time for the game in the USA right now, and that was reflected by the large number of people who attended the session and the enthusiasm they brought to it. Hopefully this is the beginning of a good connection between our two clubs.”
The trip didn't end there, though, as Louw was later invited to commentate for American TV on the PRO Rugby match between San Diego and Ohio at Torero Stadium, California. This follows last month's launch of the inaugural professional league in the USA.