Moody helps inspire Bermuda win
If you’re going to launch a coaching career, doing it in the sunshine of the Caribbean isn’t the worst place to start.
After winning a Rugby World Cup and 71 caps with England, Lewis Moody is currently acclimatising to life after rugby, having retired because of a shoulder injury in March.
But a link with Bermuda, where his wife has family, saw him invited to help coach the Bermudan national team prior to their NACRA (North America Caribbean Rugby Association) Championship final against Guyana, a key stage in RWC 2015 qualifying.
Lewis, how did you get involved with the Bermudan side?
A friend of mine from school, Tony Ward, played for Bermuda. Four months ago, after I’d retired, he called me. They were having a rugby dinner and they asked if I wanted to be one of the speakers along with Waisale Serevi (former Fiji Sevens great). He asked if I would be happy to take some coaching sessions. It was great fun to be a part of it.
Would you like to get fully involved in coaching?
The more I do coaching the more I realise I really enjoy it. You know you’ve got a great deal of experience and knowledge and it’s definitely something I will get into at some point in the future. I’m quite relaxed about things at the minute though.
What was the standard of the Bermudan players?
Having been at the training session on the Tuesday I was a little bit worried. They burnt themselves out early doors. I don’t know if they were trying to impress because I was there, but when it got to the lineout sessions they were all over the shop. But it was totally different when it came to the game.
They were really well-drilled. It’s an amateur sport here, they take time off work to do it, they aren’t paid, they train three times a week which, considering that they all have full-time jobs, is incredible and testament to their commitment. Some of the hits they put in on the weekend were just awesome.
They took it to Guyana with the forwards and it finished 18-0. They became Caribbean champions for the second year in a row. And they’ve now got four knockout games to qualify for the World Cup. That’s a big ask because at some stage they’ll come across the USA or Canada. But just the idea that they could go to a World Cup really increases their enjoyment, the amount they want to put into the game.
Is there a lot of interest in rugby on Bermuda?
It’s growing. Serevi now has a rugby camp here, which helps a lot. They have a league of four teams – the island’s only 20 square miles so it’s a small place. In terms of growing the quality of rugby it’s quite difficult. They need more game time but whenever they leave the island it’s like a tour just to do an away game.
Did you get a chance to watch the England v South Africa games while in Bermuda?
I did. I was impressed and frustrated. England had a very good chance to win that last game. They were wrong to turn down a kick at goal and kick for the corner. South Africa had been defending well all game and those three points could have been the difference. But I was impressed with the England guys. I didn’t see England winning a game at the start of this tour but their form progressed. I think Stuart’s done a good job. They now know they can cut it with the best teams in the world even as a young, inexperienced side.