ANDY SHAW is going trans-Atlantic in a bid to boost Huddersfield YMCA.
The Laund Hill club’s 38-year-old forwards coach is visiting Grand Rapids Rugby Club in Michigan next week to try and set up a player exchange programme.
YMCA are keen to give their young players life experience with the chance to go to the USA, while they hope to recruit in the opposite direction for the season after next.
“The idea is to get people involved playing here during the USA close-season and vice-versa, so I’m going out there to find out exactly what the requirements would be from both sides,” said Shaw, who played for Orrell, Leeds and Otley before joining Huddersfield at Lockwood Park in the mid 1990s (he played in the first match there).
“I’m spending four days with the club captain and four days with the first-team captain at Grand Rapids and I’ll be going to the first match of their Autumn half of the season, which is split into two halves of 10 fixtures to avoid the hottest of the weather.
“That match is in Indiana and, when I asked whether we’d be going on the bus for a couple of hours like we do here, they said no way, it’s a flight on a plane!
“These are the experiences we want to open up to our young players at Laund Hill, where we are always looking to promote youth rugby, and it’s going to be very interesting to see how they go about things.”
Shaw, a quantity surveyor from Linthwaite, is looking forward to his third season with YMCA, who are newly-promoted to Yorkshire I under head coach Damon Scholes.
“I will be visiting training while I’m out in Michigan and running a couple of sessions for the club, whose head coach is Graeme Leask, who played at the YMCA about a decade ago,” explained Shaw.
“I’ll be travelling with them to next week’s match and just getting an insight, and we are hoping the whole thing turns into a fruitful link-up.
“Our aim is to get some lads out there to play in the Grand Rapids Sevens next summer, while we already know of a top-class fly half who is interested in coming over and playing for us the season after this.”
YMCA start their Yorkshire I campaign at Castleford on Saturday, September 3.