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INTERVIEW WITH AJ DE CARVALHO ABREU

LIVONIA RC HEAD COACH


AJ Abreu, for the first time ever, a Latvian rugby club is coming to Portugal, to play in the Men and Women Open tournaments in the Algarve 7’s. What can we expect?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

Well, I think it’s a great opportunity for both Livonia teams to compete in the Algarve 7’s. As it would be the first time for most of our players to play in a tournament abroad. I think it’s safe to say that both teams will give 100% in the games and in the tournament. The players are committed and there is a lot of passion within our players. I can also say that both teams will play for higher places in the tournament.

Tell us a bit of Livonia RC and what do you hope to achieve in the next couple of years?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

I’ve been appointed as Head Coach of RC Livonia just a few weeks ago, so I am still finding my feet around the team. So far it’s been really easy as we have a very committed board and coaching structure. Livonia won the Latvian Championship 7’s and XV’s last year, so the expectations in the team are high and we are all aware of that. It also means we have to improve in every training and tournament this year to stay on top as other teams will also develop and improve. As we set new goals and standards on and off the field it’s also very important that we develop our younger players to gain the necessary experience to fill the team when the need arises without losing momentum. Priority for us as a group is to retain the title this year for both 7’s and xv’s. Also in Baltic Top league xv’s I want to reach the top three places. For the women’s team now it’s all about rebuilding and developing the team and players, to claim the top spot again in the next year or two. As a coach I also want to create and develop more players for Latvia national teams in all levels (mens, womens, youth).

Why come to the Algarve 7’s? Do you see it as a high standard tournament?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

The Algarve 7’s is a fantastic opportunity for players to experience what the elite level and open level is. There are great teams participating in both groups of the tournament. Once players experience these sorts of levels, they tend to raise standards within their own team/clubs and environments. For us playing in the tournament we will surely benefit from the experience. We also see this tournament as a great preparation platform for the upcoming competition in Latvian Championship 7’s.


Latvian rugby is trying to grow bigger and develop into something special, right? What are the best qualities of its Rugby DNA?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

Yes, the smaller nations are growing as we’ve seen with numerous countries in Europe. However rugby is still very underdeveloped in these nations due to the lack of funding, resources and change. There are clubs in Europe that are starting to invest in rugby now and you can already see results. Investment in funding, professional management, coaches, players and equipment. Latvian players are very passionate about rugby, it’s a small rugby community. I think the passion and pride of wearing their matchday jersey really stands out to me.

Can you define the Algarve 7’s in three words?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

Sunshine, Fast Paced Games, Great Atmosphere

Have you and your team set goals for the tournament? Who are some of the most special players, either from the Men or Women squad?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

Our 1st priority is to participate and gain experience in the tournament, player development for both teams as our season just started and we have Latvian Championship tournament in a few weeks time. The 2nd goal will be to get closer as a group and the Algarve 7’s will be a great way to create that culture. We have talented players and new players within the teams. At this stage I don’t want to elaborate too much on who is talented or new. It's important that we function as a team in the tournament.

How would you sell the Algarve 7’s to the Latvian rugby community?

AJ De Carvalho Abreu:

I think social media plays an important role and live streams for the community to see what the Algarve 7’s is all about. Early bird package deals would help cut costs to clubs/players ect. Maybe direct contact to clubs or federation might be a good idea because not everyone is aware of the Algarve 7’s.




 


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Algarve 7s - 10-13 June 2022


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