Gen Blue camp highlights importance of off-field betterment 23/01/2018 By NSW Waratahs Media unit The importance of off-field support for NSW Rugby’s Generation Blue players was highlighted this week when the parents and guardians of the country’s next crop of professional athletes came together for an information session in Sydney. With the programme’s strong emphasis on producing better players and people, the session was centred on the role of families in helping these young rugby players reach their potential. NSW General Manager of Rugby Tim Rapp said it was important that each player’s support network understood the essence of the programme and their role in helping develop these players. “We are kicking off a new initiative here to bring in guys who are 16, 17 and 18 to educate them in the high performance ways of the NSW Waratahs as part of our plan to produce future Waratahs players,” he said. This week’s camp was for players aged 16 who represented New South Wales in the Generation Blue Under 16s national merit side as well as players who were selected for the NSW I or II sides at the 2017 Australian Schools Championship. Said Rapp: “Our aim is to introduce these young players to the practices and protocols that the NSW Waratahs follow and a high performance environment they can expect as they progress through our system. ” “Mums, dads and guardians play an important role in helping these players reach their potential, especially when it comes to what they do when they are away from the training environment. Time management, education, understanding empathy are all the things that make you a better person off the field, which ultimately will improve our players on it.” “These guys are still young men. Just because they are training in this environment doesn’t mean they are professional or that they can look after themselves. It is important to share with the parents what the programme is about and that while their sons and daughters are in our programmes, they are in good quality care. “If the parents and guardians can reinforce our key themes and protocols away from the rugby field it will make these behaviours become everyday practice.” In all, four of these camps will take place throughout the year. “It will coincide with the current Schools programme, Junior Club season, Junior Representative teams in Sydney Juniors (SJRU) and NSW Country Cockatoos and also up the State representative teams,” Rapp said. There's not long until the 2018 Vodafone Super Rugby season gets underway, with the NSW Waratahs hosting the Stormers at Allianz Stadium on 24 February. Click here to see the full draw!