Former Canadian international Adam Kleeberger to coach new rugby generation

Kleeberger retired from elite rugby in the summer of 2015

Former Canadian international Adam Kleeberger, who won 38 caps for his country and drew worldwide attention as one of Canada’s “beardos,” is looking to help others follow his rugby footsteps.

The 34-year-old former flanker from White Rock, B.C., has been appointed lead development strength and conditioning coach at the Rugby Canada Academy.

Based out of Belmont High School near the Canadian Rugby Centre of Excellence in Langford, B.C., Kleeberger is leading a high-performance program for up-and-coming high school athletes.

The first class includes nine girls and three boys aged 15 to 17-18 (grades 10 through 12), selected for the inaugural program through various talent identification sessions and provincial union recommendations. They will work with Kleeberger and other Rugby Canada high performance staff.

The participating athletes, who can take part in several sports, will attend classes at Belmont.

Kleeberger and his team work with the athletes in the morning, from 8 a.m. to around noon. Then they do their class work in the afternoons.

“The hope is that through this first year we’ll have built a bit of an understanding of how we can do things and improve for next year,” Kleeberger said in an interview. ”The program is open to anybody across the country.”

The first year, however, they opted to go with mostly local athletes to keep things simple at the beginning. He believes the program will grow, possibly to 20 next year.

Three of the girls are from outside B.C. and have received developmental carding to help defray out-of-province school costs. The program itself is free to those accepted.

It’s up to the national team coaches to decide where the carded girls play, likely with the developmental Maple Leafs side. Most of the others will play for school and club sides.

He hopes to take applications next year as well as recommendations, reviewing the talent available to open up the selection procedure.

Kleeberger retired from elite rugby in the summer of 2015. He played professionally for the Rotherham Titans and London Scottish in England and with Auckland in New Zealand.

Kleeberger, who has a degree in kinesiology, has most recently worked as strength and conditioning coach at the Canadian Sports Institute at the Pacific Institute of Sports Excellence in Victoria where he has assisted rowing and mountain biking teams.

He is contracted to Rugby Canada to run its academy.

Kleeberger made the most of his skills but paid a price for his physical approach to the game and willingness to sacrifice for the cause.

At the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, he memorably hurled his body at 262-pound All Blacks prop Tony Woodcock in a bid to prevent the behemoth from crossing the try-line. The violent collision left both face down unconscious on the pitch. They finally got up but had to leave the game.

During his career, he had two shoulder reconstructions and suffered ongoing back pain from disc and nerve issues.

Kleeberger played in two Rugby World Cups and won notoriety as of Canada’s “beardos” at the 2011 tournament. Kleeberger and fellow forwards Hubert Buydens and Jebb Sinclair went into the tournament with mountain men beards, drawing attention from around the globe.

Rick Mercer shaved off Kleeberger’s beard after the tournament on TV to raise funds for cancer research and earthquake relief aid for Christchurch, New Zealand.

Kleeberger debuted for Canada in November 2005, against France in Nantes. He also represented his country at the under-19 and under-21 levels and played sevens for Canada at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

___

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Homelessness Action Week a call for citizens to see the issue in a new light

Homelessness Action Week Oct. 13-19 includes coffee talk, facility tours, film screening

Nanaimo Clippers thankful after three straight wins on road trip

City’s junior A hockey club wins seventh in a row, trades alternate captain

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Empower court system, RCMP to curb crime

Justice system gives free rides to repeat offenders, says letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district deciding how best to provide menstrual products for students

Early cost estimates tag $75,000 for product dispensers; trustees seek student consultation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

City council mulls emergency medical responder training for firefighters

Council directs staff to prepare report on firefighter medical training upgrades

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Most Read