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

West Shore RCMP searching for missing Langford resident

Ashley Garland, 17, was last seen on Wednesday, Feb. 14

‘A lot of work to do’ on View Royal financial plan, says mayor

David Screech hopes tax increase will hover around two per cent this year

Westshore Wolves take on Victoria Cougars in playoff action

First round of VIJHL playoffs gets underway Wednesday

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Disqualified Saanich soccer team disputes ruling

Saanich Fusion U15 girls alleged to have ineligible players

Canada reacts to Cassie Sharpe’s Olympic gold

From Prime Minister Trudeau to Ryan Reynolds, congratulations abound

BCHL Today: Shorthanded scoring binge for Victoria Grizzlies and Krall named POW

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at whats going on around the league and the junior A world.

Search continues for B.C. woman missing in Mexico

Gloria Anne Miller was last seen Thursday, Feb. 15 diving in Puerto Vallarta

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Canada rounds out Day 11 earning gold in 2 more events

Comox Valley’s Cassie Sharpe and fan-favourites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir all earned golds

Trudeau announces two-way $1 billion investment deal with India

Some of India’s biggest companies to invest more than $250 million in Canada in the coming years

’60s Scoop group educates survivors, pushes rejection of federal settlement

Federal government’s compensation proposal includes $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation

As ‘Black Panther’ shows, inclusion pays at the box office

At the box office, inclusion is paying — and often, it’s paying off big time

Washington senator wants B.C. to follow suit and phase out net-pen fish farms

An American ban will be less effective in the shared ecosystem of the Salish Sea, senator says

Virtue and Moir end ice dance careers with Olympic gold

Virtue and Moir’s gold medal win at the Olympics makes them the world’s most decorated figure skaters

Most Read