Twenty rugby players and 10 coaches from America have been given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to train with Premiership Rugby in England, thanks to a ground-breaking initiative between a number of organisations, including Premiership Rugby, NBC Sports, USA Rugby and AEG Rugby. Altogether, 10 female and 10 male players, aged 17 to 18, will be coming over on a Premiership Rugby Scholarship, along with 10 American coaches. Participants will be chosen during a series of rugby sessions being held along the US east coast, in the weeks preceding the Newcastle Falcons v Saracens clash on September 16.
Spreading the word
They will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to England next spring, when they will visit the world-class premiership rugby academies. Their enthusiasm and new-found knowledge means they will be superb rugby ambassadors when they return to the States. The initiative is part of Premiership Rugby’s commitment to working in the community and to help grow the game in the US. The Newcastle Falcons and Saracens match, the grassroots community programme, and the NBC Sports coverage of Premiership Rugby are all ways that they hope will attract more people to the sport.
Why Americans should love rugby
High school football is the most popular sport in the US, played by more than one million children. In many ways, American football has similarities to rugby, in that it is a contact sport involving tackles and where scoring tries – or touchdowns – takes precedence over goal-kicking. Therefore, it makes sense to give them a taste of rugby.
The important thing is to keep it interesting. Whether they are playing mini games in training, practising different moves or learning from a rugby drill video, such as those found at https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/, the idea is to mix it up so they get a lot of variety from their coaching.
Rugby has so many positive things going for it. For a start, it can be played by anyone. Whether you are quick, slow, big or small, there is a position that’s right for you in rugby. The shorter players could find a place in the front row. Tall and thin players can be in the second row. The small but speedy ones can play at scrum-half, while the really quick players can be on the wings.