Thirty American rugby players and coaches are being handed the chance of a lifetime to train in England with Premiership Rugby.
In a new initiative as part of the Aviva Premiership Rugby match between Newcastle Falcons and Saracens on 16 September in Philadelphia ten female and ten male players (aged 17-18) will be awarded a Premiership Rugby Scholarship. And in addition to the 20 players, ten American coaches will also be coming to England.
The ground-breaking initiative is made possible due to a partnership between Premiership Rugby, NBC Sports, Friends of the British Council (FOBC), AEG Rugby and USA Rugby.
The Series brings together new grass roots opportunities for the American rugby community including:
- Player clinics for ages 15-24
- Coaching Clinics
- Coach Shadow Opportunities
- Referee Shadow Opportunities
- Youth Flag Rugby Tournament
The majority of players and coaches will be selected from a series of Rugby Clinics staged across the east coast of America in the run-up to Newcastle Falcons clash with Saracens at the Talen Energy Stadium. Those unable to attend will be able to make their submission for a Scholarship place via video by visiting premiershiprugbyusa.com
The successful applicants will come to England – for an all-expenses paid trip in the spring of 2018 for a week, visiting the world-class Premiership Rugby Academies.
USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne said: “First and foremost this is world class rugby, with British & Irish Lions, multiple Internationals, and most notably, our Eagles playing for both teams. Equally the community and grass roots programme that will accompany this match through the multi-year partnership will bring quality experiences and long term development to many of our markets.”
The programme around the match will also see Premiership coaches in the New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington DC before the Newcastle Falcons v Saracens clash delivering expert coaching to the next generation of men’s and women’s Eagles.
“Following Premiership Rugby’s first year of coverage on NBC Sports now comes the American Series initiative,” said Wayne Morris the CSR and Community Director at Premiership Rugby.
“Work in the community with our world-class coaches is in the DNA of Premiership Rugby and we are committed to help grow the game in America.
“We feel this is the most direct way to grow the game in the States is bringing high-quality coach, referee and player development resources on behalf of and in partnership with our clubs directly to many US cities and teams.
“When we approached USA Rugby to stage this regular season match in Philadelphia we discussed not only the match and long term growth, but engagement and sustainability at the grass roots and commercial levels.”
Dan Lyle the former Bath Rugby and Leicester Tigers No 8 who now heads up the new AEG Rugby division added: “Having played in the Premiership and having children of my own we want aspiration for young boys and girls.
“Premiership Rugby and AEG Rugby share the ambition to grow rugby in America and we believe this will happen not only through the match between Newcastle Falcons and Saracens but with this game-changing grassroots community programme that has the potential to change people’s lives.
“Events and programmes like these would not be possible without partners like Penn Mutual. Their leadership in rugby started a couple years back and their consistent support along with the FOBC allows us to drive forward with these unprecedented opportunities.”
The British Council has been a key partner in the establishment of the groundbreaking scholarships. Erin Sullivan, Executive Director of the Friends of the British Council said: “Rugby is a dynamic game born in England but made for America in so many ways. Our goal is to broaden the appeal and values of the game of rugby.
“The combination of Premiership Rugby’s quality and expertise, USA Rugby’s nationwide base of dedicated volunteers, fans, players and practitioners, NBC Sports’ platforms and reach and AEG’s creativity and vision we have a wonderful collaborative partnership developing.
“This international experience will empower the chosen players and coaches to return to the US with a growth mindset of sharing what they learned with their peers and communities. They will join the global community of rugby ambassadors.”