Premiership Scholarship Day 1 – Saracens at Northampton Saints

class of 2019 fall premiership scholarship at franklins park

The Premiership Coaching Development Scholarship began today with the arrival of 30 American coaches in London, England.

Most of the scholarship winners arrived at London’s Heathrow Airport by 11 AM. Soon thereafter we were on our way to Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre (our base of operations) to drop off our bags and collect the kit we’d use for the upcoming week.

Once our bags and kit were sorted, we hopped back onto our coach bus and headed to Franklin’s Gardens where the Northampton Saints were hosting the Saracens in the Premiership Rugby Cup final.

Franklin's Gardens Franklin’s Gardens

The sold-out affair was an exciting match with an electric atmosphere under clear, cool skies. This was a great way to kick off the scholarship program, especially with most of the attendees struggling with jet lag!

And while many of the stars were resting following Six Nations duty, we did catch a glimpse of James Haskell and Chris Ashton.

james haskell James Haskell

Additionally, the local fans in attendance were warm and friendly, and showed great interest in us as visitors to the area. Their words of encouragement and support made for a very special afternoon of rugby.

After the match we headed back to Bisham Abbey for dinner and a short introduction to the curriculum.

We also received our room assignments so we could settle in, get a shower, and recharge for the week ahead.

Self reflection

One of the important aspects of the Level 300 training is regular self-reflection to identify key learning points and consider applying these to future coaching activities. Without any course curriculum today, my reflections are limited.

Key learning points/observations

  1. All the coaches were wearing their Premiership Rugby kit to the match. This made me feel like I was on a team, even though I didn’t know anyone on the trip.
  2. Franklin’s Gardens stadium was smack in the middle of a residential area. Houses literally backed up to the stadium.


  1. My club is in the early process of planning a tour. I plan to include some tour apparel so that when we travel, we can improve the feeling of being a single team both on the pitch (when we’re wearing uniforms) and off of it.

Next up

Tomorrow our level USA Rugby Level 300 curriculum (World Rugby Level 200) begins with a morning session in the classroom and on the pitch. Stay tuned for an update on our first day of coach development!

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