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Ben heading to Mann-hattan for coaching adventure

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Ben will be joining community coaches from each of the 12 Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs to help promote the game. The visit follows Premiership Rugby's successful trip to Brazil in March to help in the development of rugby in South America.

The core values of rugby will be used by coaches in their work with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in New York to help improve self-esteem, community cohesion and other social outcomes.

Ben flies to New York City on Monday morning and returns on Sunday. The week will be packed with activities organised in conjunction with Play Rugby USA, whose director of coach development is former Saints conditioning coach Dom Wareing.

On Thursday, May 31st, Premiership Rugby coaches will help launch the Great Campaign Sports Festival, a touch tournament in Central Park, and then will be attending an end-of-season awards event in Harlem with youngsters' friends and family.

On Friday, June 1st, the Public School Athletics League High School Rugby 7s Final will be taking place in New York. During the week leading up to the Final and for the Final itself, two Premiership Rugby coaches and one Play Rugby USA coach will be assigned to mentor each school.

On Saturday, June 2nd, Premiership Rugby will be running fan engagement fitness testing sessions in the fans village at the 2012 USA Sevens Collegiate Rugby Championship in Philadelphia, where the Aviva Premiership Rugby trophy will also be on display.

Ben - whose work at the Saints includes leading the Aviva Premiership Rugby National Schools Programme and the MBNA Tackling Numbers project, along with the award-winning Kick Smoking Into Touch and developing girls' rugby - is excited by the prospect of spending a week helping to develop rugby in one of the world's biggest sporting cities.

"It is going to be a very good week," he said. "We'll be very busy but I'm really looking forward to it. New York is a great sporting city and Play Rugby USA have been doing some good work to get youngsters playing rugby and using the sport to develop their life skills.

"For me it is an opportunity to represent Northampton Saints and the work we do in our own community department in the context of a bigger project. I'm also looking to learn as well from the experience and then apply the skills I'll have developed back in Northampton."

Mark Griffin, President of Play Rugby USA (PRUSA), said: "Play Rugby USA is one of the foremost Rugby-based youth development programs in the world. The PRUSA Academy aspires to be the pinnacle of PRUSA's player development efforts for aspiring and talented young athletes.

"Partnering with Premiership Rugby and the world's most competitive domestic rugby competition not only provides a strong endorsement of our Academy's efforts but more importantly an opportunity for our players and coaches to develop with the support of a World Class partner."

Ben will be sending back regular updates during the week exclusively for NorthamptonSaints.co.uk.

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