Former international Fee keen to keep on learning as part of Premiership Rugby Scholarships programme

Every fan remembers where they were when Jonny Wilkinson kicked his infamous drop-goal to win the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

But as part of the American team watching on after giving their all earlier in the tournament, David Fee has fonder memories than most.

Now, 16 years later, Fee is set to embark on his own transatlantic rugby adventure, one of 30 coaches given the chance to experience the professional English game as part of the Premiership Rugby Scholarship programme.

The Chicago resident will spend a week in England as part of a multi-year initiative between USA Rugby and Premiership Rugby.

Currently the director of rugby and 7s head coach at Indiana University, Fee boasts an impressive CV – but for him there’s no such thing as running out of lessons to learn.

“Just to be selected for the programme is an honour – it was easy to apply but a huge deal to be selected,” he said.

“I want to meet a lot of great coaches who’ve worked at such high levels in England and have worked with Premiership Rugby.

“I also want to learn how to develop my players – and myself – off the field. There’s a lot to be said about the mental side of the game, even though I have the technical knowledge because of my playing experience.

“There’s also the business aspect of the game, which the programme could help with. I’m really keen to see how the teams are incorporating data and technology into their game.”

David is part of a cohort of players and coaches travelling from the US to the UK for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to learn about coaching techniques, video analysis and team cultures from those who do it day in day out at Premiership Rugby clubs.

The initiative is run by Premiership Rugby in partnership with the Friends of the British Council and USA Rugby and aims to grow the sport in the US.

Coaches will also learn about and engage with Premiership Rugby’s award-winning community programs that use rugby as a tool for social change, covering all methodologies used in these life changing initiatives.

Coaches will gain insight into various ways Premiership Rugby clubs are engaging their players, fans and communities to instil the core values of rugby.

“We’re trending up back home – the game is certainly getting better and we’re witnessing the rise of the professional leagues here,” he added.

“All I want is to continue my own development as well – to keep up the level I was playing at and to experience things from a different perspective.

“I learned so much as a player – but as a coach, you learn from a completely different viewpoint – that’s what I want to achieve.”

Click here if you are an American coach and would like to win a Premiership Rugby Scholarship. Our next trip will come to the UK in November.