Premiership Rugby Scholarships winner Fitzgerald keen to bring rugby’s influence to Hawaii

Seamus Fitzgerald has chosen the Premiership Rugby Scholarship programme to tool up for the challenge of growing the game in Hawaii.

Having played rugby for decades in New Zealand, the switch to the central Pacific island was a significant change in environment for the coach.

The 46-year-old’s mission to rear a rugby culture in the U.S state will be given a greater boost through the Premiership Rugby Scholarship programme.

“I am always interested in how we take principles and values in life and apply them to the sport – I’d like to focus on that.

“I also want to see how the teams build character, but more importantly I will be looking at how they develop game plans – and how they run them.”

Seamus 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.

The Laie-based coach will bring a wealth of experience with him – since moving to Hawaii, he became the head coach of the successful Kahuku Rugby Club and the Game Plan Academy programme director at Brigham Young-Hawaii university.

He made the side a formidable force – Kahuku became the first Hawaiian club team to be invited to national tournaments and are, arguably, the island’s most successful sports club in recent years.

But while elite development hasn’t been an issue, Fitzgerald still has big plans to grow the participation – which is where he feels sessions at Harlequins, London Irish and Saracens can help.

“We’ve started a new youth rugby club – for both boys and girls – in an attempt to spread rugby and get more people involved,” he said.

“I believed the more success that we had, the more we would grow the game – but while we used to have five clubs on the island, there’s only one left. The game ended up being killed instead.

“I hope the programme can give me some valuable knowledge to take back to help rebuild rugby on our island.”

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.