12:30PM, Friday 19 February 2021
The Saracens and England 7s player Ben Harris was set to chat to Maidenhead RFC colts about his pathway into professional rugby this week.
Harris came through the ranks at Maids and forced his way into the first team before showing enough promise to catch the eye of several professional clubs as well as his country.
Harris will speak to the young players over Zoom this week as part of the club’s regular coach education evenings.
“We’re still doing a lot of stuff over Zoom,” said head coach David Mobbs-Smith. “This Wednesday (February 17) we’ve got Ben Harris talking to all of our younger players on Zoom. It’s usually a coach education evening, but it’s going to be a mixture of that and some of the later teen boys talking to him about the pathway he took to becoming a player because he’s someone who’s been where they are and has done it.
“It’s just showing the lads this is what the game entails but also what can be achieved. You might be lucky enough to join one of the Premiership club academies at a young age, but there are lots of boys who come through their county structures or through their clubs when they become more noticeable playing at that level.
“The real academy stuff only really starts from the age of 16 and it’s very much in the area you live in. It’s not like football, you don’t tend to live in Maidenhead and have Sale come in for you. You would fall into the London Irish catchment, or you might get picked up by Ealing’s new set up at Henley. There are a lot of avenues for young lads, and Ben, as someone who’s been through the pathway, can give them some advice about his experience. It will be good for the boys to hear from Ben, but it’s also nice for Ben to tell his story as someone who has progressed into the professional game.”
Mobbs-Smith said the first team squad would also gather on Zoom for a more casual session, to chat through the Six Nations matches and discuss possible British Lion’s selection. “It’s just keeping them tapped into rugby,” he said. “There are no plans to go back into training, but it’s starting to sound more positive. There’s a likelihood that we’ll be able to do that in April or May.”
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