Wednesday 17th March 2010 by C. Freeman
Student Ben Hanger has been signed up for Northampton Saints training academy after he played in a youth game for them against a team from Leicester Tigers. Ben has been playing rugby for about 11 years, and he loves the game so much that he plays Union during the winter months and switches to rugby League during summer, meaning he gets to play all-year round.
Ben started off playing at Kettering Rugby Union club aged four. Since then he has been spotted to join up with the East Midlands squad, and also the Sheffield Eagles League side. His most recent bout has been playing for a Saints youth team against local rivals, Leicester Tigers. The match took place on one of the pitches at the Saints ground and, although the team lost, Ben was asked to join the Saints training academy. He now has an arduous schedule where he goes to the gym three times a week and has training at the Saints Academy on Tuesdays and in Sheffield on Fridays.
Ben, who also plays for the Brooke Weston rugby team, is also a good all-round sportsman, having been invited to play table tennis, squash and badminton all at county level. But his passion is for rugby and he is hoping that when he leaves school he will get a sports scholarship which will allow him to study alongside 12 hours of scheduled rugby training a week. At the moment he is working on perfecting his skills as a scrum half.
He said: 'The Saints Academy is about developing the techniques and getting the detail right. To be a good scrum-half you have to perform excellent passing every time, and display an awareness of the game and all-round ability. It is high-intensity training where we work on fitness then do a bit of ball work and defensive work.'