Formed 2004 ... Herts 7s U14 Runners-up 2005 ... North Herts U14 team, Herts Youth Games 2005 runners-up (coached by Letchworth)... Herts Superteams U14 Runners-up 2005 ... Herts SuperTeams "Fairplay" winners 2006 ... Rochford 10s U17 Champions 2006 ... East Midlands 10s U17 Runners-up 2007 ... East Midlands 10s U17 "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... National 10s U17 5th place and "Fairplay" winners 2007 ... Herts 7s U17 Plate runners-up 2007 ... National 7s U17 Plate winners 2007 ... RFU "President's XV" Award winners 2007 ... Herts Superteams winners 2007 ... Midlands 10s U18 Runners-up 2008 ... National 10s U18 4th place 2008 ... North Herts U11 team, Herts Youth Games 2008 runners-up (coached by Letchworth girls) ... London and SE 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2008 ... Herts 7s U18s runners-up 2008 ... National 7s U18s quarter-finalists 2008 ... Gloucester City 10s U18 Bowl runner-up (6th) 2009 ... Worthing 10s U18 Plate runner-up 2009 ... National 7s U18 Plate winners 2009... Worthing 10s U15 Plate winners 2010... Worthing 10s U18 Shield winners 2010... Herts 7s U15 and U18 Bowl runners-up 2010... National 7s U18 Plate runners-up 2010...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Big changes coming to junior rugby?

There are strong indications that the RFU are planning major changes to junior rugby (the "continuum") - changes that, though they mainly affect the U12 age band and below, will inevitably impact on girls rugby as well.

At present the youngest children (up to U8) play tag rugby, with contact coming in at U9 and various things like contested scrums and line-outs coming in year by year until U13s, where the rules are pretty much the same as girls U15s.

However, proposals being discussed on some rugby referee forums suggest that a New Continuum will be trialled in Worcestershire and Hampshire. This will see "non-contact" rugby - ie. tag - continuing up to U10s.

U11 rugby will be the "start of contact", but player will not "need to to put player on floor for a tackle - can just hold onto the shirt - with the referee shouting "tackle". The player must then pass or release ball. If a player is  tackled to floor there will be no rucking".  In other words, this sounds like a slightly vigorous version of touch rugby with scrums (5 player, contested) - certainly it is a game not as physical as the current U9 game! The full game (all be it with 6 player scrums) would not come in until U13s.

In some respects this is good for girls (and boys) who do not enter the game until the start secondary school (U12s). It fits in much better with the sort of rugby played in schools (ie tag at primary, contact at secondary)  - at present going straight from tag into full contact at 10 or 11 in an existing boys' club team is pretty tough! The New Continuum might be a better option.

However, it can safely be said that current mini and midi rugby coaches, parents and players will be far from happy - especially potential forwards who will now not be able to show their worth until they are 12 - instead of 9. That is assuming that they keep playing that long.

Its a difficult balancing act - would these rules attract new players? If they do, would that balance players who are lost because they are bored with tag and touch until they are 11 - especially as these are the players who tend to dominate the professional and international ranks (including the women's teams, where most of the new players breaking through started playing at 6 or 7).

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Personal opinion, we already see players leaving under 8s as its the second year of tag. There won't be a side with 15 players in it doing tag at under 11. This is PC madness under the guise of health and safety. It is hard enough to compete against football as it is.


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