Rugby, in various forms, is played by men and women, boys and girls, in more than 100 countries across the world. Some play because they enjoy the friendship and team spirit, others hope to gain skills to allow them to play at the highest level but the majority play to get active, fit and have fun.
This sport has been reportedly been played ever since William Webb Ellis (a student at Rugby School) decided that he wasn’t keen on the hand-ball rule in football, so instead of kicking the ball, he picked it up and just started running! If your child doesn’t like that rule either, then Rugby could be the sport for them. Rugby doesn't just mean 15 huge men chasing a ball around in the mud any more, although of course that still goes on. There is now a type of Rugby to suit a player of almost any age, size, shape or skill.
What are the important points to consider when choosing a rugby coach/club/team for your child to join?
The International Rugby Board (IRB) was founded in 1886. With its headquarters in Dublin, the IRB is the world governing and law making body for the Game of Rugby Union.
The governing body for rugby union in England is The Rugby Football Union.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) is the governing body for rugby league football in Britain and Ireland. The RFL also administers the amateur and junior game across the country in association with the British Amateur Rugby League Association (BARLA).
The BARLA runs youth leagues such as the Gilette National Youth League as well as the Yorkshire Combination Youth League and Hull Youth and Junior. There are county cups at age group level, known as the Yorkshire Youth Cup, Lancashire Youth Cup and the Cumbria Youth Cup. These cater for various age groups of children.
The International Rugby Board training programmes are as follows:
The Rugby Ready course is designed to give a greater understanding of some of the integral laws of Rugby Union. It covers important safety aspects of coaching the game as well as practical skills for delivering sessions.
Coaches level 1 - Introducing rugby. The purpose of this introductory course is to enable coaches to acquire basic skills so that players new to the game learn to play in safe, enjoyable competition.
Coaches level 2 - Developing rugby skills. The purpose of this course is to enable coaches to develop skills for coaching age grade and adult players.
Coaches level 3 - Analysis & preparation for coaches. The purpose of this course is to enable coaches to develop more advanced knowledge and skills.
Coaches - Coaching Sevens. The purpose of this course is to enable coaches to develop skills to coach the 7 a-side game.
Rugby is a very physical game so by playing regularly your child should gain stamina and a good level of physical fitness as well the skills more specific to rugby like tackling and passing. Playing matches is also great for encouraging good sportsmanship and team spirit. Rugby clubs are usually very welcoming to the whole family so playing rugby can help build a child’s social confidence too.
Prince Harry is the vice-patron of England's Rugby Football Union (RFU). William was named vice-patron of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) in 2007. The Queen is patron of the RFU and WRU.
Vegas plays Rugby League. The comedian Johnny Vegas (real name Michael Pennington) was drafted in to play Rugby League for St Helens. The star, who is from St Helens, Merseyside, and is a lifelong Saints fan, made a five-minute appearance at the end of a testimonial game.