The foundation of Thames Valley Rugby looks incredibly strong!
As we get closer to the start of our Junior, Secondary School and Club Rugby Competitions on Saturday 7th May, the Thames Valley Rugby Football Union Inc are excited about the progress been made at Junior Rugby, the foundation of our Rugby community.
The numbers of teams have jumped significantly in the Junior Rugby Space from 2021, which has been a pleasant surprise considering only a month ago we were unsure if some members (children and adults) of our community would even have the opportunity to be involved due to Covid-19 restrictions. With restrictions at ease now, it seems everyone wants something positive to commit too.
The rise in numbers is across the board, with ALL nine (9) Junior Clubs having an increase of teams and player numbers from 2021. When we talk about GROWTH of the game, we look at growing numbers and registrations of players, coaches, managers, volunteers, sponsors, clubs, teams and referees and its fair to say we are well and truly heading in the right direction in this space.
We have currently gone from 42 teams over all competitions in 2021, to a whopping 54 teams across the board from all clubs in 2022, including an entirely new grade (Year 7) which will be hugely beneficial for the growth of our younger players coming through into Full Field & 15-aside. This indicates an increase of 150 player registrations from Year 3-8, which in turn will mean we have more coaching and managing opportunities for our parents, caregivers and members of the community.
This number is expected to grow as we commence the start of the season, with primary school visits beginning in Term 2 and word of mouth been a powerful tool. And with these booming statistics, we are still not counting our Rippa Rugby players under the age of 6, where around the region we at least have another 200+ children who represent their clubs in in-house competitions.
The growth of these statistics are obviously been seen in other neighbouring regions with clubs on our boundary’s seeking information and showing initiative that they want to affiliate with Thames Valley Junior Rugby moving forward.
This is great reward from some big decisions having to be made by the Junior Management Board since the start of the year. The Small Squad Sizes initiative which promotes ‘maximising participation’ and ‘less standing on the side-line’ has obviously been well received with all Clubs and Coaches relying on this framework when building their teams.
The change of the start date, which is now on the first weekend of Term 2 (Saturday 7th May) has given Clubs an extra 4-6 weeks to promote the season, whilst also giving children the opportunity to finish their summer sport commitments and have a well-deserved break before the hectic Junior Rugby schedule.
And finally the introduction to Tackle Rugby, where the change of rules to our Year 3 Competition has also made this an attractive product. There will be NO scrums and lineouts, a change from 10 to 7 players on the field, plus the reduction of field size where it will be brought in from half-field to quarter-field.
So, have these positive changes in the Junior Rugby space led to this boom of registrations, or will we find that Rugby has picked up its spark again after a brutal 3 years of constant disruptions and frustration? We will see.
Junior Rugby Draws will be finalised by the end of next week, so stay tuned and look forward to where your team will be heading on Saturday 7th May!
TVRFU Inc Game Development Manager