Welsh rugby clubs are leading the way by providing guaranteed game-time for all young players as part of the ‘Half A Game’ initiative from this season.
More than 14,000 children across 711 teams have signed up to the Half A Game scheme which ensures every child plays a minimum of half a game at clubs, schools and festivals.
The initiative provides equal playing opportunities for boys and girls of all abilities from U7s to U16s, with an emphasis on the enjoyment of rugby participation rather than the results.
With participation in rugby at minis and juniors level at an all-time high in Wales, Half A Game is a proactive drive to continue to recruit and retain more youngsters in the game.
Half A Game is part of Welsh Rugby’s overarching remit to engage more people, more often, with more enjoyment and more success.
“Rugby must be fun when it comes to getting and keeping children involved in the game,” said WRU Regional Rugby Manager Ben Rose who heads up the scheme.
“Half A Game is our commitment to creating an enjoyable playing environment for all children regardless of their gender, size, playing background or ability.
“Last season saw more minis and juniors playing rugby but the greater challenge for Welsh Rugby is retaining these children and their families in the game for the long-term.
“By providing equal playing opportunities and focusing on the enjoyment of taking part rather than winning matches, we’ve seen first-hand how players can be more engaged both on the pitch and from the sidelines.
“Young players are more likely to keep coming back and have a greater chance of reaching their playing potential. They also continue to benefit from rugby values such as teamwork and building confidence and new friendships.”
Children at Mumbles will be some of the first to experience the positive effects of the scheme when they open the clubhouse for their own Half A Game Festival on Saturday.
WRU’s Head of Rugby Participation, and volunteer minis coach at Mumbles, Ryan Jones has supported Half A Game as a positive step towards a more inclusive and accessible grassroots game. He added:
“Half A Game is our recommended framework for a positive and engaging rugby environment, which is so important for the grassroots game to thrive in Wales. To see so many teams signed up at the start of the season is testament to the enthusiasm and passion of the kids, coaches and parents involved.”
The official launch of Half A Game comes following a successful pilot scheme of 25 teams during the 2015/16 season. With more than 700 teams already involved, you can find out more and register your team at wrucoachinglocker.co.uk/half-a-game
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