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England and the RFUW

The RFU was established in 1871 and now has approximately 200 member clubs; their mission statement can be found in (appendix 1). The RFU is affiliated to the IRB, the international rugby board. The IRB is the international governing body and law making body for rugby union they are responsible for the game at an international level see (appendix 2). There is also a European rugby union board called the FIRA-EAR who fund and organise various competitions across Europe including the under-19 world championships. There are also various associations such as the BARA, the British Asian rugby association. They aim to increase participation by encouraging people from the south Asian countries living in the U.K. to take part in rugby at all levels more information on BARA can be found in (appendix 3).

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There are roughly 2500 rugby union clubs in England but only 853 offer a youth programme. The RFU have 2 main schemes for encouraging participation at grassroots level. The main one is tag rugby which is a kind of mix of rugby league and rugby union which will develop into rugby union. The rules of tag rugby can be found in (appendix 4). The other RFU scheme to raise participation at grassroots level is, beach rugby. In the Bournemouth area there is an annual beach rugby tournament which is usually held by Boscombe pier, it is usually organised and run by Bournemouth’s sports development team, the RFU, leisure rugby and Oakmedians rugby football club. This is roughly the same game as tag ruby but it is played on the beach and can be played by people of all ages. Beach rugby rules and competitions can be found in (appendix 5).

The RFU is committed to supporting the development of grassroots rugby. Over 5% of their annual income is given to help support grass-roots schemes. The breakdown of the estimated central government and lottery funding can be found in (appendix 6). The CCPR, which is the national alliance of governing and representative bodies of sport and recreation, will give the RFU �9.4 million for a three year project, how this will help grassroots participation and about the CCPR can be found in (appendix7).

Tag rugby, which is the main way of increasing participation at grassroots level, has two main sponsors these are Ford and Sportsmatch, see (appendix 8). O2 the mobile phone network are a large sponsor of rugby in England, they are currently giving the RFU �3 million a year in their latest sponsorship deal see (appendix9). There are many local clubs including Oakmedians and Bournemouth, a list of local clubs can be found in (appendix 10). Bournemouth are the largest and most successful club in the area and information about them and there sponsors can be found in (appendix 11).

The path from starting playing rugby to playing for your country is sometimes a confusing one, but the basic outline is consists of: Tag rugby will be ware a young player starts they can either start by joining a rugby club, playing at a local leisure centre or by playing at school. This will then progress into a contact game with different numbers of players until it is built into a 15 a-side game, all of these games can still be played at rugby clubs and at schools. Then a player can play for their county for example Dorset or Wiltshire. The next step is to play for a region for example the south west. The next step is to hopefully be invited to attend an England youth trial, the most successful players will be fast-tracked to the team England Academy; from there the players will possibly enter into the England teams and possibly the final England squad. There are many other pathways to the England squad; these and a more in depth look at the pathways to elitism can be found in (appendix 12).

Women’s rugby started in 1983 and is growing fast, there are now over 8000 players in England and the RFUW is the national governing body for this sport in England. Out of the 2439 rugby union clubs in England just 956 have a women’s section. More information about all aspects of women’s rugby is in (appendix 13).

In wheelchair rugby the game takes place on a regular basketball court using volleyball, for about the rules and how it is played can be found in (appendix 14). GBWR, great British wheelchair rugby, is a not for profit charity that has been going for 20 years for the fast growing sport of wheelchair rugby. Their objective is to develop a fully inclusive sport, enabling players to achieve and reach their full potential regardless of financial status or disability. For more details about funding of the GBWR see (appendix 15).

The RFU’s grassroots schemes are working fairly well as there are a large amount of young people playing tag rugby that are then filtering through to the higher stages of the game. This is seen in the success of the England team in recent years in both winning the world cup in 2003 and reaching the final in 2007. however out of nearly 2500 clubs in England only 853 have a youth section, this shows that although the young players are playing rugby there are not as many as many would like to see.


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