Many Clubs in Surrey operate Mini rugby sections for participants aged U5s to U11s.
Surrey encourages Clubs to become involved in this important aspect of the Game. It is an important recruiting ground for senior players of the future. Thousands of young boys and girls enjoy this form of the Game. Surrey is here to develop this and to arrange annual festivals to celebrate participation. Discover more about Mini Rugby.
Surrey End of Season Mini Festivals in 2018 are:
15th April 2018
Sutton and Epsom RFC
15th April 2018
15th April 2018
22nd April 2018
22nd April 2018
U11 and U11 Girls
Old Reigatian RFC
Festival Rugby 2017-2018
Thank you to those clubs who replied to my question around streaming for U10s & U11s next year. These replies along with discussions with the RFU, Surrey Management Committee, the surrounding CBs (Counties), other clubs and those clubs who have signed up for the Kids First Pledge (17 so far) have enabled the Surrey Mini Rugby Committee to reached an informed decision on the format of mini festival rugby in Surrey next year.
Surrey Rugby have already stated that mini festival rugby for U7s, U8s & U9s will be played on a mixed ability basis only from 2017-2018.
For U10s & U11s, all mini festival rugby will be played within 2 streams, “experienced” and “development”. The previous streams of A, B, C etc. will no longer be recognised and will not be permitted in any Surrey mini festival.
The experienced stream will consist of children who would previously have played within A & B streams. The development stream will consist of those who previously would have played in C or development streams. The rationale for this is 2 fold:
Many "A" and "B" players are already interchangeable between these streams - This will provide an opportunity for better players to help develop others - This will encourage a development pathway for players and clubs who will be making the transition to 12-a-side rugby in U12s where integration of more players into a match day squad will be required
It is important that less able, less confident and new players are able to experience the game in a safe environment where they are able to work on their skills and build their confidence
As rugby is a late maturation sport we have seen many "Development" players make the step up in future years
Fair and Equal Game Time
Ultimately it is about ensuring that all players get a fair and ideally equal amount of game time in which to develop their skills in the appropriate environment. Additionally all players benefit and should have the opportunity to experience the festival atmosphere and so in addition to the festival leagues outlined below, clubs are encouraged, where possible, to incorporate a development pool within any festivals that they run.
When coaches are picking sides for experienced stream festivals, they must take an evenly balanced side and not just their strongest players. This cannot be policed, but is really no different from the current situation within streaming, so Surrey Rugby are relying on the spirit of fair play that is found within rugby.
It is has also been agreed that where clubs are just short of a full squad to take to a development festival, a less able experienced player can be used to make up the numbers to ensure that the club can take a development team along and so ensure rugby for them.
Expanding the Development Leagues
To ensure that development players have enough opportunity to play festival rugby, Surrey Rugby are keen to expand the development leagues found within Surrey.
Currently we have West London, East Surrey and A3 development leagues where dev teams come together and have a short training session followed by round robin games. It is based on 4 clubs each hosting an event and so each dev team play 3 games at an event 4 times a year. Generally there is no cost for these events as it is about getting game time for the dev kids. If you are interested in setting up one these leagues, please contact me and I will help to facilitate this with your surrounding clubs.
The Age Grade Rugby season kicks off this week. As we start this exciting year, I wanted to thank everyone who has been involved in the work over the last five years. Your input has been really constructive and without it we would not be at this important point for young people playing our sport now and in the future. This season sees significant changes to make the game more about what motivates the players themselves and whilst change takes time, we all owe it to those young players to visibly drive the evolution together. We must also be prepared to be challenged by them and others if we drag our heels or are not aligned to the new framework of Age Grade Rugby. Your support in modelling best practice and taking our clubs, schools and colleges with us is going to be vital.