Rugby for disabled participants

Initially I feel the performer may start playing their desired sport as a recreational activity, nothing more than just playing for fun. This usually occurs at a young age and may involve throwing a ball around the park with some friends or joining a rugby club to play mini rugby. At this level the performer is known as a ‘novice performer.’ The facilities at grass roots level are usually very basic, but they can vary dependant on the region you come from.

At this level rugby schemes may be funded by the public sector e.g. local businesses. Attempts are being made to improve the scheme of youth rugby as the sports council has put forward a bunch of independent bodies known as the ‘Local Advisory Sports Councils.’ Rugby Union is quite popular throughout my region, which is Cumbria, so I feel it may be quite high up in the priority list. So I feel efforts are being made to improve participation in rugby union at grass roots level, especially from local clubs and local schools. Rugby union is one of few sports, which has made good use of the investments made by the government and administrated by the Institute of Sports Sponsorship, these schemes to improve sport at grass roots level are sponsored by Lloyds TSB and Ford Tag Rugby initiative.

‘The Wavell Wakefield Trust funds the employment of 54 Youth Development Officers and the Rugby Football Union is a major contributor to the Charity. The Y.D.O’s have coached around 250,000 young people in 2000. Mini Rugby is promoted in clubs affiliated to the Rugby Football Union with over 10,000 mini teams playing regularly. Since the 1991 Rugby World Cup, Tag Rugby has proved to be very successful within Primary Education with 10,000 schools now participating.’

I feel that quote gives you an indication of the efforts being made to try and improve the game at grass roots level. I know that tag rugby is an ongoing progress to encourage the young into the game, and it has proven to be successful as it occurs at Keswick Rugby Football Union Club during the summer months. Sponsorship is also an important form of capital. Companies in the local area can provide new strips and equipment for clubs and schools, meaning they can invest more in youth development.

It is essential to improve the attractiveness of the game in order to increase interest of participants especially at grass roots level. If you can get people interested in rugby union at a young age it is far easier to maintain their interest throughout the older age groups. However I feel at this level you should make attempts to illustrate that rugby at this level is fun. As if competition is introduced to early ‘the win at all costs’ (Lombardian Ethic) can be introduced. This can take the fun and enjoyment, gradually out of the game. Therefor the number of participants at the older levels will decrease, as they will lose interest as the fun has been completely drained from the game, and they can forget the reasons why they play the game that they once loved. Therefor they get bored and retire far earlier than what they normally would.


Grants from the national lottery, and central governing grants along with local taxing provide funding for grass roots. With this funding we can improve the facilities and opportunities available. Clubs and schools can go on tour and they can have better equipment, which improves the attractiveness of the game. An example of the effectiveness of these types of funding can be proven on the West Coast of Cumbria. Various types of funding and grants from bodies all over England this has made it possible for people of both sexes to participate in various leagues which exists at the following levels: U7, U9, U12- This is the barrier from where rugby played within mixed sexes can no longer commence. From this level and upward females have to play separately to the males. U14, U16 and U18 leagues are also available.

The interest in rugby union amongst females has also increased, as there are now female leagues, which is showing a booming interest. The reason for this boom in female rugby is that the attractiveness of the game has enhanced, and women as well of men want to be apart of it. All these types of funding aid the development of skills at grass roots level, which is increasing the attractiveness and therefor interest at grass roots level which therefor can be put into correlation to the increase in the interest of participants and spectators at the professional level. This is due to the game being made more attractive I feel evidence of better provision is the cause of this.

Local provision in rugby union is mainly assisted by the central government. However this is often not enough for the local and regional clubs, as they struggle to stay within their budget. This problem can be overcome by through support from organisations for extra funding. For example ‘Sport England’ is a body set up by the national lottery-funding group. Rugby Union is a sport, which is receiving high funding. Bonanza is also largely contributing to RFU funding especially at grass roots level

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