The Welsh Rugby Union is thrilled to announce a number of on and off-field initiatives to help restart community rugby following the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and assist clubs, Female Hubs, inclusive teams, schools, players and volunteers to move further through the stages of the WRU’s Pathway to Participation.
The pools for the WRU Cup competitions to take place between August and December have been confirmed – the Championship Cup, Plate, Bowl and Shield Pools for the senior men’s game and the North Wales Cup, South Wales Cup and South Wales Plate for the senior women’s game.
WRU Championship Cup Groups WRU Plate WRU Bowl WRU Shield WRU Women’s competitions The 15-a-side competitions will be played under modified Laws to reduce contact around the scrum and maul in particular (see above links for Pools).
WRU online registration for the 2021/22 season opens for all players, coaches, team managers and first aiders on Monday July 5 – go to the WRU Gamelocker to register from July 5.
This means that from Monday 5 July, all club age group teams will ‘move up’ to the next age band. However, teams are encouraged to take time to support players’ transition to the next level of the game, with club matrix rugby beginning on September 1. Players aged 18 or over on August 31 2021 will need to register as adult players following the move to put Youth rugby into the U18 bracket for this season to protect the age band from any further disruption due to Covid restrictions. Female Hub players will need to register for the 2021-22 season from July 5 but they will continue to play within their current age groups until August 31 2021. All players, parents, coaches, team managers and first aiders should log into the WRU Gamelocker from Monday 5 July to register. Clubs should contact their Regional Manager with any online registration issues.
Teams can now play club v club 7 and 10-a-side matches under modified Laws. Online coaching courses are still available and face to face courses return from August, check the WRU Gamelocker for dates and availability and access pathway support here:
In line with the latest Welsh Government guidance, spectators can now attend community rugby matches providing they adhere to Welsh Government guidance on all areas especially social distancing and hand hygiene.
Boots for Grassroots. In order to breakdown some barriers to participation, especially taking in the economic effects of the pandemic, the WRU has purchased 4000 pairs of rugby boots at a discounted price from official partner Gilbert and will distribute them via clubs and staff on the ground. The first tranche of the boots will be distributed to the Female Hubs around Wales and to around 60 clubs in areas that feature high in the Welsh Government deprivation index. Further allocations will be made from early next season with WRU community staff working with clubs, hub officers and other key groups to ascertain need. Boots for Grassroots is part of a wider Inclusion Plan, with further projects will be announced in due course as rugby continues to return to our communities.
Value our volunteers. The Welsh Rugby Union will be contacting as many community rugby volunteers as possible over the coming weeks in order to shape a plan to provide additional and meaningful support. The WRU wants to hear from all community rugby volunteers from secretaries to ground staff, from coaches to first aiders in order to find out what support they most need in order to best serve their clubs and communities. Clubs secretaries will receive information shortly with more details on the consultation process.
In addition to the above, £1 million has been committed by the WRU to fund a number of specific, new initiatives that will assist the rugby family in bringing the community game back safely. This fund will be utilised in a number of ways, for example: – 12 new one-year hub officer posts will be created in key target areas to boost the efforts of clubs and educational establishments in increasing participation in sustainable rugby opportunities for all within their communities. – Financial support and ongoing guidance will be made available to clubs who own and manage their changing and showering facilities around specialised sanitisation and cleaning requirements as a result of the pandemic – A number of new initiatives will be introduced to upskill players in the 11 – 21 age group following the long break to include skills centres around Wales for male and female players along with festivals and competitions where restrictions allow to help kick start the game again for young people . New digital content will created to support coaches, referees, volunteers and players. – In line with the WRU’s inclusion plan, mentioned above, a significant number of one-day rugby camps will be held over the summer holidays at numerous rugby club locations around Wales. This provision will help break down barriers to participation, especially outside of term-time through providing fun, free holiday activities along with healthy food and drinks in order to support the movement to end holiday hunger WRU CEO Steve Phillips said, “We understand the difficulties everyone has been under on and off the field since March 2020 and we hope the initiatives funded by the £1 million additional Pathway to Participation commitment will help the community game back to full health. We believe these measures will make a great contribution towards improving the physical and mental health of our nation through community rugby.” WRU Community Director Geraint John added, “We know there is a huge amount of enthusiasm to get back to the game we all love. It’s great to be able to move to the next steps of our Pathway to Participation this week with 7 and 10-a-side matches sanctioned between individual clubs, Female Hubs and other teams. It is great to see that providing clubs are comfortable that they can comply with Welsh Government guidance, they can start to welcome spectators to their matches in the coming weeks and months, and with the publication of the Pools for the community Cup competitions, senior teams can also now focus on stepping up their gradual return to full rugby. “As we move towards next season, we have decided to open the WRU online registration process from July 5 in order to give players and coaches additional time to prepare for next seasons safely. “There are videos and resources on the WRU Gamelocker to support coaches at every level of the game and we will be running additional webinars and online meetings where appropriate.” WRU chairman Rob Butcher added, “We are thankful to the army of volunteers who have done so much in helping us all get to this stage in the Pathway to Participation. As restrictions ease and we look forward to attending matches again, we appeal to all within the rugby family to assist these volunteers by adhering not only to Welsh Government COVID in areas such as social distancing in place to protect public health, but also that we respect our own rugby values in our conduct on and off the pitch.”