NOTE: There are two forms (or “Codes”) of rugby. They’re called Rugby League and Rugby Union. For the purposes of this article, we’ll concentrate on the most common form of the game, which is Rugby Union).
Quite a few schools play rugby – and if yours does, that’s a great place to start – just ask the teacher in charge if you can come to training. But if it doesn’t, not to worry. You may still be able to find a friendly teacher and suggest he or she starts a team.
There’s plenty of help available for schools that want to start rugby. The RFU’s All Schools programme was launched in 2012 for just that reason!
Some people think it’s just for private schools, but the All Schools initiative has encouraged more state schools to take it up and more than 750 new schools have started playing rugby thanks to the help it’s given . Your teachers can find out more about it at https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/education/schools
There’ll be lots of rugby clubs in your area where you can learn with qualified coaches, physios and other experienced, friendly people who are registered with the Rugby Football Union (RFU). And don’t worry about the welcome – rugby people are among the friendliest people in the world (off the pitch at least!).
Where can I find a Rugby club?
You can find your nearest rugby club at https://www.englandrugby.com/find-rugby, or by Googling “rugby for beginners near me”.
There will doubtless be one of the big, famous clubs not far from you (clubs like Leicester, Northampton, Sale, Bath and Wasps), but these are clubs which employ professional players – so that’s probably not the best place to start. Best to go to one of your smaller local clubs to begin with. If you have ambitions to play at the highest level – don’t worry, you’ll soon be spotted if you stand out.
Do I need to be a certain “type” of person to play rugby?
Not at all! It doesn’t matter whether you’re big or small, old or young, fast or stocky and strong - or any combination of those; there are different positions and types of rugby game to suit you. Starting as young as five, some people are still playing in their 70s!
And a lot of people think that due to it being played a lot in private schools that it’s a “Posh” people’s game – but that’s not the case. When you’re down in the mud together everyone’s equal and no one cares who you are or what you do. You’ll make some lifelong friendships on the field – and in the clubhouse afterwards!
How will I know what position is right for me?
Once you join a club, you’ll find understanding rugby positions is much easier, but you’ll have a pretty good idea of where on the pitch you’ll play by your body type. If you’re big and strong, you’ll more than likely play in the “forwards”, working as a “pack” to win the ball for your fast, elusive “backs”. If you’re small, skilful and quick thinking, you might play at half back – the “brains” of the team - living on your wits and dictating the plan of the game. If you’re fast and good with your hands, you might enjoy playing in the backs. Chances are, the faster you can run, the further away from the scrum you’ll play. The real speedsters play on the wing and get to score the most spectacular tries.
Will there be other people like me there?
Most clubs offer training in rugby for beginners from “mini” (Under 7) right the way through to adult (over 18) teams, many run Ladies’ teams and some even have “Vets” (rugby veterans) sides for the over 30s who still fancy a run out.