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).

WHO CAN TEACH ME TO PLAY RUGBY?

As you get better, you can pick up tips to improve your game through watching matches – either on TV or by going to live games. But rugby, for beginners particularly, is best learnt in the safe environment of a team or club, with proper coaching.

Schools

If your school plays rugby, there’ll be teachers there who you can ask about joining the team (if they haven’t asked you already!) where you can learn the game. If they don’t – why not find a friendly teacher and suggest it? Rugby teaches useful life skills and values which schools will benefit from, too. 

Values such as discipline and self control, respect for authority, team-mates and opponents, increased self-esteem and a reduction in anti-social behaviour. There aren’t many sports where you’ll see someone absolutely flatten his opposite number and then stoop and offer a hand to help him up!

And there are few sights more heart warming than seeing a 6ft 8 lock forward bending over to be told off by a 5ft 3 referee, then nodding and saying, “Righto. Sorry Sir!” Many sports could learn from this, and many schools would certainly be pleased to make such attitudes prevalent. 

The RFU launched an All Schools programme in 2012 to spread the take up of the game in more state secondary schools and so far more than 750 new schools have introduced rugby through the initiative. Your teachers can find out more about it at https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/education/schools

Other places to learn rugby for beginners.

But don’t worry if you’re not at a rugby playing school – there are lots of places all over the country that teach rugby for beginners – in short, rugby clubs

Each club will have a team of qualified coaches (for each age group and team), physios and other experienced people who will be happy to welcome you and share their knowledge.

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”. 

Are the coaches qualified to work with children?

If you’re taking your little ones down to any local club, the coaches who work with Under 7s right up to Under 18s will have a DBS certificate from the Government, and the Club Safeguarding Officer will have registered this with the Rugby Football Union. Anyone without a certificate will not be allowed to coach.

Thought about Touch? The perfect rugby for beginners…

If you don’t fancy the full on blood and thunder of contact rugby, you can play touch rugby at all kinds of locations around the country, but formally and informally. Grab a ball and find an empty stretch of beach, or take a few workmates down to the park after work in summer. It’s a great way to get fit in the open air without getting battered about and you get a lot of the exciting elements of the sport – speed, guile, quick thinking and teamwork – as well as the great social side. A lot of contact rugby players play touch as a means of honing their awareness, passing and running skills, and the advantage is you can play in mixed teams with men and women, old and young.

There are even National touch rugby leagues you can join if you want to play competitively. You can find out more here.