Rugby on the rise in school sports pecking order



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    Looking outside its traditional nurseries has enabled Australian rugby to claw itself up from near the bottom of the school spots participation charts.

    In a tumultuous year on and off the field, the Game On program for six to 12-year-olds provides some much-needed good news.

    Participation numbers have rocketed up 112 per cent over the last two years, with girls making up 46 per cent of the 56,000-plus kids signed up.

    Behind the rise is the non-contact Game On program, which concentrates on skills like evasion and running into space, passing backwards and filling space in defence.

    Prior to the implementation of the program in 2015, rugby was struggling in the crowded and competitive battle to win the sporting hearts and minds of kids.

    “We we were sitting at number 28 of 32 sports that were in sporting schools, we were quite shocked that we were so low down the pecking order,” Rugby Australia’s Cameron Tradell told AAP.

    Rugby has since moved into the top 10.

    Prior to Game On, Tradell said the approach to junior rugby had consisted of “a mosaic of different programs and products, where this is a more formalised approach.”

    The sport’s governing body realised it need to broaden their junior base beyond traditional nurseries such as private schools. Many government schools now run Game On.

    “We were talking to the old people people that we always had, we weren’t really building a conversation with new people and how we might engage new people,” Tradell said.

    “We made some different fundamental changes to how we communicate the message, but also rejigged our activities so that they were really more fun focused than skills outcome focused.”‘

    Tradell acknowledged the code faced the challenge of keeping youngsters in the sport once the physical contact element was introduced.

    “It is a challenge because the physical contact will be a barrier for some people, but it’s also something that we shouldn’t shy away from, because it is a key part of our game,” he said.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • Roar Guru

      December 12th 2017 @ 8:30am
      John R said | December 12th 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

      Great news.

      Despite all the negative happenings under Pulvers tenure, he should be proud of the great inroads made into junior and female participation.

      • Roar Guru

        December 12th 2017 @ 8:55am
        PeterK said | December 12th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

        Also getting the NRC up and going.

        I thought Pulver did quite a good job UNTIL going along with the very poor super 18 4 conference format which then lead to the axing of the force which he also handled very poorly.

        • Roar Guru

          December 12th 2017 @ 8:57am
          John R said | December 12th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

          Good point re: NRC.

          The Force scrapping will be his enduring legacy though.

        • December 12th 2017 @ 9:21am
          Train Without A Station said | December 12th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

          But that’s also on the assumption that not agreeing to the format wouldn’t have seen us worse off, without having any reason to actually assume that.

          Remember that format was to enable specific requirements some partners wanted. Veto doesn’t necessarily create an alternative agreeable format.

          What we do actually know he has done poorly is the lack of a plan to minimise the impact of cutting the Force.

          Regardless, Pulver’s successor will inherit the organisation in a better position than Pulver did in many ways. But there’s still the real threat that 2019 could send the game broke, and the uncertainty of the test season from 2020 onward.

          • Roar Guru

            December 12th 2017 @ 12:44pm
            PeterK said | December 12th 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

            what format could have been worse? Veto would have forced a better option in some form , at the worst no change and no expansion, would have been better.

            We also know the optics and associated PR with the force exit is terrible, being caught out in lies, the aiding of rebels in transferring the license to ensure force was the one axed i.e the public perception of unfairness.

            • Roar Guru

              December 12th 2017 @ 1:30pm
              Train Without A Station said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

              Why would it have “forced” another option?

              You are under the assumption that the other parties would just agree to forgo what they fought for, and do what suited the ARU.

              If it compromised 2016 Super Rugby in any way, we would have been toast.

              If it changed the TV Rights value in any way, we would have been toast. Whilst I see the negatives of the format, doesn’t it provide more content in SA time zones that better suits Euro broadcasters too?

              Actually we don’t know the Rebels were “aided”. It’s implied without ever explaining how they were “aided” in transferring a licence between Imperium and the VRU were the funding which enabled it was provided by Rebels/VRU backers.

              • December 14th 2017 @ 5:33pm
                In brief said | December 14th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

                That’s akin to saying that even if found with a smoking gun and matching DNA you are innocent if no one saw you pull the trigger.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 9:29am
      simmo said | December 12th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      Yeah but 28 out of 32? How does this happen?
      I really want to believe this but all major sports report in rubbery figures…how do we know this jump is current?

      • December 12th 2017 @ 9:44am
        soapit said | December 12th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

        id like to know the 27 ahead of them. newcombeball?

    • December 12th 2017 @ 9:53am
      Sydneysider said | December 12th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

      Looks like plenty of double counting from all the sports and also plenty of “participation” figures which aren’t exactly registered players.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 1:05pm
      Mike said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      The Game On initiative is a 5 week school participation program. It looks and sounds a lot like the AFL’s Auskick – and we know how accurate their ‘participation’ numbers are.

    • December 12th 2017 @ 1:23pm
      Muzzo said | December 12th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

      That has been Australian rugby’s biggest problem over the years, that they have virtually ignored the public schools. AR, needs to make further step’s into this market, as this is where League, along with their annual pilgrimage’s to NZ by their scouts, have the upper hand in securing what talent is available. Grass roots, & this is where it begins, virtually. Start promoting the game, more extensively, than what has been happening over quite a few years.
      That is one of the reason’s that NZ has the drop on Australia, in rugby.

    • Roar Guru

      December 12th 2017 @ 2:40pm
      RobC said | December 12th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

      A move in the right direction. But a long way to go.

      • Roar Guru

        December 12th 2017 @ 3:21pm
        Train Without A Station said | December 12th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        Yep. Imagine where we could be now if JON or Flowers had implemented this.

        • Roar Guru

          December 12th 2017 @ 3:50pm
          RobC said | December 12th 2017 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

          Would be a lot better now, imo Train

          • December 12th 2017 @ 6:37pm
            Bakkies said | December 12th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

            Rob what’s the difference between GameOn and previous schools programs like Try Rugby?

            • Roar Guru

              December 13th 2017 @ 3:02am
              RobC said | December 13th 2017 @ 3:02am | ! Report

              Gday Bakkies, not 100% sure. I think (guess) Try is direct to students. Game is via teachers.

              btw, got a Q for you. I havent been in touch re Rugby much lately. Im only posting a few more cause I was on leave. Saw your comments re Clyne. Youre (among others) not fond of him

              Can you share more about the issues? Is it mainly about the WA cull. Or other things?

              • December 13th 2017 @ 7:44pm
                In Brief said | December 13th 2017 @ 7:44pm | ! Report

                That’s like asking.. well I won’t say. You would need to go back over the entire Western Force culling process to fully understand why people feel so betrayed by this man. Reading the senate hearing minutes on Hansard might be a start.

              • Roar Guru

                December 15th 2017 @ 11:29am
                RobC said | December 15th 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Caught up on a bit, In Brief. Maybe not enough?

                But it seems to me Twiggy is pointing at Clyne as the bogeyman because he’s the chairman:
                – The decision is almost unanimous.
                – The dissenting voice is the WA rep Stooke, which is expected.
                – Thus, as I see it – its beyond Clyne. Its everyone including him