Rugby Australia have announced a new program aimed at improving the levels of community engagement with the sport in Australia.
Rugby AU unveiled an evolution of the existing ‘Get into Rugby’ program, an entry-level scheme designed to introduce new players to the game via truncated sevens, fifteens and touch rugby sessions.
While the program has traditionally been aimed at schools in the past, its extension will see it rolled out through 31 rugby clubs all around the country this year.
“To help our clubs grow we need to offer a program which appeals to more Australians who haven’t previously followed or played rugby but are looking for ways to connect with others or keep fit,” said Raelene Castle, Rugby Australia’s chief executive.
“Now people can show up to a club close to home with no experience and enjoy themselves while learning the basics,” she added.
The program, aimed at both male and female participants, is catered to those who are unable or otherwise unwilling to commit to an entire season of rugby, instead running for a number of weeks rather than the nigh-on six-month duration of a traditional season.
The program has, up until now, been focused more on rugby in primary and secondary schools than the club game, with thousands of students participating each year. Its expansion is designed to ease the current divide between schools and clubs, as well as providing people who are no longer students with a way to connect with and start playing rugby.
Rugby – and many other sports in Australia, for that matter – has had to deal with the traditional design of weekend club sport becoming somewhat outdated, with societal and demographic shifts putting pressure on that model. Those factors were outlined and discussed in some detail by Roar Expert Geoff Parkes earlier this month.
Today’s announcement will go some way to proving Rugby AU has recognised that traditional approach needs to change, or at least requires supplementation with other models if the sport’s playing numbers are to continue to grow.
New South Wales
Armidale Juniors, Casuarina Beach, Coffs Harbour, Lindfield, Lower Mid-North Coast, Mosman, Northern Barbarians, Oatley, Shoalhaven, Wakehurst
Brothers Albion, Caboolture, Nerang, Norths Brisbane, University of Queensland, Wests Bulldogs
Adelaide University, Elizabeth, Port Adelaide, Woodville
Casey Crusaders, Northern Pantrhers, Power House Junior
Perth Irish, UWA, Wanneroo
Burnie Emus, Devonport Bulls
Albury-Wodonga, Batemans Bay, Broulee Dolphins