Rugby Union: Return to Rugby relaunches for new season
PUBLISHED: 18:00 31 October 2016
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Initiative was a great success during first year
One year on from the 2015 Rugby World Cup final the tournament’s legacy continues to inspire, with 190 new men’s teams launched this season, in large part due to the success of England Rugby’s Return to Rugby programme.
This year’s Return to Rugby follows on from last year’s Sport England-funded inaugural programme which saw 2,500 people sign up for sessions and 800 go on to play regular, competitive rugby after being reintroduced back into the game.
Return to Rugby offers former players a light reintroduction back into the game, with a strong focus on the social side of rugby, allowing attendees to move at their own page and refresh their basic skills within a relaxed and fun environment.
Each session is tailored to suit a range of goals, whether people wish to play socially with low commitment, get back into competitive playing or simply up their fitness.
Since launching during Rugby World Cup 2015, Return to Rugby has attracted 4,000 returning rugby players back to rugby, attending sessions at their local clubs.
England Rugby’s ambition is to get 5,000 players participating in Return to Rugby sessions across the country by the end of the season.
Since launching on August 18, 100 rugby clubs nationwide have been offering weekly training sessions for returning recruits through the programme.
“Our ambition with the programme was to use the excitement of the tournament to inspire people, particularly 18-24 year old men, to round up their friends, pick up a rugby ball at their local club and get back in the game,” said Steve Grainger, rugby development director at England Rugby.
“Now in its second year, we’ve doubled the number of participating clubs to 100 and aim to double our playing numbers, which we are well on our way to achieving.
“So far we’ve seen some great examples of rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, sportsmanship and enjoyment being put into practice, with clubs embracing returning members into their rugby families and growing the quality of their club as a result.
“This, for me, is what the legacy of the Rugby World Cup is all about.”
Return to Rugby has had a positive impact on clubs across England, boosting their playing numbers, strengthening their existing teams and enabling them to create new teams as a result of the influx of returning players.
Click here to sign up for Return to Rugby sessions in your area.