Random ball drop kicks-off community rugby registrations
· 5,000 balls to be randomly given away to teens in one hour
· New rules include minimum playing time below Under 16
· Launch of One More Team campaign
Some young rugby players will be getting more game time this season under changes introduced for 2014 following feedback from teenagers.
The changes to Small Blacks (under 13) and secondary school rugby are being made as registrations at schools and rugby clubs throughout New Zealand get underway.
An increased focus on compulsory coaching courses and a requirement for players at all levels below secondary school First XV grades to play half a game are key changes for this season.
Brent Anderson, General Manager Community Rugby and Provincial Unions said New Zealand Rugby had listened to teenagers and was now acting.
“In 2013 we spoke to thousands of teenagers, coaches and others involved in the game and received the clear message that kids don’t like sitting on the sideline week in, week out and that’s why from 2014, those playing rugby below First XV grades must get the opportunity to play at least half a game.
“Players also told us that they want coaches at the top of their game and we’ve committed to providing them with the best coaching support we can with compulsory courses as well as coaching tools and resources.”
The changes were announced today as 5,000 balls were distributed randomly to teenagers by New Zealand’s 26 Provincial Rugby Unions to mark the launch of Random Rugby TV and the start of rugby registrations for schools and clubs.
Brent Anderson said the community game in New Zealand was strong with almost 150,000 players registered in 2013 and it was hoped that changes being made would again encourage positive numbers in 2014.
“Rugby is the sport of choice for many Kiwis. However we’re not taking that for granted and we are continuing to explore opportunities to keep people in our game, particularly teenagers.”
Other initiatives continuing in the community game in 2014 include the positive sideline behaviour programme APPLAUD and the continuation of Police vetting for coaches and referees involved in Small Blacks rugby.
Promotions underway to boost registrations
New Zealand Rugby is introducing a new television programme, Random Rugby TV, to encourage teens to increase their involvement and interest in the game. The 10 minute weekly show will run on Sky TV over 20 weeks hosted by Makere Bradnam and features various All Blacks as well as rugby highlights. Random Rugby TV is in addition to the popular Small Blacks programme hosted by Nua Finau which moves to Sky Sport and returns on 22 March.
Brent Anderson said that as well as promoting registration time on television, radio and online, New Zealand Rugby was also setting a challenge to schools and clubs to create one more team.
“If every club and school registered just one extra team in 2014, we’d have another 10,000 players turning out every weekend.”
The One More Team campaign will be led by some familiar All Blacks and feature a range of prize draws for contributing schools and clubs.
The period for rugby registrations varies throughout the country. To find out more, those interested in playing rugby or volunteering should contact their school, Provincial Union or local club at http://allblacks.com/clubfinder.