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RugbyConnect – IRFU Announce New Online Administration System For Clubs

RugbyConnect – IRFU Announce New Online Administration System For Clubs

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The IRFU are rolling out a new online administration system for clubs for the 2020/2021 season.

The system will be known as RugbyConnect and will be the sole platform for all aspects game and competition management. It features a wide range of paperless functionalities to help volunteers manage areas such as safeguarding and club membership.

All players will be required to register themselves individually on the system in order to participate in the 2020/21 season.  

The system is also designed to play its part in COVID-19 risk management and includes a paperless version of the IRFU’s Pre-Return To Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form.

As part of a soft-launch phase, training modules will be available for volunteers managing the system on behalf of clubs. They will be hosted by IRFU RugbyConnect Project Lead Carolyn O’Connor.

Training Modules will cater for two distinct types of volunteer and will be hosted live on Microsoft Teams at the following dates and times. To suit volunteer availability a range of times are available to attend live training modules.

Training Module 1 – RugbyConnect Registration Management

Suitable For: Data Officers, Registrars and anyone with a role in managing the mandatory registration of all players on RugbyConnect.

Volunteers can attend any one of the following:

Tuesday July 21st 12:00 – 12:45 – Click Here To Register

Tuesday July 21st 19:00 – 19:45 – Click Here To Register

Thursday July 23rd 19:00 – 19:45 – Click Here To Register

Training Module 2 – Managing Personal Assessment Declarations on RugbyConnect*

Suitable For: COVID-19 Safety Officers, COVID-19 Compliance Officers and any coaches/volunteers with a role in player tracking for COVID-19 Risk Mitigation and offering a paperless version of the Pre-Return To Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form.

Volunteers can attend any one of the following:

Tuesday July 21st 20:00 – 20:45 – Click Here To Register

Thursday July 23rd 12:00 – 12:45 –  Click Here To Register

Thursday July 23rd 20:00 – 20:45 –  Click Here To Register

Clubs who complete the training modules will also receive an instructional video to guide them through both processes.

*Clubs looking to offer this functionality will also need to complete Training Module 1.This is because clubs will have to know how to use the RugbyConnect registration system before they offer the personal assessment declaration functionality to members.


Speaking about RugbyConnect, IRFU Director of Strategy and Technology Scott Walker said:

“RugbyConnect is a comprehensive and versatile platform which we are delighted to launch after a period of meticulous planning. For clubs, it will reduce time spent on administrative tasks while creating time for more of the rewarding elements of rugby volunteering.

“Players meanwhile will have greater control over their own personal data. By taking responsibility for registering themselves, they are also providing a service to their club and their hardworking volunteers.

“The addition of the Personal Assessment Declaration will also help clubs implement their COVID-19 Health & Safety Plans in a responsible way.”

The below FAQ section is an updated version of a memo issued to all club Honorary Secretaries on June 9th 2020.

What is RugbyConnect?

RugbyConnect will be our sole game and competition management system for the domestic game. It will provide:

  • Self-Serve player registration for all clubs
  • Online SMART cards for all youth players
  • Safeguarding records for all volunteers who require vetting
  • eTeamsheets will be submitted through it
  • Membership payments and a membership database will be available for clubs
  • Provinces and the IRFU will manage competitions through RugbyConnect; including fixtures, results, referee assignments, league standings, cup draws etc.
  • School Game player registrations and competitions will also be managed here

What is the new RugbyConnect System replacing?

RugbyConnect will now be our sole system for all aspects of game and competition management.

Our team sheets, results and fixture management will remain virtually the same, however the Clubhouse system will no longer be in use for the 2020/21 season. Clubhouse (a previous system used by the IRFU) housed our player registration, safeguarding and club member / membership modules.

These will all now reside in RugbyConnect, meaning all our rugby administration needs are provided by one system.

How will the new player registration module work?

Up until now, players were registered by administrative volunteers and registrars in. This was often a paper-based system.

The new RugbyConnect system will allow the players (or their parents / guardians) to log into their club portal in RugbyConnect and enter their details themselves. The registrar in the club will then be able to validate their registration online, saving huge amounts of data entry.

From the 2020/21 season onwards, all players in a club will have to self-register. For youth players, parents and guardians will be guided through how to upload any relevant documentation such as proof-of-age and photographs. Branch approval of youth documentation will take place within the system.

The move to self-serve will significantly decrease the volume of administration at the start of the season. It will also help to ensure we have accurate data and allow members to have access to their own personal data at any time, as per GDPR regulations.

How will the club member and membership modules work?

The club member and membership modules in Clubhouse were not widely used across the club community. The IRFU engaged directly with clubs for input in designing a new system that better met their needs. RugbyConnect is the result of this process.

Like in Clubhouse, the member and membership modules will not be mandatory. Each club can decide how they want to collect membership payments.

Sportlomo currently operate in this space with many sporting clubs across the four provinces and offer comparable competitive rates in this space. As all club players and parents will be required to register online, this presents an opportunity to add payment options and have your members log in to register and pay at the same time.

Clubs can also build out other membership options. The membership options will be managed outside of the IRFU with Sportlomo directly. Their current fees for online payments are 3.5% of payments through the system, with a 50c /p transaction fee per payment.

For more information on online payments, you can email ronan.keane@sportlomo.com

What functionality does RugbyConnect have for COVID-19 risk mitigation? 

RugbyConnect’s paperless functionality helps with COVID-19 risk mitigation by default, but it does have a number of features designed specifically to help clubs with their COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan.

An online version of the IRFU’s Pre-Return To Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration Form is included, as well as player tracking. It will be available to all clubs who wish to use it. Players will need to already be registered in RugbyConnect make use of these options.

Is the safeguarding process included in the new system?

Yes, the safeguarding module will be moving to Sportlomo. We will be making direct contact with the Club Welfare Officers in the coming weeks regarding these changes.

Is there anything else changing?

Another significant change we are making is the transition from printing youth cards, to operating a SMART card system. Youth cards will now be available online in a SMART format that will be accessible by the player (parents / guardians), coaches and officials as required in the system.

Again, this will see a reduction in administration time and costs and also allow for the cards to have the most accurate data on them (i.e. up to date photographs).

More functionality can be added season upon season as required.

Will there be training on the new system? And when?

Yes, training will be provided on a per module basis. The training format will be online, in online classrooms, and one-on-one online assistance if there is a specific issue a club is dealing with. There will also be video tutorials for people to follow online in their own time.

The training dates will be determined once the date for the start of the 2020/21 season has been announced. We will allow ample time for clubs to get up and running on RugbyConnect . We understand this represents a change for many clubs, and the IRFU is committed to supporting clubs during this transition.

Is there anything that clubs can do to get ready for RugbyConnect?

As the current eteamsheets system will become the system of record, clubs can start going through players in the panels in Sportlomo and identifying players who are duplicates, or whose names are spelled wrong.

These can be passed on to your Club Support Officer who can get Sportlomo to make the recommended edits. Documentation should be issued to the Club Support Officer in a single batch, rather than for each individual player.

There will be none of the usual paper forms required to capture data for player registration at the start of the season, so there is no need to get these ready. Once the online forms are ready for training, these will be shared with clubs.

Who can I contact for more information about the RugbyConnect Project?

Please contact your Club Support Officer:

Connacht: Fraser Gow Email – fraser.gow@connachtrugby.ie

Leinster: Carol Maybury – carol.maybury@leinsterrugby.ie

Munster: Bernadette Linnane – Bernadettelinnane@munsterrugby.ie

Ulster: Matthew Holmes – rugbyconnect@ulsterrugby.com