The IRFU Rugby Development Department has come together with the four provinces to announce a new strategy for the roll out of tag rugby in the domestic game.
Now in its 15th year, the IRFU Tag Rugby programme will be operated at provincial level in Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster for the first time.
The move is designed to give non-contact rugby a greater footprint at grass roots level in 2021 and beyond, while strengthening the relationship between provinces and clubs in the running of participation programmes.
The IRFU will continue to drive the programme with training, education and strategic support.
Tag Rugby matches are set to be permitted again in the Republic of Ireland on June 7th, under the easing of current government restrictions.
They are currently permitted under coronavirus regulations in Northern Ireland.
Tag Rugby is an invaluable tool in recruitment and retention in rugby. Since the Introduction of IRFU Tag in 2007, it has helped to get a rugby ball into hundreds of thousands of people’s hands for the first time.
Further announcements will be made at provincial level in the coming weeks with exciting opportunities for clubs to get involved and for players to get back on tag rugby pitches.
“This is an exciting step forward for tag rugby,” said IRFU Participation Rugby Operations Manager David Keane. “The tag rugby season was short lived in 2020, but we moved into our 15th summer of the game with renewed optimism.
“Non-contact versions of rugby help to keep the sport as a game for all ages and abilities, which is crucial in terms of sustainability at club level and opening the game to the whole community.
“Some players have moved beyond the contact phase of their sporting journey while others simply prefer rugby without the contact element. Our sport is adaptable to meet the needs of our community and tag rugby and touch rugby are important in helping to keep people involved in the game.”
The four provinces have also welcomed the announcement. Connacht Rugby Participation Manager Lyndon Jones says:
“Connacht Rugby are delighted to collaborate with the IRFU in launching the Tag Rugby programme for Summer 2021. With Government restrictions easing we look forward to a Summer full of enjoyable rugby experiences which get people back involved in their local rugby clubs.”
Leinster Rugby Community Rugby Manager Declan Fassbender says:
Leinster Rugby are really excited to work with IRFU TAG for Summer 21 . With the great news coming from the Ire Gov announcement yesterday we can’t wait to see all existing and new tag players running around in the months ahead.
Munster Rugby Participation and Operations Manager Damon Urlich says:
“Munster Rugby are looking forward to hosting our Tag Rugby programme this summer. Tag is a great way to reconnect with friends and colleagues and to stay active on our return to rugby pathway”
Ulster Rugby Head Of Rugby Development Chris Webster says:
“Ulster Rugby are delighted to be working alongside the IRFU in supporting the roll out of the Summer Tag programme/leagues. This offering is a perfect complement to other #URGAME activities taking place at clubs in Ulster, as we continue to focus on a summer of fun.”