The IRFU are encouraging clubs to set up more non-contact forms of rugby to appeal to a wider audience in their community and to encourage lapsed members to return to the game.
The IRFU’s 2023 State Of The Game Survey, reported in June this year that a significant number of people were interested in non-contact forms of rugby including tag and touch.
Just under 5,000 respondents took part in the survey and while 87% rated their involvement in rugby as Satisfactory or very Satisfactory there were also some key common themes to improve access to the game.
An overwhelming majority indicated and the social and fitness side of rugby were very important and one third of all lapsed players were looking for an opportunity to return to the game.
- Over 40% of lapsed players say that more social leagues at lower standard would have increased willingness to play
- Over 30% of lapsed players say that more turn-up-and-play opportunities would have increased willingness to play
- Over 30% of lapsed players want to play Tag and Touch now
The IRFU are offering free welcome packs to the first 50 clubs who commit to set up non-contact rugby as an offering in their club. This will include a range of equipment. Click HERE to register.
Niall Rynne, Chairman of the IRFU Management Committee said, “As a Union we are committed to having the game of rugby enjoyable and accessible for everybody. Formats such as Tag and Touch Rugby embody this perfectly. As a Union working so closely with the Ireland Touch Association, I was delighted to lend my support to the team preparing for next year’s World Cup and I want to wish them all the best for the year ahead”
Jennifer Kavanagh, Business Analyst IRFU, “The State of the Game survey provided a wealth of data on our member’s perceptions and needs. Data was captured on facilitators and barriers for continued involvement in rugby throughout life and it is fantastic to see this data being turned into action through the development of the non-contact resources and initiatives.”
Aidan Sweeney, President Ireland Touch Association commented, “Clubs that have embraced Touch Rugby have found that as touch is fully integrated into the clubs, all players are full members, so take part in the club’s activities both playing and social. Playing numbers have increased with new players introduced and current and past members retained. Once members are still active many branch back into playing contact or coaching and/or refereeing.”
Although the games are initially primarily social, Ireland Touch runs local and national leagues for clubs to compete against other clubs and for players to advance to represent Ireland at national level. The game is all year round with the main competitions in spring and summer which keeps the club players active and improves handling, defence and a players spatial awareness on the pitch.