Our son has become very passionate about playing rugby since playing for the first time with the school and it all feels like it happened very quickly. I for one knew absolutely nothing about rugby but this is what I have encountered so far.
Rugby boots are not the same as football boots
One minute I am buying the wrong boots because the guy in Sports Direct sold me them telling me that they were rugby boots. Luckily we have a teen at home who has played rugby and informed me they were wrong before they ended up being taken to school. Despite Sports Direct’s error they could only offer me a voucher in exchange and not a refund. I wasn’t going to argue with the poor woman in the shop because quite frankly they are low enough paid and badly treated – plus it was valid for a long time and I knew we would use it.
Ideally rugby boots should have the removable studs and not a plastic tip as they get sharp and can cause bad scratches. Also don’t forget their feet are growing quickly at this stage. We only had one day in between matches to replace our son’s because they had started rubbing. £45 because there was only one pair available in his size – I have told him not to lose them!
The rugby tops are very fitted and so we had to go up several sizes as our son has very broad shoulders. We have since learned that really he could do with a completely spare kit – this is useful for when he loses it and when he has a Saturday match after Friday training. It seems he is very reluctant to get his rugby kit washed – telling us it is just a bit of mud and will only get dirty again. Good job he’s at a mixed sex school right!
He has indeed already lost one of his socks but luckily a friend borrowed him a pair until we managed to get hold of another pair from the second hand school uniform shop.
You can get different mouth guards that you fit yourself from the shops – we went with paying the extra and having someone come into school to mould it. As I say I am completely new to it all and didn’t want to get it wrong. Although the first time he went to wear it he said it didn’t fit! I think he just had to get used to it.
Rugby Lessons and Training at School
They have being having rugby lessons as part of games at school and a lot of the boys had been playing for years. I think this is where they were split into different groups which are sorted by letters of the alphabet. I say I know nothing about rugby but did actually know that the A Team were the best, and then the B and so on as our teen used to play when he started secondary school. It worked slightly differently in his old school though and he was often a “reserve” keeping his weekends free but never playing. He says it was due to the injuries he saw happening he decided to drop down the letters until he dropped out of the team.
Our year 7 went straight in to the B Team. As he one of the tall and broad boys he has been put into position 1, which I believe is a prop for the scrum or something. The only other thing I have discovered is that the fast ones are put on the wing!
He loved rugby so much that he immediately started to play on a Monday lunchtime and I think it was another reason he was keen to give up swimming club. He then added in after school once a week too. Matches are either within school time, so he misses lunch or at weekends.
Rugby Matches with School
Parents can go and support at rugby matches played with the school but this wasn’t very clear at the start and I was told that it was just weekend matches by another parent, but this isn’t the case. The first match was an away at a local school and I only just caught the tail end. A boy from the other school hurt his arm quite badly, I am not sure exactly how.
The second match I saw was at home and it didn’t seem that parent friendly in terms of where to go. There was also a football match going on and another parent asked us if we knew where the toilets were. Saying that there were free teas and coffees provided and the school open to use the toilets.
On the field there were various matches going on and it really was just a case of find your child. Even with my glasses on I just couldn’t seem to find my son. One of the dad’s came over and asked which of the teams were playing in front of me and it turned out his son was on the same team as mine. As he couldn’t see his boy either I concluded that these were indeed not the right ones. He said that there were a couple more the other side of the field, which I thought was just where the football was playing. But yes we found them there.
I asked him about his son and he pointed him out. He told me all about how he was a rugby coach and explained about where we shouldn’t stand. I had explained that this was my very first match and asked if we were allowed to stand where he was because it looked like a goal. Apparently that is the goal for when they play full pitch and they can kick the ball over. It seemed all very odd to him that I knew very little about rugby.
Before long another dad came along and this new dad was also asked who his son was. Note at no point did either of them ask about mine! Luckily my husband made an appearance so I wasn’t on my own for the rest of the match. They never asked him though either.
The other team were from an independent school, in what I know to be an affluent area. I have no idea if this has any bearing on anything but from my untrained eye they were very good. Their captain (I only know he was this because our son told me afterwards) was really fast at running and our boys just could not keep up. They also seemed to pass the ball out to get round, where as our approach seemed to be just to run into everyone and hope for the best. We drew and apparently it’s a mix of the two things we need.
Win, lose or draw our son is really enjoying rugby so much so that he wants to go on all the trips. So far he has been to see the Varsity Match and now has paid towards going away in year 8 which involves a tour of Twickenham and some coaching by the Harlequins. I have also heard that there is a big rugby tour at the end of the school years and I should imagine he will also want to go on that.
He has been asking about joining a local rugby club as one of the other boys has told him it would be a good idea. I have talked to a friend about it and I am really not sure it is. Apart from the extra training (when he already does Rugby three times a week and climbing, running and swimming once a week) there’s the match clashes. He just really loves it though and wants to play it as much as he can.
Have you any tips on rugby for children? Or any insights? Or experience on being a member of a rugby club and playing for the school?