Getting Started in Rugby Union

Rugby Union is a team sport, so your individual contribution need stretch no further than basic kit (shirt, shorts, socks and boots) and a rugby ball.

However, with injuries such a big issue, protective gear is used by professionals. A gum shield is a necessity, while head protection (usually made from light plastic material and a big advantage for front row players) and body protection (mainly lightweight support for the shoulders and chest, reducing the impact from a tackle) can also be highly beneficial.

To get started with equipment, you can try any good high-street sports store, or the following online links:

Grassroots Rugby

One fantastic free website for beginners across the UK is the BBC Rugby Union microsite. Packed with articles from top professionals, as well as videos and detailed explanations on various rugby union skills in their Sports Academy, it’s the perfect starting point for all those new to the sport.

England

Rugby union is a staple in most schools across the country, and there are a whole host of school competitions, many of which hold some relationship with the RFU. For more information, check the Community Rugby RFU website.

One related initiative is Martin Johnson’s Rugby Camps. A collaboration between the World Cup winning former England captain and the RFU, the camps offer boys and girls aged 11 to 16 the chance to develop their game under the guidance of RFU qualified coaches. The camps last three days and can be found at 8 locations across the country, held at various times between July and August.

For late starters (which is not rare at all in rugby union), the RFU has a very handy club finder, while SportsFocus also has an extensive list of clubs in the country.

Scotland

Scottish Rugby also has a host of community schemes on their Community Rugby mini-website as well as their own club finder to help new players get started with contacts.

Wales

Again, the Welsh Rugby Union has a great website which provides club listings and youth leagues. Alternatively, you can contact the Dragons Rugby Trust online or at Custom House, Custom House Street, Cardiff CF10 1RF (Tel: 02920 227294).