REBEL RASCALS Getting Kids Started in Rugby
The REBEL RASCALS were out in force last Saturday at Harlequins Rugby Club for this year’s first Combined Day that brought together young rugby players from across Victoria.
The REBEL RASCALS program introduces five, six and seven year olds to the game of rugby. The players learn basic skills in a fun and supportive environment and at the end of the session get to play a non-contact game.
Initially run by Victorian Rugby Union Development Managers the REBEL RASCALS program is now co-ordinated by the U6 team coaches who continue to run sessions in three regions: Western, Southern and North/East; with Combined Days bringing the regions together.
VRU Game Development Co-ordinator Will Nicholson said the program is an important part of making sure rugby development in Victoria stays strong.
“It’s important for us to get kids playing as young as we can. As long as we can give them an enjoyable experience, they’re having fun and we’re teaching them good skills, hopefully they can stay in the programs all the way up into senior rugby.”
This year has seen the program grow week by week and overall numbers are up by over a third compared to last year, said Nicholson.
“We’ve had a number of clubs come down at the start of the season with two or three kids and now they’ve got six or seven. Kids are hearing about the program from their friends or parents are talking, so our numbers have continued to grow every week.”
Harlequins U6 coach Bruce Dobson said teaching young players the proper skills from the start is a crucial part of making sure they continue to play and enjoy rugby.
“A lot of the five and six year olds are new to the game and with their attention spans it’s challenging, but it’s very important to introduce them to the game properly and teach them the right skills from the get-go. With the right coaching it’s shown that they will stick with it and enjoy it from day one.”
For Dobson, the most rewarding part of the program is seeing kids getting involved and having fun.
“The best part is seeing them out there enjoying it and having fun. Just seeing their face when they score a try – they’re over the moon!”
UPCOMING GALA DAYS
2 July, Gala Day AAMI Park curtain raiser to the Rebels v Stormers Super Rugby game
23 July U6 Gala Day – POWER HOUSE
27 Aug U6 Gala Day – VENUE: TBC
Story: James Wong