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Rugby for young people takes different forms, including non-contact and contact varieties.

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The Rugby Football Union (RFU) believes that rugby is good for health; however, 70 academics and doctors have called for a tackling ban in matches played in Irish and UK schools.

The benefits of playing rugby

Rugby is a great sport for kids and brings many social and physical benefits, including self-discipline, self-esteem and increased confidence. Many teachers claim that off-pitch behaviour improves when rugby and other team sports are introduced into schools.

Rugby also promotes sportsmanship, respect, teamwork and the enjoyment of fitness, which are important qualities to take into adulthood. By performing simple rugby training drills, rugby reduces the likelihood of depression, dementia, and diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer, heart disease and strokes.

Will Greenwood, World Cup winner and former England centre, believes that rugby is hugely beneficial for children. He states that the values of respect, teamwork and the ability to stand alongside one another are held dear in the sport.

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Safety

The RFU takes the safety of players extremely seriously and ensures that this remains at the core of the training received by players, medics, referees and coaches alike and at all levels. A selection of rugby training drills are found online at Sportplan and other resources.

Significant work has gone into the development of gradual progression into the game to ensure the maximum levels of safety, with structured approaches covering the refereeing, teaching, playing and introduction of the sport from under 7s to under 18s. This provides the building blocks for the 15-a-side game and enables young players to understand the basics before specialism and contact are introduced. These measures were implemented across the UK in clubs and schools from September 2016.

RugbySafe is a programme from the RFU that promotes player wellbeing and safety projects to support universities, schools, colleges and clubs with participants of all levels of the sport.

High-quality medical support, officiating, coaching and player behaviour reflecting rugby’s core values contribute to minimising the likelihood of injury occurring.

The RFU launched one of the longest running and largest injury surveillance studies in the world at community level and has clear processes for interpreting injury research into player, match official and coach education. There is also a large-scale prevention and surveillance project in schools for injuries.

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