The Welsh Rugby Union have launched a set of pan-Wales touch rugby leagues which will start this summer. Touch rugby is great fun, a good way of keeping fit and a safe introduction to the full game. It also helps to develop some of the key skills needed to play the game.
So what’s the problem?
Rugby clubs. Or the lack of them. The WRU announcement makes no mention of rugby clubs whatsoever. Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the WRU was a Union of Welsh rugby clubs (hence the name).
It would seem to make sense to someone who isn’t living in the crazy parallel universe inhabited by the people who run our national game, that rugby clubs should be involved in a development initiative like this.
But instead, the WRU have set up their own project, diverting more funds away from the grass roots and into another pet project run from the Vale of Glamorgan “Centre of Excellence.”
This is happening against the backdrop of a crisis in our club game. Local clubs are being starved of funds, threatening their very existence.
Rugby clubs are already there, with volunteers and facilities to support these new initiatives. Get kids and grown-ups down to your local club in the summer to play touch, and they may return in the Autumn to play the full game. At the same time supporting the grass roots game which is the life blood of our national game and our communities.
Yet again the WRU has sacrificed the greater good of all Welsh rugby just to gain a few minutes of headlines.
It would be interesting to hear the views of other rugby clubs’ members, coaches and volunteers.