Rugby is thought to have originated in the 1820s at the Rugby School in Warwickshire when a pupil picked up the ball and ran with it during a game of football. The game of rugby developed and has been a popular contact sport ever since.
As well as a contact sport for adults, rugby can have great physical and mental benefits for children. The Education Secretary in 2015, Nicky Morgan launched a government scheme to introduce rugby into inner-city schools to encourage resilience, teamwork and discipline.
Safety and contact sports
Rugby promotes safety in the sport, including safe contact and safe tackling and up to the age of 9, rugby is taught as a non-contact sport and children learn to play touch or tag rugby. Children are taught how to tackle between the ages of 9 and 11 and it is only at 11, once children are at Key Stage 3 level, that they play rugby as a contact sport.
Social skills and equal opportunities
Rugby requires all players to participate and all players have equal opportunities to run with the ball, pass and also play in defence. Because of the nature of play in rugby, no players are left out as rugby is a very social sport. Players learn during play and training to work as a team and make decisions that can benefit their teammates as well themselves.
Encouraging morals, fair play and discipline
One key benefit of rugby is that children are taught respect and fair play. Coaches and referees must be respected, the referee’s decision is final and this instils self-control and discipline, as illustrated in the good sportsmanship seen in the Rugby World Cup 2019. To succeed at rugby it is important to train hard to build up fitness and strength. Completing repeated rugby drills can boost players fitness and instil the discipline required to succeed and improve, and for more information on rugby drills click here.
Problem solving and creativity
As well as the physical benefits of the game, rugby also has cognitive benefits too. When playing rugby children need to practise their skills of creativity and problem solving as play often involves an analysis of the situation, making decisions and deduce principles. Rugby, therefore, boosts children’s social and mental agility as well as physical agility.