What would it mean if every District in the country adopted the game of rugby and actually incorporated it in their mihigo (performance contracts)?
It’s a question that I have been pondering for some time now. Rugby, for starters, can be played in various formats in terms of numbers and also level of contact.
It can be tag rugby, touch rugby, hold or even full fledged tackling which many are more conversant with as it is what many see on TV or in their local areas.
Tag rugby is mainly played by children under the age of fourteen but even adults can decide to have a go at it. It doesn’t mean that players tag at one another but rather they have a piece of cloth tagged onto their shorts.
How it is played is that one tries to untag the cloth from the ball carrier…in the end it helps one develop a high sense of vision for team mates while improving ball passing and handling skills since it is fast paced.
Touch rugby is similar but there are no tags involved. The ball carrier just has to avoid being touched by the opponents before passing the ball to a team mate as they try and score.
On the other hand, contact rugby involves a lot of action, tackling, running and a lot more. It requires a lot of self discipline in terms of speed, endurance and strength training. In fact the other forms of rugby are sometimes used as warm up routines.
All in all, the game of rugby promotes team work, respect for all and solidarity. This is evident with the level of camaraderie among players after a game. There is no love lost among opposing players.
So, why would it be a great thing if the game were to be adopted at District level? First and foremost, we have to consider the numbers involved. There are various formats in terms of players per team.
The common ones are the 7-a-side and the 15-a-side. However, depending on the numbers or kind of tournament, there can be 10-a-side or even 12-a-side or less.
The 7-a-side tournaments have seven people per team. These are fast paced and very exciting as there seems to be more running space and players can unleash a variety of tricks to outwit their opponents.
Since the pitch seems much bigger and there is a lot of running, this version of rugby goes for 7 minutes per half. A full game is therefore a ‘whole’ 14 minutes. Please, don’t snigger at the 14 minutes. Two minutes of play at full pace can seem like 30!
Therefore, given the few minutes involved per game, a tournament organizer can even have over ten teams playing the same day on the same grounds.
On the other hand, the 15-a-side involves 15 players per team. That is 30 players on a pitch! A game goes for a gruelling 80 minutes, a half lasting 40 minutes with a 15 minute half time break.
Back to Districts, a game that involves such large numbers of youth would be a great driving tool for any of its given activities.
The same youth would easily be approached to take part in various developmental activities instead of them idling about or even indulging in other ungainly activities that might set back their growth or development.
While the idea of encouraging Districts to take up rugby might seem one for the future, at least I am happy to reveal that some Districts are already doing so.
For example, Kamonyi and Muhanga Districts already have Rugby Clubs taking part in the national league and other local competitions. The one in Kamonyi is called Puma while the one in Muhanga is called after it, Muhanga RFC!
What the federation should do is try and sell this idea to the remaining districts, organize training workshops for referees and coaches and provide the other technical aspects during the formative period.
This will lay a great foundation for Rwandan rugby, increase competition and number of games which will translate into better quality rugby, a wider base to select national team players from and thus a stronger national team that can fare better regionally and even internationally.
With the pace at which the game is growing, this is something I feel will be achieved in the near future.
Rugby federation gets new Website
The Rwanda rugby federation with the help of Hong Kong-based Briton, Hughes Dave, will soon launch a new improved website, www.rwandarugby.org.
The website developed by Sports PR giants Two Up Front, is a marvel. I understand plans are underway to include sections for local and international fixtures and a more regular update. This should do a lot in promoting Rwandan rugby.
For those not in the know, Dave is the brain behind the Hong Kong 10s tours Rwanda has taken part in. He first took the Rwandan team there in 2010 and followed it up with another trip just last year.
He hopes to make Rwanda’s participation a sure deal every year, so he is already chasing for possible sponsorships to make this dream a reality.
If you are the head of a corporate company, please, inform your front desk to let in Dave and any Rwanda rugby officials into your office so you can take pride in being part of the growth of this fast growing team sport.
The author is a rugby player and trainer.