- Five new areas to benefit from Rugby 365 AGPs
- Click here to book time on a Rugby 365 AGP pitch near you
Work is now underway on five new Rugby 365 England Rugby Artificial Grass Pitches set for completion by next season in Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Durham, West Midlands and Yorkshire.
The AGPs are located at host clubs Billingham RUFC, Derby RFC, Keighley RUFC, Shelford RFC and Stourbridge RFC and follow on from completion of the first three AGPs in Buckinghamshire, Somerset and Lancashire at the end of last year.
England Rugby’s investment in AGPs is part of their Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50m over four years into the development of 100 AGPs across England.
In four months of on-season usage since the first three Rugby 365 pitches opened in January, they have hosted over 250 matches and more than 30 festivals of rugby with a combined footfall of 20,000 players enjoying the experience.
Billingham launch their AGP
“Aylesbury RFC was one of the first three clubs to host an RFU Rugby 365 floodlit artificial grass pitch and, since launch, the community has utilised it to the fullest," said Paul Milham, Chairman of Aylesbury RFC, host club for Buckinghamshire’s AGP.
"In the first four months of 2017 we hosted over 70 matches and the pitch involving over 9,500 players from men’s under 18 players to junior players to women and girls who made up a third of all of bookings.”
Testament to the growth of the women’s game, a third of all bookings have involved women and girls and a third of bookings are by non-senior teams, showing great appetite from youth players.
“We are building AGPs in locations where an over-capacity pitch is limiting a club’s ability to grow or fulfil existing training or match demand, where there is high potential to grow the game and where pitches are suffering from overuse,” said Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director.
"The installation of the pitches will create over 50,000 more playing hours for clubs across the country, ensuring more matches and training sessions can occur."
This weekend, Billingham launched their AGP with rugby royalty in the form of England’s most capped men’s player, Jason Leonard OBE, in front of a crowd of spectators.
The RFU expects the creation of additional AGPs will generate over 16,000 participants playing at least once every two weeks, with 58,000 players introduced to rugby for the first time each year.
Alongside the Rugby 365 programme, the RFU is investing £10m over four years into partner organisations to part-fund 40 Rugby Share pitches on community sites.
The University of Hull and University of Gloucester are due for completion by next season and will offer even greater access to rugby across their respective communities through multi-sport AGP playing surfaces.
For more information on the RFU’s Rugby 365 AGP programme, click here.