- Ruckley, Rowntree and Corbisiero head to HQ to launch Kids First Rugby
- This is about developing children through rugby union” – Player development manager Gary Townsend
Animated ambassador Ruckley was at Twickenham on Saturday to launch Kids First Rugby, the RFU’s new approach to the way children learn the game.
Devised by player development manager Gary Townsend, Kids First Rugby aims to break the sport down into bite-sized chunks in order to ease understanding and enhance the skills of even the youngest players.
Aimed at under 7, under 8 and under 9s, the scheme has been trialled over the past three years and incorporates new rules such as smaller-sided games that encourage youngsters to keep the ball in hand, developing their passing and running in the process.
“This is about developing children through rugby union,” said Townsend. “There is a different emphasis that is subtle but quite significant.
“It’s all about putting the child at the centre, building their confidence and self-esteem as well as their competence.
“If we look at their social and personal skills, we can develop them into decision-makers who recognise that making mistakes is a natural part of learning. To develop creativity, they are going to make lots and lots of errors – that’s OK.
“Ruckley just brings the whole thing to life and focusses the coaches on the fact that this is all about the kids.”
England prop Alex Corbisiero and England forwards coach Graham Rowntree were also at HQ at the weekend and both men were hugely complimentary about Kids First Rugby and Ruckley’s role within the initiative.
Rowntree, whose two boys are currently learning the ropes at mini level, was particularly enthusiastic.
“It’s vital [to understand the game from an early age],” he added. “Both my boys love rugby and with Kids First they are touching the ball loads, getting involved a lot more and really enjoying it.”