U9 Rugby Intro 2016/17

We signed off last season with a fantastic lunch back in May and for those who missed it, we thanked you all too - our fantastic set of parents for turning out in all weathers for this amazing set of players. The gift you gave us all was very generous and we will make sure it is spent wisely (at the Black Boy!).

Last season showed the incredible strength in depth we have across the squad, as everyone travelled and took part in various festivals and coaching sessions at other clubs.

We had some amazing and well deserved success but it also did the boys and girls no harm to lose from time to time, as it’s all part of experience. The biggest change we saw was the collective maturity of response to finding the going tough and the way in which team spirit shone through - 'I' has certainly been replaced with 'WE' as the squad develops!

 Week in, week out, the players have given their all and as coaches we can ask no more than that.

Next season sees some changes. The new rule development is the introduction of tackling and only tackling – all the rest of the rules from tag pretty much stay the same - but tackling will become our focus.

 I will send to you all later our Guiding Principles for the Squad – we will update this over the season and the years as we progress – but at a high level our Aims for 2016/17 are: 

  1. Have Fun
  2. Tackle and be Tackled safely
  3. Use the width of the pitch
  4. Rush Defence
  5. Pass in both directions
  6. Run forward fast

If you have any questions about what tackling entails for the boys and girls, drop Rob Pearl a line.

Contact might not be for all the players, but they'll never know if they don't try and all players are more than welcome to give it a couple of weeks and see if they enjoy it at the start of next season.

There will be lots to learn from the get-go and as the players enjoy the fun of learning new skills, we will ensure that the training is structured in a way that provides an environment that is fun but also allows them to progress at a speed that individually they are all comfortable with. The first few weeks will see a lot of contact rugby game scenarios, with a progressive lead up to matches with full contact in order to build up confidence, so don't be surprised at the start to not see them flying into each other.

Contact rugby will bring with it a few more knocks, tears and the possibility of injury. We want you to be eyes wide open on that. But equally rugby, the contact form of the game, teaches confidence within a community of shared experience and common values such as respect and fair play and, as ever, we will put safety first – if someone is injured we will deal with it as much as possible but we also need parents to be on standby to take over. Your presence is needed at the sideline.

A quick overview of the Rules can be seen in this RFU video


First session will be 4th September – Our “location” will be infront of the football pavilion (parents stand on the slope) – we should be here most weeks – but do check the whiteboard on arrival.

Training Sessions will begin at 10am – we will start with warm ups – before getting into drills from 10:15

Week 1 we will be doing an explanation to players and parents on the tackle – this will start at 10:15 – we will repeat it following weeks – but it would be good to have most of you there in week 1 – but if you cannot don’t worry – we will repeat these weeks at the start.

Equipment and Preparation

As we get older – so we need to make sure we are properly equipped


What's vital is a gum shield - if they turn up without they will not be able to take any part in the session – there will be no exceptions on this.  Whether you choose to go down the ‘boil in the bag’ route or the more expensive custom option is up to you. Either way, they need to have a fitted gum shield from the very first session.

Body Armour

Protective body armour (shoulder pads and scrum hats) both have pros and cons and the decision to wear them is left at your discretion ...obviously we would like you to make your children fully aware this stuff does NOT turn them into a super hero and as such they still need to exercise caution. Again, you can discuss this with any of us once the season starts.

Shirts and Clothing

Players during training and games can no longer wear any tops that have hoods or zips – this includes tour hoodies and the ¾ training tops – they can cause injury

For Festivals – we all need to be wearing the same striped kit, so if you do not have one then please can you invest – please do not wear previous tour / non SRFC tops.


Players must wear rugby boots. Please do not send them in football boots or blades, as these can cause injury during tackles.


Please keep nails short – there will be lots of grabbing next season. This is both for the players’ and opponents’ safety

Festival Selection and Groups

Our philosophy remains the same as it has always been - Inclusion and Development (for all of us....players and coaches alike!). However we will only put in players to Festivals who have met the required competency of tackling – this is for their confidence and safety – this may for some take most of the season – but they will get there.

Due to our size, we will split into 4 roughly equal groups – this worked last season. We will not fix any player into a group – they will be moved to different groups both up and down as we progress throughout the season and as their abilities change.

We have deliberately not named the training groups A,B,C etc. as we do not want the players, if they move, to be able to use this as some sort of bragging or de motivation. Some players will move down next season – however we find that this will over time bring their skills up as they get to practise with their peers.

Coaches will rotate through the groups so all players are used to all coaches. 


For the benefit of those not at the Awards, we took the opportunity to say thank you to Grant and Daniel as they moved to South Africa– but now they have decided to stay !

We welcome Didier Prongue who starts with us this season, Spence Copp returns as a coach,  Mark Edwards and Marius Le Roux from the U11s and Neale Bussey from the U9s. Marius and Neale will float between us and their other age groups

The rest of us you know – or hopefully do; that gives us an incredible 20 coaches – bigger than some other clubs playing squads!  We will use the numbers to make sure we can concentrate on individuals and detail.


Our Media Officer (Greg) can be followed on Twitter @GregGorrill.  We always want photos and videos of the players, which we will put on the site; please keep them coming to him.

We especially like video – Greg loves editing and creating montages.


Our age group Social Secretary Fay Smith will be in touch over the season for our get togethers, some with the players, some without.


The Fixtures should be correct (but they do tend to change during the season) and reports are on the website.

As always if you have a question or query please contact either me or the other coaches

U9 Coach Team