29th August -
On Monday October 2, running rugby will become a whole new ball game with the introduction of the most modern administration system in British sport.
The date marks the launch of RugbyFirst, a game-wide internet-based tool to help run rugby at all levels, holding the details of more than one million coaches, referees, players and volunteers held on a single system.
The project has taken three years to develop by First Sports International, a leading provider of sports software technology solutions, and will become fully operational for the RFU and Rugby Football Union for Women on that day.
RugbyFirst will revolutionise administration as a single replacement for existing systems with a centralised database that can be accessed and updated using a secure log-in by everyone from Constituent Bodies to club secretaries, team managers and coaches.
The membership and player registration databases will include information on coaches, administrators and volunteers as well as Criminal Records Bureau disclosures.
And management tools will allow clubs and CBs to communicate with players and members - for example, a team manager can inform players of their selection by email and text alerts.
Clubs and CBs will also be able to access club development and disciplinary management tools and an interactive RFU questionnaire, and use RugbyFirst as a way to track player development
"RugbyFirst will put the sport at the cutting edge of sports administration for a National Governing Body," said Nick Bunting, RFU Head of Planning, Funding & Resources.
"The system will not only be integral to the daily running of the sport but it will provide robust data about the health of the game, such as the number of qualified referees and coaches.
"We will use the information to see if the standards are improving and to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of our programmes."
RugbyFirst has been extensively tested by clubs and CBs and won praise from administrators as a simple, comprehensive system that meets all their needs.
Clare Sharpe, Youth Registrar for Northumberland RFU, said: "I input about 700 registrations a year for the 17 clubs in Northumberland who have junior sections and it's made things so much easier. I can now e-mail every youth coach an up-to-date list of all their players and any queries or amendments can be dealt with very quickly."
Bob Morrison, administrator for league rugby in the South West, added: "We register about 10,000 players every season and this new system has made it so much easier. It's internet-based so we are not having to dial up to a central computer and once a player is registered at youth level we are not having to duplicate their details."
The existing Club Pages will be updated and replaced by RugbyFirst and Keith Mellalieu (Lancashire RFU) said: "Overall impressions were very positive and RugbyFirst is seen as a huge step in the right direction. The new system offers a simple, friendly and above all useful toolset for all our organisations."
For more information about RugbyFirst contact the RFU's IT Project Manager Rob Mackmurdie on 0208 8316580 or email firstname.lastname@example.org