- Rare double for South Yorkshire club
- Coaching and Player Retention successes
Sheffield RFC has achieved the unique distinction of being recognised by the Rugby Football Union in two sections of this year’s annual RFU President’s XV Awards, which reward clubs who have set the highest standards in the 15 categories that embrace all sections of club administration.
The club claimed the ‘Player Retention’ and ‘Quality Coaching’ awards – and the two £500 prizes – ahead of nominations from across the country for their efforts to make sure that players from all ages of the playing spectrum not only enjoy their rugby at the club, but also have that experience enhanced by receiving top-class coaching.
The awards and cheques were presented by John Owen, (Past President of the RFU) at a function held at Sheffield's Annual Dinner, held at Baldwin's Omega on Saturday, May 11.
“Sheffield have identified the issue of young players drifting away from the game in their late teens and put in place structures to ensure that at every level players feel fully integrated within the club,” said John Owen. “Their approach to Colts rugby and that crucial transition into senior rugby has been a major contributor to the retention initiatives and their interaction with students, both their own and young people coming into the city, has been another key success of which they can be very proud.
“Top-level coaching obviously helps create greater enjoyment for players and in this regard Sheffield have also emerged as the country’s best. Their coaching programme and the impressive list of people at the club who have undertaken courses and become properly qualified at the various levels reflects on the dedication of a significant number of members and they deserve great credit for their efforts.”
“The award is recognition for the whole club and I’m delighted that our submission earned approval from the panel of judges,” said Andrew Langdale, Club Chairman. “To be picked out for one of the 15 awards from hundreds of nominations coming from all parts of the RFU was quite an accolade and something we’re thrilled to receive.
“It’s also very pleasing to see the RFU acknowledging the hard work that clubs like ours put into driving their operation forward and also recognising some of the very good ideas that the army of volunteers come up with.”
RFU President Paul Murphy said: “The quality and variety of the entries never ceases to amaze me. Picking a winner from so many excellent submissions was a very difficult and challenging task for the panel.
“One intended spin-off from each year’s awards was to showcase some of the best work and most productive ideas that are bringing rich rewards to some of our clubs. I would commend every club to have a careful look at the bright ideas and the successful projects that are driving our great game forward in places like Sheffield.”
The panel of judges comprised: Paul Murphy (RFU President), Bob Reeves (RFU Senior Vice President), Jon Dance (RFU Junior Vice President), Willie Wildash (RFU Immediate Past President), Jason Leonard OBE, Gill Burns MBE (former RFUW President), Joe Stanniford (RFU National Youth Council), Owain Jones (Rugby World) and Carole Thelwall-Jones (RFU Volunteer Engagement Manager).