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Get involved in youth rugby

The National Youth Council

As a National Governing Body of Sport it is important that the views and opinions of the young people involved in rugby get listened to. So in 2009 the RFU set up the National Youth Council (NYC), a Council whose members are; aged between 16-24, have different experiences of the game, have a variation of backgrounds and are from across the country.

There are 12 current NYC members, they meet four times a year, they set their own work programme and projects to help shape the future of the game. They act as the voice of young people taking their views to the top of the RFU and they want to hear what you have to say about youth rugby.

National Youth Council

Photo Credit: RFU Archive

In season 2010/11 the National Youth Survey was launched and the NYC has been working hard on behalf of the 2,400 young people who responded to address the issues raised and follow up on their suggestions. Part of this has seen the NYC working with RFU staff and key volunteers to make the game better for those involved right now. In addition this April saw the first ever National Youth Forum held at Twickenham where 14-24 year olds had the chance to hear what is happening and even question the CEO Ian Richie and England Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster. Read and see how the Forum went.

Want to get in touch? E-mail them at

Other ways for 16-24 year olds to get involved!

Whether you’re a complete beginner or you’ve been playing since you could walk, this is the place where you’ll find everything you need to know about opportunities for young people in Rugby Union.


Rosslyn Park 2012

Photo Credit: Capture the event

With thousands of clubs across the country you’re guaranteed to find the right one for you, whether you are an experienced player or fancy trying something new. Visit the club finder to find one near you.

If the idea of a scrum makes you weak at the knees, or the thought of tackling sends shivers down your spine then there are non-contact versions of the game that give you all the buzz with none of the bruises. Tag and Touch offer the thrill of running with ball and the satisfaction of cutting through a defensive line to score a try.

Already playing rugby and fancy yourself as the next Jonny Wilkinson or Maggie the Machine? Look here for details about player pathways and to find out how you can get the chance to play for your County, Region or Country!


If you don’t hold any coaching qualifications the IRB’s Rugby Ready is designed to give a greater understanding of some of the integral laws of Rugby Union. It covers important safety aspects of coaching the game as well as practical skills for delivering sessions.

Once you have completed the IRB Rugby Ready Course then why not try a coaching foundation course or take your level one coaching qualification. (You must be at least 18 to take your level one.)

Photo Credit RFU Archive


If you want to be on a pitch but fancy an alternative to playing, refereeing is fantastic way to get involved in the game. If you are age 14-19 then the Young Officials’ Award provides a great introduction to officiating covering the fundamental aspects of positioning, communication and more.

The Entry Level Referee Award (ELRA) is the starting point to becoming a competent referee and is made up of three stages of both practical and observation work. Anyone can take this course regardless of experience, but you must be at least 16 and have a sound knowledge of the laws of rugby union.


If playing’s not for you, or you just want to boost your CV and gain vital experience whilst contributing to the running of your club there are plenty of ways to get involved. Contact your local club to find out more.

The Rugby Leaders Foundation is the ideal starting point  and will give you all the skills you need to manage a project, promote the core values of rugby union and deliver Tag Rugby.

You can also take the 1st 4 Sport Level 2 Award in Leadership through Rugby Union. This is a longer course aimed at 14- 19 year olds who are currently in school, or college and you will need you school or college to agree to run this for you.


Do you have any concerns about bullying, abuse of poor practice or concerns about another person in the sport? Our Safeguarding team are on hand to confidentially advise what you could do to try and resolve any issues. They also offer training and CRB checks to help keep more people safe in the sport.


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