School Rugby representatives come together to focus on Player safety and Welfare ahead of 2020 season

by Waratahs Media

With the start of the school rugby season on the horizon, more than 60 Schools Rugby coaching directors and coaches from around NSW came together yesterday at Waratahs HQ to share ideas, hear from leading coach experts and to look at Safety and Injury prevention initiatives that will be piloted in schools rugby in 2020 with a hope to include all clubs and schools in the coming years.

Incoming NSW Rugby CEO Paul Doorn had the opportunity to welcome schools and highlight the importance of working together at all levels of the game to improve the safety and welfare of all participants. Coaches also had the opportunity to work with NSW Waratahs Head Coach Rob Penney, Scrum Coach Mark Bell, Rugby Australia Head of Talent Management Adrian Thompson as well as the a number of Rugby Australia and NSW Rugby High performance and Education staff. 

Since joining the NSW Waratahs, Penney has already flagged the importance of working with coaches within the club and schools systems, recognising the vital role they play in shaping players coming through the pathway and as potential future NSW Waratahs.

Designed for schools that play competition regular rugby, the day aimed to deliver a professional development opportunity with a particular focus around safety and programs that will be piloted in the 2020 season: Activate and Front Row Passport. 

The World Rugby ACTIVATE programme is designed to assist with player welfare and safety by providing coaches with a physical preparation tool with the potential to reduce injuries across youth and adult rugby, especially soft tissue injuries and concussion.

The Rugby Australia Front Row Passport program has been advocated by the Rugby AU National Safety Committee and it’s purpose it to educate, assess and prepare players for safe participation in the front row.

Head of Schools Rugby, Andrew Hill, said the biggest success of the day was having representatives from schools across NSW in attendance.

“Having so many rugby schools together on one day to talk about the game was a great opportunity for our sport and for the coaches to not only hear from the NSW Waratahs and Rugby Australia High Performance teams, but also to learn from each other,” Hill said.

“We’re fortunate to have a wealth of knowledge and significant coaching experience in New South Wales schools and we are always looking for opportunities to improve and develop on the systems that are already in place to protect our players,” he said.

“The safety and welfare of our players is the number one priority that we should be focused on as coaches and it’s important that we continue to work closely with the people in our schools and clubs so we can continually develop and make that element of our game better.”

“We are thankful of the support of the to take a lead role in ensuring that our game continues to be a safe game for young people to play.”

NSW Rugby will continue to work closely with schools from the Bush to the Beach in the lead up to and during the 2020 school rugby season and will endeavour to expand these pilots to include our rugby clubs in the future.