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24 Sep 2018

Under 13s Update

OAs u13s enter the new world of Junior rugby with a hat trick of wins….

OAs fledgling u13s started the new season with a series of wins in friendly fixtures with Saracens Amateurs at home, and away against Tabard.

These fixtures mark the start of a new set of rules for the u13s as they follow the RFUs Age Grade Rugby path towards the full 15 a side game – the major change for the boys this season being the big increase in pitch size and playing with a 13th player – with the introduction of a number 8.

Beyond this there is a big change in the culture of the game with the boys and coaches moving from the world of mini rugby with club organised fixtures and a regular circuit of games with our local friends and neighbours and big festivals at the start and end of the season.

As juniors , the u13 age group will be playing in the Herts and Middlesex league with a series of prearranged fixtures against a range of sides ( some clearly not in the 2 counties named) , some of which we know well , others we ll be facing for the 1st time. In between these the age group has organised a full card of friendly fixtures with clubs in this league and beyond. Our fixtures Secretary has worked very hard over the off season to set up this schedule which is a major endeavour with 3 squads of players to find appropriate games for.

The boys are now able to train midweek for the 1st time to work on the tactical and technical aspects of the game with Sunday’s generally now given over to fixtures. We have had a number of good early sessions at Woollam’s and also recently on the new RFU Community 4g facility at Harpenden Rfc, which was excellent.

The age group have also embraced the tradition of the boys changing post the game into a shirt, trousers and club tie and joining our opposition for a meal and drink after the game and it’s been great to get a few run outs on the clubs own pitches and use the changing rooms for the 1st time.

Challenges the new season will bring include the need to boost our numbers of qualified coaches and the need to have a much stronger administration team to manage this much wider and more involved fixture card. We are very fortunate to have a great group of coaches who are happy to get onto the new English Coaching Award and great back up from our parent volunteers on the administration/ 1st aiding and communication front.

We will be looking for new players ideally those new to the game at senior school to grow our squad numbers from 15/16 to 18/20 and we have a local schools festival coming up under floodlights and we are hoping to find a new crop of players from this festival, to give us more depth as the bad weather and injuries start to kick in.

Joint head coach Steve Pope comments:

“As the 1st of the OAs age groups to really benefit from the RFUs age grade rugby changes, we are very keen to make sure we keep the age group training as one and playing as many mixed ability games as we can and reinforcing the idea that we are all OAs first and foremost regardless of what side we play in for the streamed league fixtures”

“ A big thanks goes out to Robert , Laura and Steph for pushing on with the big administration changes the new world has thrown us and we are in a really good place to start the season off”.

Joint Head coach Kim Watson says:

“A fantastic mornings rugby from all the sides on the opening weekend and all the boys showed great commitment and we played some great flowing rugby in all 3 games. A just reward for the lads hard work pre and early season. The boys and coaches can look forward to the rest of the season and the playing challenges it throws up with confidence.”

Robert Ranking,

Under 13s

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