The Welsh Rugby Union has been warned of an impending ‘sluggish, agonising dying of golf equipment’ after its newest choice concerning youth rugby.
Last month it emerged that the game’s governing body in Wales was altering the age bracket for youth rugby and that solely gamers youthful than 18 on August 31 will likely be allowed to play.
Gamers who flip 18 earlier than that date face the prospect of getting to step as much as senior rugby.
Beforehand, it has at all times been the case that youth rugby includes gamers from the ages of 16 to 19. This era types the bridge between junior rugby and senior rugby as a gamers develops bodily.
WalesOnline has since been contacted by a youth rugby coach at Kenfig Hill RFC, who has voiced issues across the alarming variety of gamers who will stroll away from the sport on account of this transfer.
Philip Davies mentioned that the choice impacts 16 gamers at his membership, lots of whom have been concerned for the reason that age of 8, and solely two of them will step as much as senior rugby, with the remaining leaving the sport.
He additionally defined that with out the gamers who at the moment are being minimize off, he doesn’t have sufficient numbers to run a youth aspect.
“This age group haven’t performed contact rugby for 18 months and we expect them to now step seamlessly into senior rugby,” Davies wrote in a letter to us.
“Having spoken to the 16 gamers, lots of whom now we have managed to carry by means of from underneath 8s, there are solely two keen to make that step and that’s purely right down to the truth that they’re bodily in a position and play in positions that aren’t as excessive influence and fewer contact.
“Which means that after years of nurturing a workforce that may proceed the good custom of membership participant, boy to man, to supporter, to clubman, to secretary, to chairman – this may sadly finish and we may have misplaced them to rugby endlessly.
“As we’re dropping 16 gamers to this ill-conceived thought of a closing date change it can additionally imply that we are going to now not be capable of run a youth workforce as we is not going to have enough numbers to securely play rugby.
“This in itself is extremely unhappy as Kenfig Hill has run a youth aspect for 50 years that has nurtured many proficient gamers which have gone on to characterize Wales and the Lions.”
He added: “The lack of youth rugby will imply a sluggish, agonising dying of golf equipment all through Wales.
“With out these younger males fuelling the senior ranks the hearth will burn out and what is going to now we have left then?
“While the senior worldwide workforce is having nice success, with out the grassroots rugby feeding the system this will likely be brief lived.”
Davies, who additionally accused the WRU of failing to seek the advice of the golf equipment earlier than making the transfer, additionally aired fears of what might occur to the youngsters who go away the sport.
His letter continued: “I performed rugby myself for the reason that age of 16 and cherished each minute of it and due to my involvement in rugby it has helped form my life and instilled in me some essential values akin to teamwork, camaraderie, manners and respect.
“It additionally gave me confidence and skill to converse with all parts of society, my friends and older members of the membership.
“With out the rugby component in my life I really feel I may have gone down a totally totally different path. This may increasingly sound evangelical to you however that is the impact that having the ability to play rugby for 20 years had on me.”
He added: “Across the ages of 18 and 19, younger males have lots of time on their fingers and with no construction of their lives, I concern the place this may lead.
“All of us have a duty to assist our younger males and be certain that the proper path is at all times taken no matter how laborious that route could also be.
“With out rugby they might flip to medication and alcohol, which may result in different points.
“This new age cut-off and the truth that we are going to lose so many boys will go away this part of society feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised.
“They’ve already had their training ripped to items [by the pandemic] and there’s a lack of alternatives for long run jobs and availability of apprenticeships, which may go away them on the scrap heap.
“It’s not about profitable or dropping, it’s about workforce ethos, making lifelong pals, staying match and creating some wonderful reminiscences and moulding these children into males who will profit society.
“This will likely be wasted if the WRU proceed to implement this ludicrous and brief sighted method.”
The transfer has been closely criticised however the WRU insist that it has been done to guard against the entire youth programme being shutdown if the Welsh Authorities have to toughen Covid restrictions sooner or later.
The Welsh Authorities tips relate to under-18s sport and anybody concerned in sport older than that’s deemed an grownup.
“They [Welsh Government] have tips for U18s sport and tips for senior sport,” WRU Head of Efficiency Geraint John informed WalesOnline final month.
“Anyone who reaches the age of 18 falls into the grownup class.
“The only factor was for us to fall into line with Welsh Authorities coverage on this.
“You simply don’t know what’s not far away with Covid.
“We’re aware that if we went into any type of restrictions this winter, the chances are these can be positioned on adults not U18s.
“So the very last thing we needed was children being pressured to not play once more.
“When you’ve got gamers who’re over 18 (on Aug 31) in youth groups, these sides then fall underneath grownup tips and grownup restrictions.
“We wouldn’t need these groups to need to cease enjoying due to that.
“We don’t desire a stop-start state of affairs.
“These modifications will enable youth rugby to proceed even when restrictions are positioned on grownup sport. That’s the important thing factor.”
John additionally pressured that the change is just in impact for subsequent season.