We must work together to aid the local game
IT has been reported on social media that this season has seen many challenges for the local game.
Some first team cup games are not being played, second teams are pulling out of fixtures, and third team games are nearly extinct.
Community rugby has many challenges including the reduction in senior player numbers, putting a strain on clubs to field a full set of teams each Saturday.
Many are successful within the league programme but do not have teams who play regularly below the first XV.
Take Widden Old Boys - they are near the top of Gloucester Premier, but pulled their second team out of the district league as they do not want to keep letting other teams down by pulling out of fixtures.
Their seconds now target certain Saturdays when they know they will have enough players to play a friendly, ensuring no teams are let down.
Many players associate themselves with a club but many play very little rugby.
I am asked frequently how we stop this trend of players leaving the game too early.
Motivating players to play consistently throughout the season must be the first step, providing a package that stimulates a player to play.
This may include training once a week through the winter months, training indoors, training on all weather surfaces, different training techniques, training with the ball working on skills and fitness, reducing the length of time of training (one hour tops) playing games on different days to create an environment that is stimulating.
Even joining with other clubs to form new teams - I know that Cainscross and Painswick seconds and thirds have come together to form ‘Cainswick’ enabling players who are available to get game time.
I know that the community game in Gloucestershire has to adapt to the new challenges that it faces or games below the first XV.
All governing bodies must come together, which they have done before, to find a strategy that will help the community, with the watchwords being adaptation and flexibility.
Gloucester Rugby must be involved in this process as they have the resources and knowledge to make a difference.
I want the next Cipriani to come from Gloucestershire but this will not happen if we do not talk to each other and affect change.
Do not let local tribalism get in the way of future success.