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Worcester Mixed Ability Rugby
Worcester RFC branched into the realms of mixed ability rugby in the 2016-2017 season. This style of rugby has been growing rapidly in popularity across the globe with the statement that rugby is a sport for everyone.
Worcester RFC’s Mixed Ability team welcomes all people from all walks of life regardless of ability or disability. Before the mixed ability team started at Worcester there was already a link established between the club and the Welsh, Swansea based MA side, The Swansea Gladiators. The first fixture played between WRFC and "The Glads" was held in Worcester in 2001 when the Gladiators visited Worcester. This became an annual match with the club first touring to Swansea in 2012 and playing on the Welsh premiership pitch, St Helens. The relationship built with The Glads is one of the major factors that gave WRFC a drive to have their own mixed ability team. AJ Mills, Adam Law and Nick Lee, all met together with one clear vision and goal in mind; to get Worcester RFC its own mixed ability team. When the three organised the mixed ability team in 2016 they also approached James Swain to coach the team, and shortly after its development we welcomed Tom Reeves, also onto the coaching team.
Since the first session in 2016 the team has been a huge success. It has encouraged many people from different walks of life to come together all with a mutual respect and love for the game of rugby union, and as a team they have travelled across the UK playing in fixtures, and tournaments hosted by other mixed ability teams. As well as our regular coaches we have also had the privilege of having guests come to training sessions to coach and lend an experienced hand. We were delighted to welcome Craig Gillies in our first year running who gave us some tips to improve our lineouts, Bryce Heem and Luke Baldwin both came to a session and helped us with some attacking play and creating space, and Jonny Arr came and delivered a passing masterclass.
The message of mixed ability rugby being on offer at Worcester RFC has spread across the country and the team has been recognised as a well-established team across the mixed ability circuit. With this came of news of being included, in the International Mixed Ability Rugby Tournament (IMART) that was due to be held in Cork, Ireland, June 2020 however due to COVID 19 has been postponed until 2021. The mixed ability team are excited to be chosen to play in the prestigious IMART event, with group stage games confirmed against: Chivasso Rugby Onlus (Italy), El Salvador (Spain), and UR Capitolina (Italy). The mixed ability team has had a powerful impact in the Worcestershire community and has been recognised by Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire in 2019 as their 'Active Community Heroes' Welcoming Club, highlighting the inclusive approach and social inclusion that the team, and club, work passionately to create.
As Covid-19 hit the team the mind-set of the players to take the extra opportunity to condition themselves, and ensure we are fit for the tournament in 2021, has been astounding. Players have regularly communicated with different activities and exercises to keep everyone active at home, and as restrictions ease, players have sensibly returned to training in groups. Morale has stayed high and vigilant throughout this time with many players always staying in constant communication and participating in quiz’s and activities to stay together as a team.
We long for the message from England rugby that training can resume and we can once again take the field with our brothers to fly the all-inclusive flag of mixed ability rugby.
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