TOUCHLINE ENGLAND S MEN, WOMEN & U20S DEFENDING SIX NATIONS TITLES NATHAN MIDDLETON. The Official Newspaper of The RFU

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1 TOUCHLINE ENGLAND S MEN, WOMEN & U20S DEFENDING SIX NATIONS TITLES NATHAN MIDDLETON The Official Newspaper of The RFU January 2018 Issue 208 On 4 February England s men kick off the defence of their Six Nations campaign with Italy the opponents on the opening weekend and both the Red Roses and U20s are also looking to retain their titles. The tournament runs through February and March, with England s men looking to create history by winning three successive Six Nations titles. Sue Day, former England international rugby captain at 15s and sevens, and England s record try scorer has been appointed as the new Chief Financial Officer of the RFU, and to the RFU Board. Sue Day is currently a Deal Advisory Partner at KPMG. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA) and has worked in finance roles at KPMG for the past 20 years. Sue was appointed Partner at KPMG in 2015, and has worked as lead Partner on a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance transactions. In her role at the RFU she will be responsible for financial planning, management and reporting, legal and governance and technology, reporting to CEO Steve Brown, with voting membership of the RFU Board. Continued on page 2 The Red Roses are aiming for back-to-back Grand Slam titles for the first time since 2012, while if the U20s back up their Grand Slam victory from last season, it will be the first time they have managed to do this in their history. On their way to winning the 2017 title, England s men scored the most tries (16), and also had a number of players leading individual statistics, such as Joe Launchbury (top tackler), SUE DAY BECOMES RFU CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER & BOARD MEMBER JOANNA MANNING-COOPER Maro Itoje (lineout steals) as well as Mike Brown (metres gained). Emily Scarratt was the tournament s top scorer last year as she scored 51 of the Red Roses 217 points, while full back Danielle Waterman will look to continue her try scoring feats in the Six Nations where she has scored 25 in 26 appearances. The U20s will hope to keep up their recent WAYNE BARNES BREAKS REFEREE RECORD impressive record in the tournament where they have lifted the trophy on six of the last 10 occasions, with three Grand Slams during that time. The 2017 Six Nations Championship was the first time the tournament used the bonus-point system and this will again be used this year. This means it is four points for a win and a team can secure an extra bonus-point if they score four Continued on page 2 NATHAN MIDDLETON When Wayne Barnes stepped out into the middle for Worcester Warriors against London Irish last month (December) he overtook Chris White as the man who has taken charge of the most Premiership games ever. The 38 year old passed White s record to reach 191 matches refereed in the English top flight, a record which he has held since Barnes said: I ve always admired Chris. He was in the same local society as me and when you re growing up and want a career you think it would be nice to referee a Premiership game, but you never think you ll emulate someone you ve admired and respected such a huge amount. It is very nice for me to have that record but I m just striving to get a bit better each week. Injury put an end to Barnes playing career which began at the age of six and he took charge of his first game at the age of 15. I played at my local rugby club, Bream RFC, but I got injured and a friend of my dad s was a referee and a school teacher was Continued on page 2 TOUCHLINE JANUARY

2 ENGLAND S MEN, WOMEN & U20S DEFENDING SIX NATIONS TITLES Continued from page 1 tries or more, and if a team loses by fewer than seven points they secure a losing bonus point. A draw is worth two points and if a side secures a Grand Slam by winning all five of their games, they earn an extra three points. An England squad for the NatWest 6 Nations tournament will be announced on Thursday 18 January before the squad departs for a week s training camp in Portugal three days later. England Women and England U20s have announced their EPS squads (see pages 4 and 6). Says England head coach Eddie Jones: We will need to improve if we are to hunt down our opponents and beat them. This tournament will be exciting and challenging, as we know we will play against some very strong teams. Red Roses head coach Simon Middleton adds: While it was an incredible achievement to take home a Grand Slam Championship last year, going into 2018 that counts for nothing, this is a new squad, a new challenge and we are determined to go out and win the competition once again. And says England U20 head coach Steve Bates: We have some exciting players and a track record of producing full internationals so this is a great opportunity for fans to come out and see the future stars of England rugby. You can watch how Eddie Jones side get on in the tournament on terrestrial television with BBC and ITV both broadcasting the games ITV will broadcast England home games, with the three away games on the BBC. BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra will also be covering all of the matches, while you can follow the online text commentary with IBM TryTracker on EnglandRugby.com for every match. The Red Roses games will all be available on Sky Sports Mix, you can also watch the majority of games on Sky Sports Action while the two England U20 home matches will be on Sky Sports Action. All of the breaking stories, analysis and features throughout the tournament will be on EnglandRugby.com, while you can also follow the story on England Rugby Facebook page, on Twitter or with Instagram. As well as following the specific game hashtags on social media, you can keep up to date with conversations on #CarryThemHome, #RedRoses, #WearTheRose and #NatWest6Nations throughout the tournament. SUE DAY BECOMES RFU CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER & BOARD MEMBER Continued from page 1 Sue Day is President of Wasps FC, and was capped for England 59 times, including winning three Grand Slams in the Women s Six Nations tournament. She has also captained the England Women s Sevens team, and coached the England 7s Developmental team. Sue played for Wasps for 14 years, and captained the team to the League and Cup Double in 2004/5. RFU CEO Steve Brown commented, This is a very exciting appointment for the RFU. Sue brings top-quality financial experience and knowledge, combined with a thorough understanding of professional rugby at international and club level, and a very deep love of the game. Sue is a highly experienced and accomplished leader, with an excellent reputation in both finance and rugby, and I am delighted that she is joining us, as we strive to become the world s leading rugby nation. Sue Day added: Rugby has been a huge part of my life, and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to combine my passion for rugby with my professional experience in senior financial roles and in developing high-performing teams. This is an exciting time for England Rugby at all levels of the game and I m looking forward to joining the senior team at the RFU and playing my part in encouraging rugby and its values to flourish across England. Sue Day is also a founding Trustee of the Women s Sports Trust, and has been a rugby commentator for Sky Sports and World Rugby. Sweet Have you joined us on Twitter which celebrates the best of grassroots rugby? If not, join the twitterati and Touchline s Twitter account which will bring you the latest news and all the great things happening in the community game. NatWest 6 Nations Italy #ITAvENG England U20 Friday 2 February, KO 7pm (6pm GMT), Stadio Enzo Bearzot (Gorizia) England Sunday 4 February, KO 2pm (1pm GMT), Stadio Olympico (Rome) England Women Sunday 4 February, KO 6:30pm (5:30pm GMT), Stadio Mirabello (Reggio Emilia) Wales #ENGvWAL England U20 Friday 9 February, KO 7:45pm, Kingston Park (Newcastle) England Women Saturday 10 February, KO 12:15pm, Twickenham Stoop (London) England Saturday 10 February, KO 4:45pm, Twickenham Stadium (London) Scotland #SCOvENG England Women Friday 23 February, KO 7:30pm, Scotstoun (Glasgow) England U20 Friday 23 February, KO 7:30pm, Myreside (Edinburgh) England Saturday 24 February, KO 4:45pm, BT Murrayfield (Edinburgh) France #FRAvENG England U20 Friday 9 March KO 9pm (8pm GMT), Stade de la Mediterranee (Beziers) England Saturday 10 March, KO 3:45pm (2:45pm GMT), Stade de France (Paris) England Women Saturday 10 March, KO 7pm (6pm GMT), Stade des Alpes (Grenoble) Ireland #ENGvIRE England Women Friday 16 March, KO 5:30pm, Ricoh Arena (Coventry) England U20 Friday 16 March, KO 8pm, Ricoh Arena (Coventry) England Saturday 17 March, KO 2:45pm, Twickenham Stadium (London) BARNES BREAKS REFEREE RECORD Continued from page 1 a referee and they said Why don t you come and help out and do some refereeing? So I did that at school and then my dad s friend said if you can do it at school, why don t you come and do the local third team? After spells refereeing age-grade internationals and two years on the sevens circuit, Barnes became a professional referee in 2005 and a year later took charge his first Test match. Since then he has been the man in the middle for seven Aviva Premiership finals, a European Champions Cup final, 77 Test matches and a touch judge at the 2015 World Cup final. The highlight for me in my career was not an international but a game quite locally when London French played Kilburn Cosmos and it was just after the Paris attacks in It was my first game back after the World Cup and my game got cancelled. I was meant to be doing Racing 92 against Munster, but they called it off as there were still concerns about whether they could protect the stadium. I spoke to the president and when I got down there he said he d like to have a minute s silence before the game. The players formed a circle in the middle of the pitch and we got the spectators to join us as well as there were only 10. COACH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME SEES ENGLAND U20 COACHES APPOINTED NABIL HASSAN England Rugby has appointed three U20 coaches for the 2017/18 season. Anthony Allen, Richard Blaze and Jimmy Ponton all join for 18 months as part of the new coach development programme agreement signed between the RFU and Premiership Rugby. The programme will run alongside the coaches current club duties and will include the 2018 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship. The U20 coaching team will be led by RFU performance manager Steve Bates and the trio will receive an individually designed coach development programme, which commenced on 15 November with a visit to Pennyhill Park to observe the England senior team s preparations. It follows a successful trial last year which saw Louis Deacon, Tom Williams and Ian Vass, who has gone on to coach at Montpellier, lead the U20s to Six Nations glory as well as into the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship. This year s coaches will also be directly involved in preparing for, delivering and reviewing the U20s coaching and playing programme under the experienced eye of head coach Bates. The coaches will also have access to mentors and be exposed to a range of non-rugby elite performance environments that will involve Then the captain of Kilburn presented a bouquet of flowers, the president of London French said a few words, we started the game and 80 minutes later, with a lot of management and a lot of talking, I blew up without giving one penalty. I was chuffed afterwards and I was greeted by the president with a glass of Chablis and a beret and we went into the clubhouse and shared some stories. Everything about rugby was special that day and you realise why you re involved in this sport. Barnes combines his refereeing role with being an experienced criminal barrister. You juggle and I ve got a very understanding wife in Polly. You train hard Monday and Tuesday at Twickenham as we all get together as a group of professional referees. The work laptop comes with me so when I fly down to New Zealand the laptop will be open for most of that flight. You ve just got to make sure you get the right balance. Being a barrister helps me to switch off from rugby totally and that s a huge advantage. You re thinking on your feet in a court room, you re thinking on your feet on a rugby pitch and I know we wear slightly different costumes but there are a lot of similarities. visits to and interactions with coaches, support staff and athletes from a range of sports. Allen is a former Gloucester and Leicester Tigers centre and won two caps for England. He currently coaches in the Tigers academy. Blaze is a former England U21 forward and also previously played for Leicester Tigers. Prior to this, he was forwards coach at Tigers until September Ponton joined Newcastle Falcons as academy coach in January Head of international player development Dean Ryan said: The coaches will gain experience from working in a different environment with people who have different ideas and approaches to them. We have a stronger idea now of how we want England U20s to play so they will have to amend their own philosophies but they will also gain experience of coaching at two international tournaments the Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship. We believe that experience will stand them in good stead in the future. The opportunity to be a senior coach in an international environment doesn t come around too often so this is a unique experience for them with a group of very talented young rugby players. 2 TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

3 SIMPLIFIED LAWS AND REVISED SANCTIONS TABLES Unions recently took part in a World Rugby consultation on the Laws of the game and sanctions. Simplified laws and revised sanctions tables came into force at the start of this month (January). Right is a summary of key changes for the adult game. Age Grade Law references reflect these. OLNEY REWARDED IN ANNIVERSARY YEAR In its 140th year, Olney rugby club scooped the title of Club of the Year at the Bucks and MK sports awards. Going up against clubs from a wide range of sports from across the county, Olney was recognised for its impact in bringing players back into the game, its hugely successful junior section, and for the efforts of its hundreds of volunteers. Club president Tom Salsbury said: This award is a huge honour. Winning it is recognition of the hard work that our army of volunteers put into the rugby club. With over 450 junior players, three senior sides, a vets team, colts and ladies squads, and a bustling social scene, Olney is a thriving community club. It s a special time for Olney RFC as we celebrate our 140th season this year and an exciting future lies ahead. Picking up the award were Kath Middleditch, publicity officer, and committee member Geoff Janes, who at 66 years old is one of the oldest players still turning out for Olney RFC. The award was sponsored by Tim Harman and his family and presented at a glittering ceremony at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Law Reference in 2017 Law Book 10.4(a) Punching or striking A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s). 10.4(b) Stamping or trampling A player must not stamp or trample on an opponent. 10.4(c) Kicking A player must not kick an opponent. 10.4(d) Tripping A player must not trip an opponent with the leg or foot. 10.4(e) Dangerous tackling A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. A player must not tackle (or try to tackle) an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders. A tackle around the opponent s neck or head is dangerous play. A stiff-arm tackle is dangerous play. A player makes a stiff-arm tackle when using a stiff-arm to strike an opponent. Playing a player without the ball is dangerous play. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground. 10.4(f) Playing an opponent without the ball Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push or obstruct an opponent not carrying the ball. 10.4(g) - Dangerous charging A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without trying to grasp that player. 10.4(h) A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without use of the arms, or without grasping a player. 10.4(i) Tackling the jumper in the air A player must not tackle nor tap, push or pull the foot or feet of an opponent jumping for the ball in a lineout or in open play. 10.4(j) Tip tackle Lifting a player from the ground and dropping or driving that player into the ground whilst that player s feet are still off the ground such that the player s head and/or upper body come into contact with the ground is dangerous play. 10.4(k) Dangerous play in a scrum, ruck or maul The front row of a scrum must not rush against its opponents. Front row players must not intentionally lift opponents off their feet or force them upwards out of the scrum. Players must not charge into a ruck or maul without binding onto a player in the ruck or maul. Players must not intentionally collapse a scrum, ruck or maul. 10.4(m) Contact with the eye(s) and Contact with the eye area 10.4(m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship in the playing enclosure. 10.4(m) Biting 10.4(s)/(m) Verbal abuse of Match Officials A player, must not, while the ball is out of play, commit any misconduct, or obstruct or in any way interfere with an opponent. 10.4(s) All players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee s decisions. They must stop playing at once when the referee blows the whistle except at a kick-off or at a penalty kick following admonishment, temporary suspension, or send-off. 10.4(n) Misconduct while the ball is out of play A player, must not, while the ball is out of play, commit any misconduct, or obstruct or in any way interfere with an opponent. 10.4(o) Late-charging the kicker A player must not intentionally charge or obstruct an opponent who has just kicked the ball. Law Reference in 2018 Law Book 9.12 A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders A player must not tackle an opponent who is not in possession of the ball Except in a scrum, ruck or maul, a player who is not in possession of the ball must not hold, push, charge or obstruct an opponent not in possession of the ball A player must not charge or knock down an opponent carrying the ball without attempting to grasp that player Dangerous play in a ruck or maul. a. A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul. b. A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders. c. A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck or a maul A player must not tackle, charge, pull, push or grasp an opponent whose feet are off the ground A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground Dangerous play in a scrum. a. The front row of a scrum must not form at a distance from its opponents and rush against them. b. A front-row player must not pull an opponent. c. A front-row player must not intentionally lift an opponent off their feet or force the opponent upwards out of the scrum. d. A front-row player must not intentionally collapse a scrum. OR 9.20 Dangerous play in a ruck or maul. a. A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul. b. A player must not make contact with an opponent above the line of the shoulders. c. A player must not intentionally collapse a ruck or a maul A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking Players must respect the authority of the referee. They must not dispute the referee s decisions. They must stop playing immediately when the referee blows the whistle to stop play A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship A player must not intentionally charge or obstruct an opponent who has just kicked the ball. TOUCHLINE JANUARY

4 NO ORDINARY JOE JOE OGDEN Just over a year ago Joe Sandford was given less than a 5% chance of surviving a catastrophic car crash. Sandford had been in New Zealand on a rugby exchange, playing for a local team and using his free time to travel, when he was involved in a major accident that changed his life completely. The fly half from Heathfield & Waldron RFC has spent the last year defying every prediction on his recovery and is now helping give back to the club and teammates who were there when he needed them most. I had been in New Zealand for a couple of months on scholarship programme playing with Rangataua, explains Sandford. We trained five times a week and played on the weekends and I used my free time to explore the country. I was driving to the Bay of Plenty when I crashed. I pretty much broke everything in my body. Once airlifted to hospital, he was placed in an induced coma and his family were given a bleak outlook. Once I got out of the coma they gave me less than a 5% chance of any meaningful recovery. That is when I started setting myself targets. The rugby community back home was doing everything it could to help. His club held a charity day to raise the funds required for Sandford s rehabilitation and to cover the costs of any changes to his home. In the end, Sandford didn t need it. He was home by Featuring on englandrugby.com and in Touchline, these stories celebrate achievements of those involved in the grassroots game. Let us know about your remarkable people by ing: October 2016 and has spent the last year giving back to those who were there in his time of need. The support I got from the rugby community after the accident was just unbelievable, says Sandford. My first memories are of my teammates in New Zealand coming to visit me. The messages of support I got from home reduced me to tears but they were also what drove me to get home. Last year Sandford ran his own charity day at Heathfield to raise funds for those that have helped him through. I ve been overwhelmed by the support organisations like Headway East Sussex have given me as well as everyone at the club so I wanted to give back. Sandford s recovery is by no means over, it is as he puts it a long and gruelling process, but he continues to set himself targets. He is now the manager of the club s second fifteen and this year qualified as a Level Two coach. I love the sport and I just want to be involved. Coaching is something I m really enjoying and I want to take it as far as I can. I m amazed by how far I ve come and I ve been told by doctors that it is because of my sheer bloody-mindedness and determination. But I don t think about that. I m just focused on moving forward and continuing to help the people who helped me. Tell us what rugby means to you using #ThisIsRugby or share your story here. DENNIS PLAYS INTO CLUB RECORD BOOK Dennis Vittle played his 1,000th game for North Bristol in 2015 and recently made his record-breaking 1,032 appearance for the club s third team at the age of 67. Dennis, who has also been club chairman since 2006, has been on no less than 40 tours, just ten matches were involved, however, as Dennis just loves a social trip with teammates. All this has depended on support from his wife Alethea, who according to Dennis is very understanding. No doubt, as Dennis clocked up 150 matches for Avonmouth before his North Bristol debut in In all, he has scored 53 tries, kicked one penalty and one conversion. Playing at lock Dennis says: I restrict myself to scrummaging and lineouts now and stay with the pack when I can. I don t back up RED ROSES GET READY FOR ACTION the wingers any more but wait for the ball to come back to where I happen to be. I m not the fittest but I can keep up with some aspects of play and I m always there to fill a spot if needed. Dennis s record-breaker ended in a nail-biting finish with Nailsea & Backwell taking the honours but there was one certain winner on the day the Venerable Vittle. Pictured left is Dennis and his son Alex who also joined three other dads and their boys playing for the club in another recent game. The others were: Alan and Tom Cogram, Martin and Ben Green and Mike and Billy Cantin. The England Women Elite Player Squad (EPS) recently attended a four-day training camp at Loughborough University to start preparing for the Red Roses Six Nations campaign, with a further camp scheduled before their first game. Shaunagh Brown (Harlequins Ladies), who earned her first international cap in the opening Old Mutual Wealth Series Test which saw England beat Canada 79-5, joined the squad as a new EPS player. The England Women s squad will convene again on 22 January for a final week-long training camp before a playing squad is selected ahead of the opening Test against Italy. 4 TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

5 NEW WORLD RUGBY MUSEUM ELIZABETH BOX The award-winning World Rugby Museum at Twickenham Stadium has moved to a new home in the South Stand and will reopen in time for the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations Championship. The World Rugby Museum is the definitive home for everything and anything about rugby. Featuring more than three times as many objects, the new museum will display memorabilia from around the world and from all eras, making it a must visit for all rugby fans. While the museum is currently closed, Twickenham Stadium Tours and From the Vaults online blog are continuing. Anyone who has completed a Stadium Tour since the museum closed will get free entry to visit the new museum when it re-opens next month (February). The new location presented an opportunity for the museum to improve its content and modernise its interpretive methods, says museum curator Phil McGowan. The cutting edge new museum will be bigger, better, brighter and more interactive than ever before, he said. It will house the world s most prestigious collection of rugby memorabilia. This will include commentary, film and matchfootage from the most iconic moments, memorable tours and greatest players in the history of what is the world s most dramatic team sport. It will also include purpose-built events, education and research facilities and invite visitors to engage in the game with exciting hands-on interactive exhibits. The museum began life as the Museum of Rugby in 1996 before rebranding as the World Rugby Museum in The new museum has been designed in partnership with Mather & Co. Its collection that includes the RFU and Harry Langton rugby collections has increased significantly since 1996, and the move represents an opportunity to become more object focused and better tell the true story of rugby from around the world. Its interactive galleries will encourage participation at all levels of the game and give younger visitors the opportunity to find out What Kind of Rugby Player they are. Early estimations are that the new gallery will feature more than three times as many objects as it did in its previous East Stand location, covering iconic teams, such as the 1924 New Zealand side, the 1900s Wales teams, the 1971 and 1974 British & Irish Lions sides, as well as the 2003 England team. Check out the new museum website here, like the World Rugby Museum on Facebook and follow on Twitter. LIFTING, SHIFTING AND TEA ON TUESDAYS Newark Rugby Club have honoured a group of club member volunteers who have helped in the club s 1.4 million redevelopment project. The Tuesday Team have worked since May 2016 on the project which is seeing the Nottinghamshire club completely rebuild their existing clubhouse facilities at the Kelham Road ground. At the opening of Phase Two, just before Christmas, the club awarded the volunteer group special certificates to mark their contribution to the project which has saved the club many thousands of pounds. While contactors have done the main construction and technical tasks, the volunteers have concentrated on enabling works beginning by clearing existing structures for demolition. So far the club has completed a new changing block, built to Rugby Football Union and Sport England specifications, plus an office, toilets, community meeting room and new entrance hall which will feature a club shop once the whole project is complete. The completion is expected to be next autumn (2018) when a new clubhouse bar and dining room facility is due to be opened. The first phase, which was a new changing block, was opened in September by the club s former international Dusty Hare. The volunteers have been led by David Pick, a former quantity surveyor, who has led the project having retired from full time work last year. The group have included his 89 year-old father, Cyril. David commented: The team has varied in numbers but the ages range from late 50s to late 80s. They have saved the club in excess of 25,000 through their efforts in lifting and shifting, painting (and lots of it), cleaning and clearing, making benches and supporting the contractors in numerous jobs while drinking tea and having lots of fun. It s been a giggle most weeks. The most concentrated period of work came last May when the old dressing room block had to be demolished. The Tuesday Team were then joined by other club members to make sure the building project kept to a tight deadline of having a new facility ready for the start of the season last September. Newark are partly funding the new development through their own substantial fund raising campaign which so far has raised around 400,000. In addition, the club has been further helped by a 295,000 grant from Sport England, a 100,000 loan from the RFU Foundation plus grants from WREN, the landfill tax organisation and Tarmac, the construction company. TOUCHLINE JANUARY

6 QUILTER CUP TICKETS VERITY WILLIAMS U20S WANT TO CREATE OWN LEGACY England U20s named their 32-man Elite Player Squad for the 2017/18 season, which will compete in the 2018 Six Nations as well as the World Rugby U20 Championship in May. Of the 32 players, 14 have already been capped at U20 level with several part of last season s Grand Slam winning side. The squad includes 10 members of the group that reached the final of the World Rugby U20 Championship in Georgia, eventually losing to New Zealand, including Alex Seville, Marcus Street, Henry Walker, Dino Lamb, Ben Earl, James Grayson, Will Butler, Gabriel Ibitoye, Ali Crossdale and Tom Parton. Ben Curry, who was part of England s senior squad that toured Argentina in the summer, is NABIL HASSAN also named in the 32. This new group of players with new coaches will be looking to create our own legacy with what is a new set up said Steve Bates. Eight members of the England U18 squad that toured South Africa in the summer have been selected with Joe Heyes, Beck Cutting, James Scott, Josh Basham, Sam Moore, Tom Willis, Tom Seabrook and Fraser Dingwall all included. Marcus Smith, Nick Isiekwe and currently injured Tom Curry, who are all still eligible to play for the U20s, are not included due to their involvement with the England senior squad. Tickets for England s match against the Barbarians on Sunday 27 May 2018 are on public sale. The uncapped fixture will take place at Twickenham Stadium and sees the two sides compete for the Quilter Cup. This new name reflects England partner Old Mutual Wealth s plans to separate from its parent company and list on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges in 2018 under its new name Quilter. England s men s and women s autumn internationals will also adopt the new name and be known as the Quilter Internationals from In last season s match, England beat the Barbarians 28-14, which saw head coach Eddie Jones give a number of new faces their first opportunity in an England shirt including Tom Curry, Nick Isiekwe, Alex Lozowski and Sam Underhill. All four went on to win full caps for their country during England s summer Test series in Argentina a few weeks later. England head coach Eddie Jones said: The Quilter Cup is an important match for us as we prepare for our three Test series against South Africa in June. The series will be a big challenge for this team and we know the Barbarians will provide us a fantastic opportunity to play against some highquality opposition before the tour. The Barbarians brand of rugby is well known for being exciting and open and we will look forward to playing them in May in front of a big crowd at Twickenham. To book tickets for the Quilter Cup and see England in action on home soil for the last time prior to the summer Test series in South Africa, please click here Take advantage of the early bird offer tickets will start from 15 for adults and 10 for children. Group bookings are available. ARTIFICIAL GRASS PITCHES OPEN AT KEIGHLEY AND STOURBRIDGE VERITY WILLIAMS The two latest Rugby 365 England Rugby artificial grass pitches in the West Midlands and West Yorkshire have launched with events taking place at Stourbridge RFC and Keighley RUFC. These new pitches at Keighley RUFC and Stourbridge RFC follow on from completion of the first three Rugby 365 pitches in Buckinghamshire, Somerset and Lancashire at the end of last year. England Rugby s investment in Rugby 365 is part of their Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over 50m over four years into the development of 100 artificial grass pitches across England. Former England international Jason Robinson joined RFU President John Spencer to officially open the West Yorkshire pitch at Keighley on 16 December in front of hundreds of guests. On the day the pitch hosted a schools festival, as well as three matches for Baildon U15s Girls v Old Brodleians U15s girls, Keighley vs Selby in Yorkshire One and capping a great day with Keighley U15s v Bradford Salem U15s. Friends and family enjoyed a BBQ, tea coffee and cakes. Sam Griffin, Chairman of Keighley RUFC, said: The pitch has made a big difference to us in terms of playing on the pitch and also in terms of making changes to the club as it s a catalyst for making changes and improvements in the club. Club member Ken Dyson added: For the community as a whole, for the club, for everyone that s been here today, it goes without saying how important this is. It s taken us into a new era one that s allowing us to develop in different ways as a playing side, but also opening it up to the whole community that benefits not only us as a club, the community itself and a host of different sports. It s a win-win situation for one and all. The opening ceremony at Stourbridge RFC took place at 12 noon on 5 December, with Peter Wheeler (RFU) and Margot James (Stourbridge MP) performing the honours, supported by Nick Perry (Stourbridge RFC President), Robin Edwards (Stourbridge RFC Chairman) and Jackie Jeavons-Fellows (Stourbridge RFC Patron). The ceremony was followed by lunch for 150 guests, Stourbridge U14s vs Hinckley U14s, Stourbridge Grasshoppers XV vs Kidderminster IIIs and the National 2 North fixture between Stourbridge and Hinckley in front of the largest crowd of the season. Robin Edwards, Stourbridge RFC Chairman, said: There are many potential benefits. Firstly we have a wonderful pitch on which we can play in almost any weather conditions, it will ensure that fixtures can be played throughout the season. The number of games we can host is dramatically increased by having the new surface and we expect to see more rugby played by a variety of local teams from across our community. We think it is a positive attraction for players young and old to play all forms of the game and also to provide a ready platform for other sports teams who have similar requirements. We are now able to help to promote this excellent facility and we are committed to engaging with educational establishments and other local organisations to encourage them to become involved in rugby. The reaction from members has been consistently positive. Everyone who has walked on the surface comments on the extra spring the surface gives and the overall look and feel of the pitch is much applauded. We adopt an open-door policy and actively encourage people to come along and try the pitch. This is in its infancy as we have only been open for a few days but early signs are very positive and we have many enquiries. We always say that anyone is welcome at Stourton Park and we mean it. Joe Heatley, a player at Stourbridge RFC First XV, added: Last season we were lucky enough to play on two AGP pitches when we played Tynedale at Kingston Park and Preston Grasshoppers on their new Rugby 365 pitch. All of the players enjoyed the experience of playing on the new surface and couldn t have been happier when we found out about the RFU s investment at Stourbridge. 6 TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

7 NEW YEAR S HONOURS VERITY WILLIAMS Ed Morrison and, inset right, Elfyn Pugh Former international referee Ed Morrison has been awarded an OBE and Elfyn Pugh has received a British Empire Medal in the New Year s Honours list. Both awards were in recognition for their services to rugby and rugby related causes. Ed was an international referee for 11 years and became England s first full-time professional rugby union referee. He took charge of the 1995 World Cup final when South Africa defeated New Zealand after extra time in Johannesburg and remains the only Englishman to have refereed a Rugby World Cup Final. Ed took up refereeing in 1982 following injury and progressed rapidly, being appointed to the International Referee Panel in He went on to officiate in 42 international rugby matches during a period in the game when international matches were significantly less plentiful than they are today. After retiring from officiating in 2001, Ed took on a referee development role within the RFU. He became the Elite Referee Unit Development Manager in 2003 and Head of Elite Referee Development in July 2008, a position he held until his retirement in July He said: I m incredibly proud and pleased to receive this award. It s great to have recognition for officiating which sometimes doesn t always get the plaudits. I m very, very happy, particularly for my family who were thrilled to find out this morning. It s been a NEW YEAR, NEW WARRIOR CAMPS ELIZABETH BOX good day so far and hopefully there are many more to come. Although so much of his rugby life has been at the highest level of the game, Ed has remained fully committed to grassroots rugby, both in his willingness to pass on his knowledge to players, referees and administrators and in his commitment to helping to develop young referees. Ed is particularly loyal to the City of Bristol and Bristol Harlequins Club, where he was fixture secretary for over 30 years. He has been an active member of Bristol Referee s Society for 31 years. Whenever he was not appointed to referee an international match or a match on behalf of the RFU, he would endeavour to referee at a local club even a few days after a Rugby World Cup final. Since his retirement Ed has become an integral part of the referee s society again, in particular, as part of the society s sub-committee responsible for the recruitment of new referees. Only recently, he has been part of a team who have visited and presented to over 30 clubs within the Bristol area in a two month period, in an attempt to boost dwindling refereeing numbers. Following over 50 years of service to Willenhall RUFC, the club which he helped establish, Elfyn Pugh has been awarded the honour for his services to rugby in the Staffordshire community. In 1966, as a player for works side Rubery Owen, Elfyn was instrumental in establishing Willenhall RUFC which aimed at providing rugby for players in the Willenhall area and for non- Rubery Owen employees. As a Founder Member he was instrumental in finding a site and arranging the purchase of land for the present club site in Essington. The club is still going strong today (at Level 8) and until this season Elfyn has held virtually every club committee position. He finally stood down at the end of season Elfyn has also been the longest serving member of the Staffordshire Rugby Union Management Committee but his greatest passion has always been coaching. Starting in the 1970s, and for 15 consecutive years, he organised the very successful Staffordshire Rugby Union Coaching Conference weekends. He arranged visiting coaches from all parts of the UK plus accommodation and facilities for coaches and players. A beneficiary of Elfyn s coaching organisation was Graham Smith who began his coaching journey with Staffordshire and progressed to Assistant Coach to Gary Street and the England Women s side which won the Rugby World Cup in During his long service, many coaches have started out on their journey inspired by the coaching activities which Elfyn has organised. His interest in coaching is not just confined to organisation. He qualified as a RFU Preliminary Award holder in 1970 and has worked closely with schools, coaching rugby as an extra-curricular activity FARRELL WINS RUGBY WRITERS AWARD England s Owen Farrell was voted the Rugby Union Writers Club 2017 Personality of the Year and joined the likesof Jonah Lomu, Martin Johnson and Jonny Wilkinson in receiving the Pat Marshall Memorial Award. The 26 year old was recognised for his contribution to England s defence of their Six Nations title, the British and Irish Lions drawn series in New Zealand and Saracens retaining the Champions Cup. Michael Harrison, staunch volunteer helper at Wharfedale RUFC, also received recognition for service to the game. England Rugby s Inner Warrior campaign launched the latest series of camps this month (January) after last year s camps gave a huge boost to grassroots women s rugby participation. The 2018 Warrior Camps are run until January 28th with 185 rugby taster sessions taking place at clubs nationwide. The 2018 campaign theme is New Year, New You, encouraging women to kick start their fitness routine for the new year and challenge themselves to take up a new sport. England international Katy Daley-Mclean commented, It can be hard to stay motivated to get fit during winter. Team sports, such as rugby, provide support and encouragement, making fitness fun and social. The Warrior Camps give women the opportunity to try rugby, often for the first time, and it s fantastic to see so many feeling inspired to take up rugby. Since its initial launch, over 10,500 women have attended Warrior Camps nationwide; and of those women, 3,500 had never picked up a rugby ball before. The number of camps available to women has continued to grow to meet demand and the influx of players saw 41 new female contact rugby club teams established in Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, said: Female participation in rugby has seen unparalleled levels of growth in recent years, with a massive 215% increase since It s now one of the fastest growing team sports for women in England. As part of the funding agreement with Sport England and our new Women and Girls Action Plan, the RFU is looking to significantly expand the number of women and girls participating in grassroots rugby across England, and the Warrior Camps are instrumental in supporting this growth. The Inner Warrior campaign aims to encourage more women and girls to play contact rugby, teaching participants key introductory skills and drills for rugby within a non-committal, social and fun environment. The January Warrior Camps launched with a continuation of the 2017 brand creative that shows everyday women from various walks of life, bursting out of their work uniforms into their rugby training kit, metaphorically freeing their inner warrior. An England Rugby digital campaign also kicked off, encouraging the public to express their inner alpha spirit and Show Their Warrior Faces on social media. After finding herself isolated and struggling with mental health issues, 33-year-old Alex Muller-Nicholson decided to do something completely out of her comfort zone. She went along to her local rugby club. This is her story. TOUCHLINE JANUARY

8 DULWICH CELEBRATE JOE OGDEN Dulwich College became the first side to win both the Schools Cup and the Champions Trophy after overcoming Blundell s in a thrilling final at Allianz Park. The match saw the team from south east London lead for much of the game but a brilliant individual performance from Blundell s centre Barry Karea kept his side in the game until the very end. In a frantic opening few minutes, Dulwich College made the breakthrough when fly half Sunni Jardine flung a miss pass after three minutes created space for winger Louis Ferrari to sprint over in the corner. Jardine, who scored 11 points in an impressive display, was on hand to add the early extras, making it 7-0. Last month (December), before she left England for an extended period in Australia, Dorking Rugby Club welcomed Kay Wilson, former Red Roses star winger, back to the Big Field in Brockham where she played rugby as a young girl. Kay attended a lunch at the club before watching the senior squad in action against Westcombe Park the week before and returned to join in a girls rugby coaching session. She spent the morning with girls from each of the club s four age groups: U9/U11s; U13s; U15s and U18s. The girls rugby lead coach Pip Merrett said, Kay is a brilliant role model for the girls and her rugby career shows what can be achieved through Blundell s fought back when an interception brought them into Dulwich s 22 with a resulting penalty slotted by Karea to bring the score to 7-3. It was Jardine a couple of minutes later who broke the line from a scrum before offloading to Femi Sofolarin whose touchdown made it 14-3 after the conversion. With Dulwich dominating, Karea produced his first moment of magic to keep Blundell s in the game. Breaking from his own half, he beat two defenders and then set up scrum half Sam Maunder to score. From the subsequent kick off Karea did it again, breaking through to set up Maunder for yet another try. Two conversions from Karea made it hard work and dedication. Meeting one of the first professional women rugby players a participant in two Rugby World Cups plus the Six Nations and 7s has been an amazing opportunity. Club President, Humfrey Malins, CBE, added, It s lovely to welcome such a famous international player back to where she spent so many of her formative years playing and training. What a privilege for our club and an inspiration for our girls. Girls rugby is thriving at Dorking Rugby Club with 50 girls playing regularly. In addition to twice weekly training sessions, the girls play competitively in matches and RFU competitions. A number of U15 and U18 players represent With half time approaching Dulwich opted to use their forwards from a lineout and hooker Louis Wright scored from a driving maul putting Dulwich ahead at the half time whistle. Dulwich captain Oscar Gleave opened the second half by jinking his way through the middle with the ball, then flung wide for Ferrari to score his second try in the corner. Jardine added the extras from the touchline to make it Dulwich continued to press and, when a pass fell to ground, Gleave secured a drop goal from 30 metres out to make it Dulwich open-side flanker Luke Simpson broke free from a maul, beating three players on his way to touching down. Karea, who scored 14 Surrey and several girls are in the U13s Surrey Development Squad. Kay said, There are some talented girls here, I ve spotted a few who really stand out. It s good to see girls rugby doing so well at Dorking. It s always a pleasure going back to the club where I first played. A lot has happened since then, but Dorking is where it all began! DRFC Girls Rugby lead partner is Dorkingbased Mole Valley Asset Management whose support helps to drive many of the girls rugby initiatives. Portfolio Manager Andrew Holder said, Professional athletes like Kay have been instrumental in making sure women s rugby gets the attention it deserves. We re extremely proud points in an exceptional performance, missed the tricky conversion but the score gave his side a chance. With 12 minutes left on the clock and Blundell s nine points down, Karea overpowered four of Dulwich s players, scoring out wide. He converted his own try to bring Dulwich s lead to just three points. The final 10 minutes proved tense for both teams but Dulwich held firm and a penalty from Jardine made it Hundreds of Dulwich students celebrated at the final whistle, with their school adding the Champions Trophy to the three consecutive Schools Cup trophies that they won between KAY WILSON RETURNS TO DORKING RUGBY CLUB of what s been achieved at Dorking so far and excited to see girls rugby develop further. Highlighting the growth in girls rugby, there are discussions with the RFU to host the first ever Surrey Girls Rugby 7s competition in April Pip, her team of coaches and some of the girls, work closely with local schools to support girls after-school rugby clubs. New community coaching initiatives supported by DRFC will be launched within schools in For more information on girls rugby at DRFC, 8 TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

9 CAMBRIDGE TAKE VARSITY HONOURS JOE OGDEN Cambridge University beat Oxford at Twickenham to win the 2017 Varsity Match and extended their overall tally to 63 wins from 136 matches. Tries from Cambridge s Chris Bell, Archie Russell and Charlie Amesbury sealed the light blues second-consecutive Varsity Match victory. Cambridge saw three disallowed try decisions go to the television match official in the first half. The referees had a decision to make once again after 25 minutes when captain Charlie Amesbury was deemed to have been held up over the line. No decision was needed, however, when Cambridge won a scrum against the head five metres from Oxford s line and scrum half Bell picked up from the feet of his number eight and ran in to score the first points of the game. The conversion was missed by Mike Phillips leaving the score 5-0. Oxford threatened throughout the half and took the points with seven minutes left on the clock after Cambridge collapsed a maul and captain Conor Kearns stepped up to narrow the lead to just two points. On the stroke of half time the referees had to make yet another decision when Jake Hennessey broke through to score only for the replays to show an earlier pass was forward. The teams went into half time with the light blues 5-3 ahead. Phillips knocked over a penalty for Cambridge after 50 minutes to bring the score to 8-3. And Cambridge added to that lead through Russell, brother of Scottish international Finn, who fended off his opposite man to score after 55 minutes, making it Oxford were finally able to score a try of their own after 65 minutes when Will Wilson couldn t be stopped from two metres out. Kearns added the extras to narrow Cambridge s lead to just three points. But minutes later, Cambridge used a rolling maul to drive over Oxford s line with Amesbury touching down. Phillips kicked the crucial conversion to bring the score to Oxford made several breaks in the final 10 minutes but Cambridge s defence held firm with the score remaining at the final whistle. BARNSLEY BOYS GET A TASTE FOR RUGBY Barnsley RUFC and local RFU Community Rugby Coach Andrew Appleyard got together with CBRE All Schools coaches recently to encourage school pupils to try rugby at the club. Coaches from the CBRE All Schools cluster adapted three sessions for boys from Years 7 and 8 working with rugby s core values and the CARDS system. The boys parents had all received invitation letters for them and their sons handed out by teachers to all the boys, not just the more athletic ones in school teams. The sessions were also publicised on social media. Andrew oversaw sessions and talked to parents about the CARDS system, the club environment and the benefits of their boys joining and the young players were also asked to explain rugby s values to their parents. On the last session, the club s Mini/Junior Lead & Safeguarding Officer was there to chat to parents and players and invite them to the club sessions on Saturdays. From three one-hour taster sessions, the club saw six under 12s increase to 10 training each week and three U13s increase to 12. There are plans now for more sessions for Years 7 and 8 and some for Years 9 and 10 to build the U14s and U15s teams as well as using this recruiting method at other South Yorkshire clubs. Said Angie Lee, Barnsley RUFC Club Safeguarding Officer: It s great to see new players at the club as a direct result of the Believe & Belong sessions and the fact that some of those new players are completely new to rugby is fabulous. Our under 12s and 13s were struggling for numbers and have a dispensation to play a combined team this season. I was genuinely excited to see numbers coming into the club for those age grades. This is proof that quality coaches getting into schools will impact positively on player numbers. CEO ON THE ROAD At the end of the year, RFU Chief Executive Steve Brown hosted a roundtable discussion with local field-based employees at Old Coventrians RFC. Discussions included the future of technology at the RFU, the game s values, data protection and ticket sales. Steve is hoping to host similar events nationwide, where possible in rugby clubs to also meet club members. At Old Coventrians he chatted about the club and current season with Jane Waterhouse (Junior Section Chair), Phil Gill (President) and Bill Whetstone (Secretary). TOUCHLINE JANUARY

10 WYLES OFF-FIELD PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT RECOGNISED Saracens back Chris Wyles was recently named the winner of the first RPA Personal Development Award of the 2017/18 season, which is designed to reward and celebrate the off-field development achievements of RPA members taking part in the RPA Personal Development Programme. The highly versatile back who has made more than 235 appearances for Saracens and represented the USA on 54 occasions, has been rewarded for his work co-founding Wolfpack Lager with former teammate and retired South African lock Alistair Hargreaves. Launched in 2014, Wolfpack Lager is now served in more than 60 pubs across the capital, has a permanent bus bar at Allianz Park for Saracens home games, and has seen the successful opening of the Wolfpack bar in north London. Chris has been acknowledged for being highly proactive in creating and growing the brand, working closely with the team at Saracens and with support from the RPA to manage his time effectively off the pitch and build a business from scratch. Chris said: It s a massive honour to be named the first winner of this award. It s a seriously cool feeling to be recognised for something which has been incredibly challenging but also hugely rewarding. The RPA and Saracens focus so heavily on supporting our players, preparing guys for life after rugby and it s a testament to the support I have received from both to be named the winner of this award. Launching Wolfpack with Al has been an enormous experience, we ve worked so hard together to build the business and ultimately create a product which we re exceptionally proud of. I can t speak highly enough of how important it is to have a focus away from rugby, and through launching Wolfpack I feel my on-pitch performance has improved greatly, as I ve had a passion and challenge away from the game. Opening our flagship bar last week has been an amazing experience, the response has blown us away and it s such a rewarding feeling to sit back and watch people enjoy our beer and the space we ve created. Caroline Guthrie, RPA Personal Development Manager for Saracens, said: Chris is such a worthy winner of this award. He has shown fantastic drive and commitment in setting up his business with Al Hargreaves and his attitude to preparing for life after rugby is hugely inspiring. It is brilliant to recognise all the work he has done, take inspiration from the effort he has put in and appreciate the support he now offers in sharing his experience. This award highlights a player s off-field personal development success and is judged by a panel consisting of RPA Rugby Director, Richard Bryan, and RPA Alumni Representatives, Chris Bentley and Rob Vickerman. This is the first of three Personal Development Awards to be made in the 2017/18 season, with further winners to be announced in February and April. All three winners of the award will be shortlisted for the annual overall Personal Development Award to be presented at the RPA Players Awards 2018 in association with England Rugby on Wednesday 9th May in London. The RPA Personal Development Programme (jointly funded by the RPA, RFU and Premiership Rugby) is a central pillar of the RPA and provides its members with essential off-field education, personal development, career transition opportunities and welfare support. STOURBRIDGE RUGBY CLUB TACKLING KNIFE CRIME Stourbridge Rugby Club and Opening Boundaries will be using the power of sport in a community charity event in May and teaming up with West Midlands Police to raise awareness of the increase in knife crime and how it can be combatted. The campaign named I Support Tackling Knife Crime was launched in November to coincide with the club hosting the 2019 Japan Rugby World Cup tour and the club s first game played on their new England Rugby artificial grass pitch. Stourbridge Rugby Club caters for all ages and abilities and wants to provide a positive outlet for people to take part in organised sports programmes which contribute towards reducing crime, finding positive identity and community empowerment, leadership and teamwork. Robin Edwards, Chairman at Stourbridge Rugby said, The devastating effect of the increase in knife crime is being felt across UK society and locally we have felt the terrible sadness of lives being lost through this dreadful evil. We believe it is vital for our community to come together in support of organisations that can tackle this problem and collectively we aim to raise funds from rugby to invest in a safer future for us all. Working with the charity Opening Boundaries and West Midlands Police, a charity rugby competition at the end of our season will see us donate all proceeds to Birmingham Children s Hospital. We will encourage our players, sponsors, supporters and friends to show their support for this initiative and hope to engage with neighbouring rugby clubs who have a similar objective, let s tackle knife crime! Farah Ahmed, Project Manager for Opening Boundarie, said, As a local resident of Norton in Stourbridge, and someone who has had a double murder in my area, I am keen to demonstrate what we as a community can achieve when we come together using the power of sport to drive social change and allow us to live in a safer and more inclusive society. Detective Superintendent Ian Parnell of West Midlands Police said: Across the West Midlands there has been a recent increase in knife crime, ranging from possession offences at one end to murder at the other. We are working really hard with retailers, schools and partners to remove knives from the streets of the West Midlands and we are ensuring those who do carry a knife are robustly dealt with through the criminal justice system. There is now better reporting of knife crime from schools, and more efforts from police to understand why young people feel the need to carry bladed weapons. I am supportive of any community led initiative that seeks to prevent knife crime and the terrible impact it has on families and communities. The work of Opening Boundaries and Stourbridge Rugby Club is key in offering diversionary activities for young people to focus on. Statistics provided by West Midlands Police show instances of knife crime seen, used or threatened has jumped from 1,554 in to 2,391 in That is an increase of 35%. The numbers for knife homicide have almost doubled from 9 to 17 in the same period. There is now an open invitation for individuals and teams to register their interest to take part on the day. The fundraiser will also provide activities for the whole family and an opportunity to talk to Birmingham Children s Hospital and the West Midlands Police. Miranda Williams, Public Fundraising Manager at Birmingham Children s Hospital Charity, said, The money raised will make a huge difference to the lives of our brave children and their families, enabling us to do more for those in our care. For more information on the event or to register your interest please contact, by the 31st January TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

11 LOCAL MP UNVEILS WIMBLEDON CHANGING PAVILION Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, officially opened Wimbledon RFC s upgraded changing pavilion last month (December), thanks to a grant from the Mayor of London: Sports Facilities Fund (MoL:SFF), which is delivered by the Football Foundation the country s largest sports charity. The funding has enabled the club to extend its existing changing pavilion, which was no longer able to support the level of usage and posed scheduling issues due to limited changing space and communal showers. Now, the facility comprises: eight changing rooms, six of which are en-suite; two officials changing rooms (both en-suite); a large meeting room and office space, and a treatment room. Not having been upgraded for more than 25 years, the existing pavilion could not support the growing levels of usage. Previously, communal showers meant that fixture scheduling was problematic with male and female teams having to wait until the other had finished before using the facilities. Dedicated showers now mean that this is not an issue. Now, the club can offer its players and the local community a state-of-the-art facility. This will benefit not only Wimbledon RFC, but also St George s University, Willington School, Putney High School and Old Johnians RC. A number of sports are delivered across these users including rugby, netball, football, athletics, running and cricket. The project was made possible thanks to a 50,000 grant from the Mayor of London: Sports Facilities Fund. The Mayor s Sports Facilities Fund is part of the Mayor s commitment to deliver a sporting legacy from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The aim of the Fund, which is managed on the Mayor s behalf by the Football Foundation, is to increase participation levels in sport in London through the funding of affordable, good quality facilities within local communities in every London Borough. Since it was launched in 2000, the Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more than 580m towards improving grassroots sport, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over 800m over 1.4bn of investment into the grassroots game. The Foundation also managed the MoL:SFF programme on behalf of City Hall. Stephen Hammond, MP for Wimbledon, said: I was delighted to unveil Wimbledon RFC s improved changing pavilion, which is going to vastly improve the experience of all its users. Grassroots sports is hugely important in our area and throughout the country, and having access to facilities like this one is vital to encourage more people to get active. The Football Foundation is working hard to support this vision, through schemes such as MoL:SFF. Meg Gardiner, Honorary Secretary at Wimbledon RFC, said: As Wimbledon RFC enters its 152nd year, we have been lucky enough to expand our facilities even further which would not have been possible without the grant from the Mayor of London: Sports Facilities Fund. We are looking forward to our bright future. DURHAM COUNTY SCHOOLS RELAUNCH CUP COMPETITION Durham County RFU Schools Union have relaunched the Schools Cup, with over a thousand pupils playing rugby union as a result. The County Schools Cup competition, with help from Durham RFU Professional staff, took its makeover around the county, setting up at twelve different rugby clubs from last September. Along with its new look, the Cup and Plate competition attracted 35 schools, with a number playing in the seven different age group Cup and Plate games new to the competition. John Pearson, Durham County RFU Schools Union Secretary, said; The revitalisation of the Schools Union Sevens and more lately, the implementation of a full range of boys and girls festivals and Cup competitions, has undoubtedly assisted in breathing fresh air into the organisation. With the help of RFU staff, The Schools Cup and Plate competition has been split into two tournaments in line with Age Grade Rugby. In round one, the mid Durham and north Durham schools attend one round of age grade fixtures to reserve their position in either the Cup or the Plate final. While in the south, the south east and south west Durham Schools competed against one another to progress to their next step of the competition. The Durham County Cup and Plate finals are set to be completed early this year. The U13 and U15 girls have already enjoyed a central venue finals event at Darlington Mowden Park, where over 100 girls took part in a series of rugby games for either the Cup or Plate in a Waterfall format. The 2017/18 U13 winners were; U13 Plate Teesdale School, U13 Cup St. Wilfrid s, U15 Plate Staindrop and U15 Cup St. Thomas Moore. As well as the girls competitions, St John s Catholic Sixth Form took on Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form in the Year 12/13 Boys final round, for St Johns to be crowned Plate Winners and QE to take home the Cup. The remaining year seven, eight, nine and 10/11 Boys finals will take place across the County to see the completion of the 2017/2018 Schools County Cup at the end of this month (January). Pearson commented: To attract so many schools and provide a number of games at both Cup and Plate level has raised the level of participation in rugby in the schools in the county. By using County Society referees for these competitions we were able to add professionalism to the games and raise the profile for future events. The Cup and Plate events were a great way to show Durham Schools that the Schools Union is here and looking to provide more rugby playing opportunities for them. The next stepping stone for the Competition will be to source referees from the Young Match Officials within Durham Schools for future festivals such as the Cup and Plate. TOUCHLINE JANUARY

12 MITSUBISHI MOTORS VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARDS NICOL McCLELLAND Entries for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards are now open, with the awards recognising volunteers who have a made an outstanding contribution to rugby in their club, school or community. Last year over 1,500 entries were submitted for the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer of the Year Awards as volunteers across the country were identified for their valuable work in the game. The four winners were announced at an awards evening at Twickenham Stadium, where they were awarded a Mitsubishi Motors vehicle of their choice, to keep for a year. The awards, part of the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme, will see 42 local celebration events held at Mitsubishi Motors dealerships and rugby clubs between April and June One finalist from each event will then be invited to the awards evening at Twickenham Stadium on Friday, 7 September where the overall winners will be announced. Volunteers are such a vital part of the game, said Lance Bradley, Mitsubishi Motors Managing Director. The amount of work that they put in to the day-to-day running of their clubs is invaluable and these awards give us the opportunity to recognise the hard work they do. If you know someone who has made a difference in your area, nominate them here YRA CONFERENCES HELP DEVELOP NEXT GENERATION LEADERS Young Rugby Ambassadors (YRAs) recently came together at four regional conferences held at Premiership Rugby venues to coincide with matches, showcasing the best the Aviva Premiership has to offer. The YRA conferences started at Kingston Park with Newcastle Falcons, before moving to the Majedski Stadium, the Ricoh Arena, Coventry and Sandy Park, Exeter. YRAs travelled from far and wide to attend the workshops, learn about the RFU s Strategic Priorities, the work of Constituent Bodies and important influencing skills to equip them to work with their club committees. YRAs were put through their paces practising real-life scenarios they may encounter in clubs and universities in order to influence decision makers. They worked through: player and volunteer recruitment, increasing confidence and awareness of their work, and promoting the YRA programme in new environments. One YRA commented: I feel a lot more confident in my work as a YRA now and I will take ideas I gained from this conference back to my club. The days were supported by Rugby Development Officers, Community Rugby Coaches and Constituent Body volunteers, providing YRAs with a wealth of experience and knowledge to help expand their understanding of the rugby landscape. Jenny Box, Volunteer Engagement Manager, explained: It s so valuable to have volunteers of all ages and levels of experience in a room together. Not only are we providing YRAs with information on how their valuable volunteering fits into the bigger picture, we re also helping our CBs to get to know the future leaders of the game. We ve had lots of great feedback from across the conferences, so we re keen to look for more ways to link our YRA network with our CBs and continue this sharing of knowledge and expertise. If you would like more information on the YRA programme and how to get young people involved in volunteering at your club or CB please or click here for more information. THE RUGBY FOOTBALL UNION WOULD LIKE TO THANK THE FOLLOWING WHO GENEROUSLY SUPPORT THE GAME TOUCHLINE Editorial input with pictures to: Touchline Editor, Patricia Mowbray Direct Line: Correspondence to: Patricia Mowbray, Touchline Editor, Rugby Football Union, Rugby House, Twickenham Stadium, 200 Whitton Road, Twickenham TW2 7BA. Mailing and Distribution: Enquiries or updates Tel: Touchline is published by The PPL Group, on behalf of the Rugby Football Union, the national governing body of the game in England. Also available on the RFU website: englandrugby.com Photography courtesy of Getty and Touchline contributors. Thanks to all individuals, clubs, schools and CBs for contributions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the RFU. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the RFU or PPL Group. While every care has been taken to ensure accuracy of editorial content, no responsibility can be taken for errors and/or omissions. All trademarks are acknowledged as the property of their respective owners. The RFU Rose and the words England Rugby are official registered trade marks of the Rugby Football Union and are subject to extensive trade mark registration worldwide. 12 TOUCHLINE JANUARY 2018

2017/18 WARRIORS COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE

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