Welcome from Head Coach Matt Dawson
Welcome to the Old Pats U11s 2018/19. It is hard to believe that we are heading into our third season of competitive rugby and are still full to the brim with 47 players that are continuing our collective journey together.
As U10s we put out four mixed ability squads and competed with the best sides in the area who often stream their teams. The most rewarding aspect of our journey has been witnessing boys from local schools rubbing shoulders together every Sunday making friendships that will last a lifetime. Last season saw our boys excel in two areas: ball handling and rucking.
Our training is based around fast paced games that have rules that help develop specific skills. This approach is fun and also allows the boys to focus on areas that need developing.
We will train the players to retain possession with their kicking game and not to give the ball away! Training this season will see the U11s break into three groups based on their tackling ability. These groups will allow fluid movement between them depending on progress and allow the players to gain confidence in the contact area around boys with similar ability.
The boys will always come back to their mixed ability squads to play.
The new rule changes as U11s will see us play to the following regulations:
- Team numbers: a maximum of 9-a-side
- Maximum pitch size: 60 metres x 43 metres
- Ball Size: 4
- Maximum minutes each half: 20
- Introduction of the contested strike
- Nearest 3 players in a scrum
- Contest for the ball (2 players v 2 players)
- Introduction of tactical kicking and kicking restarts
Last year highlighted to me that some boys still need their confidence building in the contact area. Because some boys in each of the squads ended up doing the majority of the tackling, we have reserved the right to reward these boys by allowing them to play in 5 of the 25 fixtures as a collective – to reward them for their efforts and also to offer an incentive to those wanting to play in The Land Rover Cup where we will field two sides. When they move to their secondary schools as U12s, their sides will be streamed. But we will continue to play as a mixed ability group in the majority of our fixtures.
At present we are running a tag session during the summer months and will look to keep the midweek session going until the clocks change at half-term.
Head coach is Matt Dawson. Supporting Matt, we are extremely lucky to have a cohort of coaches and managers who are fantastic at their jobs. Five of our coaches: Gary Stevens, Pete Jones, Simon Ross, Simon Davies and Andy Edwards have just passed their Level 2 RFU coaching badges making our age-group the most qualified within the Old Pats set up. We also have Sally and Gemma: two first class managers who put in a lot of time and effort organising fixtures, team lists, availability, liaising with the University over the pitches and match teas as well as keeping the coaches in check! It is vital that standards are upheld on and off the pitch and we operate a three strikes and out rule to anyone that uses our club sporadically and on their terms.
When and where
As U11s, we will continue to train and play at The Park Campus and look forward to joining forces with the U10s who will be training there with us. We cannot wait to rub shoulders with them and look forward to making new friends. Training will be 10am to 12pm with the Parkrun starting at 930am. Finally, a thank you to our parental body who support the boys the right way. I want to thank you the way you support ALL of the boys with a wonderful touchline spirit. We look forward to the new season.