Welcome from Head Coach Chris Woodward (pictured)
Our 2017-18 season of U11’s was a fantastic success with a squad of 46 players really coming together and developing not only their core skills but also their commitment to each other and passion for both rugby and the Old Pats. The focus on core skills and inclusivity saw each squad win more games than they lost and ensured that every player developed the fundamentals needed to continue to enjoy rugby for many years.
Our first end of season tour saw 33 players and their parents off to the ever popular and accommodating UNISON Croyde Bay. The obligatory Fish and Chips at Squires on the way down and day on the beach was topped off by a fantastic introduction to the ‘tour court’. With all this fun, the rugby could have become secondary but a fabulous festival day at Cheddar on the way home saw two well balanced teams play 10 competitive games and only lose once. This really highlighted the success of the squad approach as these
teams were created new for the festival and all players worked together, some for the first time, to deliver the fantastic outcome. Well done everyone.
Our U12’s playing season will bring new challenges and opportunities as we progress through the RFU graduated introduction of Laws and skills. The main changes for this year will be
The main impact of rules added this year will be a greater need for communication and decision making alongside the application of core skills. We will continue to encourage all players to explore their potential in a number of positions whilst adding some structured play to each of the squads. Passing and movement remains our key threat and all players will need to improve their ball handling and vision as the season progresses.
We will continue with our integrated policy with three equal squads. As our players move from their respective junior schools to secondary school it is great to hear them talk about the ‘rugby mates’ they will share classes with and play in the school team with and this level of inclusivity is a key measure to our success.
Training will become a little more focuse dwith the expectation that all players will be stretched to the limits of their ability. Each player should arrive on Sunday for training or a game with the attitude that they are going to be the best version of themselves, give their all and have some fun, and as coaches we will provide the framework for them to continue to develop.
12 Rules that impact on play
- 12 players on pitch
- Unlimited numbers at ruck and maul
- Handoff below the armpits
- 5 man scrum (nearest 5), contested hook
- Pick and Go Option from ruck
- Positional play and structure
- Decision making and when to compete,
- Introduction of a rolling maul, Pods and impact
- Tackle low and in pairs, ball carrying and off-loading
- More space around the park at scrum time
- Decision making and tactics
Location and fixtures
This year our home ground we will be Reeves Field (Cheltenham College pitches by the Tennis club). Training will be Sunday mornings 10am-12pm. The College sports hall parking (Thirlestaine Road) is only a 2 minute walk and is available to us as parking on the road is limited (we must keep all local stakeholders happy). The coffee shop at Cox’s Meadow have agreed to open for the hardy spectators as the season progresses – feel free to grab an extra coffee for the coaches I promise no offence will be taken! On match days post-match food and hospitality will be at the Old Pats club house.
Andy (loud) and Chris (calm) will continue to support the squad as Head Coaches alongside regulars Hein, Andy (little one) Dan, Bill, Mark, Lyndon, and Rob (sometimes). With Stuart Smith volunteering to add his insight and energy we will continue to have a great coaching squad. If any other parents wish to get involve then please let Andy or Chris know, there are lots of roles. As our new Social Manager Jason Wilson will tell you a lack of rugby experience is no excuse to not get involved. Anyone who feels able to support us with team management and communications would be eagerly welcomed.
We are looking forward to the season with excitement to see how everyone will develop over this year and to see what the squad can achieve as Old Pats Under 12s.