More Players - Playing More Often

2nd XV and Lower XVs- Playing more often- Forums

                                                                                                                                    23rd March 2017        

Ladies and Gentlemen




All will be aware that more and more 2nd and Lower XV games are being cancelled; these include GRFU league matches, Combination cup matches and friendlies.  It would seem that many club 2nd and Lower XVs are playing just a handful of games during the season.  This has been a concern in most, if not all, clubs, and is a subject that is discussed regularly in clubhouses and at committee meetings.


The explanations put forward tend to focus around a number of reasons, but 2 often come to the forefront.  Firstly, there are less players playing the game or, secondly, many players do not want to play as regularly as they used to. In addition, players do not want to travel too far.  Some do not want to play in competitions where the result counts (while they want to win the match they don’t mind too much if they don’t), and no one wants to play in a match where one side wins by a cricket-score.  It is undoubtedly a combination of all but, once those who want to play more regularly are unable to do so, because there are insufficient players to have an adapted game of even 10 or 12-a-side, then they also begin to lose interest and drift away from the game. It becomes a vicious circle.


GRFU is making turning this around and halting the decline one of its 2 priorities for the foreseeable future.  To succeed will need considerable effort by clubs, GRFU and the local RFU professional staff.  Many clubs may have recently attended the workshops run by the RDOs in the north and south of the county entitled “Grow Your Club”.  To follow on from these GRFU is holding 2 club evenings:


Mon 24th April 2017 at Gordon League RFC starting at 7pm.

Tue 25th April at North Bristol RFC starting at 7pm.


The evening will consist of a series of discussions primarily around competition structures, in order for GRFU to provide a future framework that is flexible and attractive to players, that encourages them to commit to playing more regularly and fulfilling the fixtures that clubs have arranged.  The topics that we will discuss will include:


  1. Confirming the problem and issues.
  2. Dislikes and likes of the GRFU Reserve Leagues.
  3. Dislikes and likes of Cup competitions, including Combination Cups.
  4. 2nd & Lower XVs in RFU Leagues.
  5. The value of friendly fixtures and merit tables.  Role of the fixture secretary.
  6. Using just parts of the season for different competitions /matches (eg a competition run from Sep – Nov and another from Feb – Apr with friendlies or no rugby arranged in Dec & Jan).
  7. Transitioning youngsters into the adult game.  Advantages and disadvantages of giving primacy to a club U17 / U18 side rather than putting 17 year olds into adult teams.
  8. Playing 2nd and Lower XVs at times other than Saturday afternoons.  When should U17 / U18s teams play?
  9. Fixture and player exchanges, and the use of technology.
  10. Any other ideas to improve matters.
  11. Confirming the roles of clubs, GRFU and the RFU local staff in solving this issue.


We want these 2 evenings to be open and wide-ranging discussions.  Some topics we will discuss in small groups and feedback to all, and others we will discuss en masse.  To that end, clubs can bring a range of individuals to these 2 club evenings, but you should consider your fixture secretary, team managers and captains from your 2nd and Lower XVs, Chair of Youth Rugby, team manager /coach U17s / U18 team, your head coach and club captain, as well as Chairman and Secretary.


GRFU will lay on a buffet to start each evening and, so that we know who and how many will be attending each evening, please complete the attached table and return it by email to Lyn Smith (, who is co-ordinating attendance at these 2 meetings.  Please send Lyn your list BY WED 12th APRIL 2017. Do not send to County Office.



Yours sincerely

Peter Williams







SEND TO: by Wed 12th April 2017.









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Mon 24th April 2017 at Gordon League RFC starting at 7pm


Tue 25th April at North Bristol RFC starting at 7pm

























If club members are attending both events, please complete a form for each event

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