Ellon Rugby Club
Meadows Sports Centre
MOBILE: 07841 758490
16 August 2016
Dear Ellon Rugby Member
Both Ellon Rugby Club and the Scottish Rugby Union are completing an ‘age band review’ to ensure youth players are competing against their peers at a fair level. This is important for both safety and player development. The SRU age bands ARE NOT the same as academic years with the SRU age bands running from 1st September to 31st August. The review at Ellon Rugby showed that this effects over a third of our Youth Section, who are effectively ‘playing up’ an age band meaning they are competing at a distinct disadvantage, and some players will be restricted due to personal development.
The stage this anomaly is created is when moving from Junior to Youth section, P7 into S1 (as was) or U13 as is. In the past the age bands were S1 and S2. This is now U13 and U14; however P7 is the same as U11. This means that players in U13 are both U13 and U12 when they move up. They have always continued to move up as a group to the following age band, and so the discrepancy occurs. This is emphasised when the players develop physically at different rates, leading to what we have now which is a significant number of players at every age band (bar U18) “playing up”. At U18 this playing up is prevented as U18 is a two year age band and SRU rules prevent players “playing up” at this level unless they pass a significant SRU medical test.
As a club that is focused on player development, we feel that players should be playing their correct age banding, unless they have significant physical development and skill ability to be playing at the level above. This should be the exception, rather than the norm.
However we are also well aware that players have played within their teams for a number of years now. To force a change now would disrupt teams and possibly be a reason for players to stop playing.
Ellon Rugby have taken the approach that players will be given an option. Something they should discuss with their parents/guardian, coaches at both age bands effected and any of the development team (Gareth Kemp, Peter McCartin and Sean Reynolds).
At this time they will have the option of:
1. Continuing to play in the year above.
2. Moving to play in the correct age band for their date of birth.
3. Train at one age band, but play matches between both age bands, until a natural level is obtained.
Option 2 and 3 must NOT be seen as playing down, as this is the correct age band they should be playing. This is the age band that most other players will be at a similar physical development.
The option to move to the correct age band for their date of birth will be available at all times, to all players within the Youth System at the moment. There is an exception to this. Those who were an U16 last season, but are not 16 on the 1st September, must stay at U16 until they become 16, for the reasons mentioned earlier.
Those in P7 that are moving to U13 this year will be reviewed over the season coming. Those who are U11 will be asked to remain at U13 for two years, unless they are deemed to have significant physical development and skill ability to be playing at the level above.
These actions should reset the age banding for the Youth section from U13 this season, and within 4 years the club should have most players playing the correct age banding.
This does by no means take anything from players deemed able to, and who will benefit from, playing a year above. Those players will be observed and asked to integrate into that age band, should they wish to.
Very happy to discuss this and further explain anything.
G D Kemp
Updated 01:19 - 25 Aug 2016 by Gareth D Kemp
Director of Rugby
U14 Head Coach 2016/17