Spring 7s Issue
NSW Rugby Union (NSWRU) and Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU) are aware of the matter that occurred earlier this month at Spring 7s match when an U11 player from Wests was not permitted to continue playing in compliance with the Rugby Australia Size for Age policy.
While it is not NSWRU’s or SJRU’s intention to prevent any player from participating in rugby, the player involved had been previously assessed in accordance with the policy and it was deemed he was required to compete in an older age division. We understand the parents has been informed of this in writing and verbally well before the matter last weekend.
To provide full context please see below details of the extended process and timeline that occurred:
- The player involved in this was recognised through the registration process as needing to be assessed, based on the guidelines within the Rugby Australia Size for Age
- Some months ago, he was assessed by an experienced and suitably qualified coach. There are two primary questions the assessor is required to consider:
- If the player remains in their current grade, do they pose a significant safety risk to themselves?
- If the player remains in their current grade, do they pose a significant safety risk to others?
- The assessment showed the answer to both questions was yes.
- The assessor said that the player could also play up two age groups
- Taking the age group into account, the assessor emailed the parents of the player and said it was appropriate for him to play U12s. The correspondence outlined that this would “ensure the safety of opposition players and provide the player with an appropriate level of competition.”
- Because the player was already playing U12s the assessor informed the parents that there was no need for the player to be further assessed in this regard with a copy of his report provided.
- Following this correspondence [prior to the start of the Spring 7s] the player started playing in the Wests U11 Spring 7s team.
ONCE COMPETITION STARTED
- After Round 1 SJRU had concerns about the player raised by other clubs.
- Several attempts were made to get in touch with the Club during this time.
- An assessing coach met with the parents at Round 3 where the parents showed him the report that had already been done.
- At that point the assessor agreed that no further assessment was required given the report had already been done. He explained to the parent that the assessment clearly showed that the assessment still applied, even though this was a different competition. This verbal confirmation was followed up via SMS.
- The player continued to play for the Wests team. At Round 5 of the Spring 7s, the parents and the coach of the team were again advised that the player was not eligible to play in an U11 team. The boy’s parent requested that an official tell her son that, which was when the NSW Rugby Development Officer (who was assisting at the event) was sent to advise the team and player that he wasn’t permitted to play in the U11 competition.
- This was the conversation that was videoed and posted on social media. It was a conversation that took place after numerous written and verbal discussions with the parents of the player and his club.
Since the incident, the Sydney Junior Rugby Union Chair has been in contact with the parent involved and the Club, to reinforce the policies in place but also to enquire about the welfare of the player and the family.
The NSWRU and SJRU have the best interest of all participants involved, the player, his teammates but more broadly all those playing the game.
The Rugby Australia Size for Age policy has successfully been in place, helping to ensure our game is enjoyed by all in a safe way.
We want to see the player involved stay part of our competition and we are continuing to work with the Club to ensure he and his family can stay involved.