We at SATPE are frustrated by claims that contact tackling in school rugby is dangerous and should be banned. Simply put, it is an attack on the skills of our excellent practitioners who teach tag, scrag and contact rugby from ages 3-18 within our Curriculum for Excellence.
While the game is undoubtedly demanding in a physical context it has immense holistic benefits for children and young people. Rugby is incredibly inclusive due to the diversity of playing positions and differing technical, tactical and physical demands. The game is also steeped in tradition and develops key personal qualities for school, work and life. These qualities include; resilience, respect, tolerance, communication and determination. Rugby should be delivered incrementally through the continuum of tag, scrag and contact. In reference to preparation for life, any young person who has not had exposure to the contact game but who wishes to join a rugby club after completing school will not have the knowledge, technique or conditioning to play the game at that level safely.
Like so many activities rugby develops key transferable skills that will impact positively on other performances. These include; strength, stamina, fluency, control, problem solving, decision making, the list goes on. As teachers of Physical Education we are facing challenging times as we look to encourage an active and healthy lifestyle for all young people. To facilitate this young people need to be exposed to a broad and balanced Physical Education curriculum to help them make choices outside of school. Rugby very much adds to the diversity of our school curriculum and should be celebrated as one of many outstanding invasion games that are taught and coached to an excellent standard across Scotland.
We recognise that player safety is paramount and reemphasis the need for quality teaching and coaching. We remind practitioners that those delivering contact rugby in curricular classes and extracurricular groups can choose to become SRU RugbyRight certified. This online course places a strong emphasis on concussion management, anti-doping and safe tackle techniques. The course also highlights key law changes at various age group levels.