From September 1st 2011 a new Under 13s age band will be introduced for girls’ rugby in England.

After extensive research and consultation throughout the game, the Rugby Football Union for Women (RFUW) will introduce the new age band to provide more competitive and more constructive rugby for girls under the Under 15s age bracket.

Previously, Under 15s and Under 18s age bands were introduced in 2007/2008 to increase players at youth level and provide sufficient competitive outlets.

Since then the game has developed with more girls playing rugby. Minor amendments have been made to accommodate changes within the schools environment and the need to develop competitions for girls. However, several Under 15s age bands were still struggling for numbers which was reflected by more clustering of clubs and a lack of players in many Constituency Body squads.

Through introducing the new Under 13s age band for the forthcoming season the RFUW are confident this will provide girls with a better development route, it would reduce the perception of size differentials as well as encouraging girls to stay in the game. This is especially important with the popularity of Tag Rugby in primary schools.

David Rose, the RFUW’s Head of Development, said: “The RFUW is committed to developing as many opportunities as possible for girls to play rugby. We have taken notice of the feedback we received from schools and clubs and this has resulted in the new age band. The Under 13s age band will assist in girls making the transition from primary schools where Tag Rugby is a hugely popular game for girls. We are excited about the opportunities the additional age band will provide the RFUW to further develop participation.”

To make the age band change, coaching and teacher training will be delivered by the RFU’s coaching department and distribution will be through the RFU delivery teams, English Schools Union and County Schools Union, together with supportive resource material.