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Pitch up and Play works

The following is an extract from this month's edition of 'Touchline'.

surrey girlsGirls' rugby in Surrey has seen a new RFU Pitch up and Play initiative which provides an alternative to league rugby and ensures that girls have regular competitive playing opportunities at club, school and college level without the need to travel too far.

One central venue hosts girls from all three age-groups, allowing them to play full-sided games by joining to form teams. This reduces the pressure on individual clubs to field a full team and enables girls to compete against players of similar abilities.

Events are managed by volunteers with support from RFU Community Coaches and Development Officers. The Pitch up and Play programme has been running on a monthly basis in Surrey since September 2013 when the first session was held at Esher Rugby Club with 115 girls from a variety of clubs taking part. Following Surrey's success, Romford RFC became the first club in Essex to host a an event, with plans to expand the programme to more clubs in Essex, Sussex and Kent,starting at Harlow RFC this month (January).

Former England captain Catherine Spencer, who works as the RFU's Women's Rugby Development Oªcer, said: "The concept is especially suited to the girls' game where there is a range of experience and skill levels within teams. The days also provide an opportunity for coaches and volunteers from different clubs to meet, share knowledge and resources and to build relationships between clubs. It's fantastic to see the growth of girls' rugby and we are working hard to create even more opportunities and age-bands."

David McGuigan, Surrey RFU Girls Development Lead, added: "The Pitch up and Play concept has been a fantastic addition to the Surrey Girls calendar. All standards of players are welcome, including beginners. It has been brilliant to watch the girls progress their rugby skills. Clubs with fledgling teams who sometimes struggle to field a full team have benefited significantly from this programme."

You can read the full edition of the magazine HERE