The Men’s Rugby club at UEA is set to return in September 2013. The wheels for this return have been set in motion, with applications to become a committee member closing on Sunday 13 January. The new committee will be responsible for ensuring the club is ready to hit the ground running in September.
An open forum was held in December and aimed to seek out those interested in committee posts in order for an organised club to be present at the start of the next university year. Successful applicants for committee posts will have the opportunity to attend a Leadership Academy at Cambridge University organised by the Rugby Football Union (RFU), which will offer support and guidance on how to run the club successfully.
UEA Director of Sport Phil Steele and members of the former men’s rugby club attended the forum alongside members of the women’s rugby club, touch rugby and American Football. Attendees were adamant that a repeat of past behaviour – that led to the club being suspended from all activity for this academic year – would not be tolerated.
Mr Steele commented: “I support the re-emergence of the club alongside and not without the formation of a plan to develop the club within some very clear guidelines to safeguard future performance and conduct of those involved.
“As discussed at the meeting, this may come with some support from the RFU which should help establish good practice from the outset.”
The forum discussed how many teams would be established and also whether or not participation in local leagues is necessary. The club will enter in to the lowest tier of the university league and so local league participation could be essential in order for the team to face stronger competition.
The forum also discussed issues of coaching and there was a clear desire for the future coach to be committed to all teams, not just the BUCS teams. Other concerns included the provision of transport to local league matches as it was often the case in the past that teams had to rely on players with cars in order to arrive at venues.
There is certainly a mood among those involved that a lot of positives can be found in the re-establishment of the club, as progress towards having a men’s rugby club back at UEA continues.