Esher threaten withdrawal as storm brews over mini rugby festivals
Esher chief executive Mike Schmid has confirmed the club has not yet decided whether to withdraw their teams from this year’s county mini rugby festivals.
Surrey Rugby, one of the RFU’s constituent bodies, has set out controversial new rules for the tournaments, one of which tells rival coaches to switch players between teams if the game is too one-sided.
It saw the RFU accused of “going soft” at the weekend by trying to remove the emphasis on winning from the game in the U5 to U12 age groups.
The Sunday Times reported Esher had decided not to attend the county festivals this summer in protest.
The Molesey Road club’s minis rugby section denied this is the case, but, while Schmid revealed the club will attend an RFU meeting next month to discuss the issue, boycotting the compeitions remained an option.
“Withdrawing is a possible outcome,” said the former Esher director of rugby
“We are absolutely opposed to these specific changes and the way they have been brought in. A host of other clubs in Surrey agree with us and we will continue to talk about this with the RFU.
“There have been some tremendous changes made at minis rugby level.”
Steve Grainger, the RFU’s development director, said: “It is not about denying children competitive rugby. “But we must evolve a player-centred game, which is enjoyable and allows young people to develop.”