The game of rugby can expect a boost at the grassroots in Zimbabwe.
UK-based organisation, Tag Rugby Trust (TRT), is looking to build a network of tag rugby centres in the country, that will develop young talent and raise the profile of the sport at large.
Tag rugby follows the rules of the full-contact version of rugby, but rather than tackling each other, players must grab a fabric tag that is attached to the body of their opponents. It is a more formal version of the game commonly known as ‘touch rugby’.
TRT currently operates in eight developing countries. Tinashe Shamu is the country manager for TRT in Zimbabwe. Having coordinated tournaments all across the country and taken the sport to primary schools in urban and rural areas, Shamu is well qualified for the role.
Shamu has found that the sport is being well received across the country, being met with enthusiasm even in areas where rugby was previously unheard of. With several tournaments under the TRT belt since 2011, the sport has started to spread like wildfire.
According to the TRT website, Rugby is seen as a vehicle for “teaching respect, teamwork, friendships, breaking down social and geographical barriers, co-operation between different communities, tolerance, achievement and fulfilment.”
In addition to just enjoying the thrill of the game, the children involved also get exposure to educational programmes in environmental conservation and journalism and media.
TRT also provides qualification courses for International Rugby Board (IRB) standard coaching and refereeing through their Accreditation Pathway, from levels one through to the IRB rugby ready qualifications.
Plans are in motion to create tag rugby centres which are essentially mini rugby clubs that can be started or joined by anyone who has gained an IRB qualification. Coaches running these centres will be given financial support based on their qualifications. A star rating system hinged around the qualifications of the coaching team at the centres will also determine the number of members allowed. It is hoped that this will incentivise further training and development.
Creating or joining a tag center is not difficult, but it does require commitment to training, time spent on the centre and working as a team as well as reporting to TRT Zimbabwe to allow them to look for new sponsorship opportunities and to find more money to put into training and your center.
For more information or to book your place in the next training round find TRT Zimabwe on Facebook, email TRTZim@tagrugbytrust.co.uk, or visit www.tagrugbytrust.co.uk.