2024 Junior Rugby Grade Structure Confirmation
Two years ago, Wellington Rugby Football Union (WRFU) implemented a number of grade changes and moved to school year groups. This was done to allow players to play with their school friends. At the same time weight limits were removed from the younger age grades. This has had an overall positive impact on our game and these grades.
Our Combined Year 7/8 grade have had challenges. 2023 saw the non-weight restricted grade have a positive year with several teams catering for all children who had a positive experience. Our restricted grades continued to have challenges which provoked a grade review.
Any changes made are designed to enhance inclusion, promote FABS and will use terminology that represents growth and journey.
A Review Group, which had representation from our clubs across the region, including coaches, convenors and parents, was formed to look at the challenges facing our Tamariki and work towards finding solutions to ensure all have a positive time. The Review Group recognised the tension between allowing players to play with their peers, the weight range of players, parent’s concerns around safety, and the need to avoid uneven matches.
After reviewing the data available, the Review Group formulated proposals that were presented to all 20 club convenors. After further robust discussions, the Junior Rugby Advisory Board and Rugby Board have ratified the following recommendations for the 2024 junior season.
- Clubs should form (separate) Year 7 and/or Year 8 teams.
- Should a club not have the numbers to assemble separate Year 7 and/or Year 8 teams, they can form a combined Year 7/8 team.
- There will be provision for ‘smaller’ Year 8 players to join a Year 7 team – Dispensation down, a weight limit of 50kg recommended. NB Y8 boys U55kg can play in college teams.
- The Y7-8 grades will be divided into pools based on ability to ensure fun, ‘competitive’ games and to reduce the risk of score blow outs and disparity in teams.
- Teams will be graded on a variety of factors, including how they perform on Carnival Day, recommendations by their Coaches/Clubs, and what sort of team they are (i.e., Year 7, Year 7/8, or Year 8).
- Subsequently it was noted that the Y6 grade would be the only grade with weight limits, therefore following discussion convenors unanimously agreed to remove the limit from Y6.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Aimee Digges La Touche