An introduction to walking rugby

An introduction to walking rugby

An introduction to walking rugby

Walking rugby first came about as a result of the success of walking football. Rugby players wanted to give their own version a go, and it soon took off in its own way.

It is a competitive passing game played with a rugby ball that is suitable for all ages, abilities and genders, from ex-players, to injured players and those who have never picked up a rugby ball before in their life.

The object of the game is the same as the more traditional form of rugby, to score tries by touching the ball down on or over the opposition try line. The rules are simple: no running, no tackling and no kicking but, most importantly, the ball must go backwards. Then instead of a tackle, you use a two-handed touch to the waist or below.

A player’s point of view

Back in March I visited Reading Rugby Club to capture their surprise following the news that they had won the Aviva Grassroots Giveaway competition. Whilst I was there, I noticed a group of rugby players who were taking part in walking rugby and decided to stay at the club after their training session to speak to Michael Wickson, who organises the Walking Rugby at Reading to find out a little bit more about this unique take on the sport.

Miles: How did you get involved in Walking Rugby?

MW: It all started back in 2015. I’d heard about it and tried it but didn’t think it was sufficiently like rugby, so I linked up with the RFU who helped us with some guidance and funding and together we created a new set of rules which the RFU signed off and that’s how we got to where we are today.

Miles: How big is walking rugby at Reading RFC?

MW: We run 3 sessions in a week. We have a session during the day on Tuesdays which is traditionally for pensioners, with around 20 players playing each week. We run an evening session on a Wednesday which allows those who aren’t retired to take part, which has about 12-15 players each week and a session on a Sunday with similar numbers.

Miles: What are the benefits of playing walking rugby?

MW: Well first of all it’s great fun! Some people find they need a more physically demanding sport than the ones they had been doing and they come here and it’s surprisingly energetic — it might only be walking but it doesn’t feel like it. There’s just a friendly group of people, men and women, and there’s no pressure, it’s just good fun.

Miles: Does walking rugby carry the same positive attributes as rugby, such as teamwork, friendship and discipline?

MW: Absolutely, the social benefits are great. There’s a great camaraderie and everyone is full of support for one another and there are no boundaries as to who can and can’t play. Walking rugby is completely inclusive.

So the question is.. can you walk the walk? Find out more about Reading Rugby Club and walking rugby here.

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