Aireborough RUFC, with the support from the RFU, is to launch a brand-new initiative designed to
introduce more adult males to rugby union.
Back to Basics – a free of charge introduction to rugby initiative aims to provide males aged 18+ the
chance to learn the basics of rugby union through tailored exercise programs, skills-based games and
four-weekly social classroom sessions.
The free-of-charge sessions, which commence on 3rd February will take place weekly between 7 and 8
pm at the home of Yeadon-based amateur rugby club, Aireborough Rufc, and will be led by qualified
coach Kristopher Brook and RFU Community Coach Oliver Eaves.
The initiative, which is the brainchild of Aireborough Rufc Community Development Officer, Gemma
Birbeck, has been launched in a bid to tackle declining participation in senior rugby across Yorkshire and
offers a ‘no pressure’ opportunity for males to fall in love, or back in love with the sport.
In addition to this, it will also open up a pathway to club rugby for those who feel ready to progress to
play full-contact rugby as part of a team.
Recognising the barriers that may be preventing adult-aged males from first making contact with existing
amateur teams, Gemma approached Oliver and Kris in late 2019 with the idea of developing a program
that would teach basic rugby skills to those who have an interest in playing the game, but are holding
back for one or more reasons.
Gemma said: “Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed a rapid decline in the number of adults joining
the game and after speaking with other clubs, I began to realise that it was a county-wide issue.
“I began looking into why this might be, and with me being a junior coach, it occurred to me that adults
often have the same nervous feeling about joining an existing team as children do. Plus, suddenly
playing a contact sport as an adult that you’ve not played since school, or have never played before, is
“I started to think what if we could develop a programme that would introduce adults to the sport and
teach them the skills they would need if they decided to play, but in a relaxed atmosphere? I met with
Ollie and Kristopher to throw around some ideas, iron out any safety issues and come up with something
that would both increase exercise participation, and also educate people about the sport we love. That’s
when Back to Basics was born.”
The trio have already begun promoting the initiative and are hoping that other clubs will come forward to
support their campaign, with a view to creating a pathway to their club should any attendees want to
progress into senior rugby.
Oliver Eaves, RFU Community Coach said: “This is such a fantastic opportunity for people to get
involved in rugby, whether they’ve played before or not.
“It’s been great to be a part of the development of the initiative, and witness the effort that Gemma, Kris
and the rest of the team at Aireborough Rufc are putting back into the local community, encouraging
more people to get out and be active”.
To find out more about Back to Basics or to book your space, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.