On a beautiful, sunny April morning, school teams from across the Herne Bay, Whitstable and surrounding areas descended upon Whitstable Rugby Club for the annual Tag Rugby Festival. The event, organised by officials from the Rugby Club, featured eight Year 5/6 teams from seven local schools.
“Tag Rugby is a minimal contact team game in which each player wears shorts with velcro patches with two tags attached to them. The mode of play is similar to Rugby League or Touch Rugby with attacking players attempting to dodge, evade and pass a rugby ball while defenders attempt to prevent them scoring by “tagging” – pulling a velcro attached tag from the ball carrier. Seven players in each team are allowed on the field at a time, whilst the field dimensions are 70m by 50m. The attacking team has six plays or tags to try to score a try or take the ball down field as close to the line as possible. Tries are worth one point and there are no conversions.”
Tag Rugby is a fantastic introduction for younger players and acts as a great precursor to the full game. The skills demonstrated by the teams participating in this festival could clearly be linked to the full version of the game, with player safety very much at the forefront of the game.
That having been said, this is a very fast and competitive sport and the teams playing were clearly trying their best to outwit, and outscore, their opponents. The mixed teams could all be seen discussing tactics before each game and their coaches, teachers and parents were all on hand to offer their support throughout the festival.
As a ‘friendly’ festival, there were no winners or losers announced at the end, but each school seemed keen to note their results as they were pitted against their local rivals.
It was great to see the sense of sportsmanship, fair play and enjoyment that these young sports stars demonstrated throughout the festival, although this really doesn’t surprise me. I have attended many similar events, covering a huge range of sports, and this is always something that is evident.
Many thanks to the officials of Whitstable RFC, the club’s volunteers who refereed the games and to all of the schools attending for making me feel so welcome.
Please take a look through our gallery of photos from the festival, some of which were kindly provided by the club’s Virgil Parker, and feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested.