Rugby League is known for its power, pace and athleticism, not necessarily attributes of the average middle-aged sports lover.
However, over the past 29 years, Masters Rugby League, originally the vision of Phil Campbell in New Zealand and picked up Australia and the UK, has developed a life of its own and continues to grow participation amongst players aged 35 years and over.
Masters is designed for players who have reached their 35th birthday and the amount of contact involved for players is defined by the colour of their shorts which is linked to their age. The older the player the less the contact. However, the whole ethos is around players enjoying the game safely, regardless of age.
There are growing signs from around the International Rugby League that more members are taking an interest and taking up Masters in their own right. From the strength in England, Ireland and Wales are now all active. Similarly, in the southern hemisphere, players from the Pacific Islands are regular and much sought-after participants in Australian and New Zealand festivals.
France has joined the party with the Galia Tots Masters from Iles Sur Tet, the birthplace of Rugby League in France, a fine and welcome addition to the European community.
Canada are preparing to participate in the International Festival at Leigh in November along with Ireland and Wales and hosts England indicating the significant progress being made globally.
To share the vision and make the transition very simple, the Rugby Football League has produced a short introductory video that clearly outlines the various aspects of the game that defines the rules and, most importantly, the “Spirit of Masters”.
Paul Field, who has been involved as a player, match official and administrator with the RFL Masters programme since it arrived in England in 2008 would welcome interest from anyone in any country who would like to set up a Masters’ programme.
“Masters Rugby League has enhanced many people’s lives and keeping them connected with Rugby League or by bringing them back to the sport whilst providing a welcoming social environment for players to be part of.
It is a great way for players new and old to get involved as it gives all the essential elements that players love about rugby league, running, passing, creating tries whilst permitting exactly the correct amount of contact that players want.
Most importantly of all it is based upon one key element, and that is summed up in the “Masters Spirit” – everyone has fun safely on the pitch and can then socialise together after the game.”
I would encourage anyone interested in starting masters to watch the video and get in touch for guidance and support. It really is simple to set up”
To discuss further please contact Paul Field firstname.lastname@example.org