Worcester Mixed Ability Rugby Team welcomes players whatever their ability. Whether you are returning to rugby after a break, have a disability, or have to take extra care due to injury, it’s a great way to play the sport. The team is part of Worcester Rugby Football Club and coach Tom Reeves tells us more.
Within the mixed ability game we have both contact and non-contact players taking part. Non-contact players wear a bib and there are specific rules regarding tackles and scrums. Rucks can be competitive or non-competitive and there are further technical differences, but essentially it means players of widely differing ability can enjoy a game together.
Due to disability, some of our players might not have had the opportunity to play sport of any kind until now. One of our team has brittle bone syndrome. Another is autistic and he trains together with his dad. For some parents it’s the moment they finally see their child included in a sports team.
I have a back injury and the mixed-ability game gave me the chance to start playing again. You can start as a non-contact player wearing a bib and slowly build your confidence until you might be ready to take the bib off. There is however no pressure at all to do this, people just play at the level that suits them.
Adrian Mills from our club got the idea for the team from the Bradford Bumble Bees which was the first mixed ability team in England. Today there are several clubs that we play from around the country. We have between 40 and 50 players on the books but we always welcome more.
Some of the players in the mixed-ability team are now feeding into our club’s other teams. We have great support from the club’s other players and generous sponsors. Other clubs visit us to learn about the mixed-ability game and we’ve even played a side made up of members of the Welsh Assembly. They loved it so much that their parting words were that they were going to set up a new team!
Nationally, mixed-ability rugby is really taking off and the message is that disability doesn’t stop you from taking part in team sports and physical activity.
The team trains at Worcester Rugby Club on Offerton Lane Tuesday and Thursday between 6 and 7pm. You can read more about them online: