Society has seen many changes in many areas including technology, communications, employment and leisure since the 1970s.
In the last 42 years – since Scottish Rugby first launched official leagues – there’s been some tinkering of the structure but, by and large, it’s still the same.
Leagues start in the autumn and are played (home and away) until the spring, almost entirely on a Saturday afternoon.
Is this a major reason for players dropping out as they move from school and youth to adult rugby? Is it a contributory factor to a rise in unfulfilled fixtures (around 30% in reserve team rugby)?
Our survey investigates:
What determines if someone plays rugby
How to increase participation and reduce drop-out
Working with Edinburgh Napier University we conducted questionnaires with around 10% of the adult male players (from all ages, levels and regions of the game).
A typical player will
Be in his mid-20s
Be slightly larger than the average man
Come from a state school
Have started playing before they were 15
Have attended college or university
Be playing in reserve or regional leagues
Play mainly for enjoyment, social, fitness and competitive reasons
Expect to play until age of 35 but may recently have thought about stopping due to lack of time or injuries
Be loyal to his club
Be looking for the game to be played at more convenient times and in better weather
Retain players transitioning into adult rugby – a priority for quick and long-lasting benefit to the game
Target school leavers moving into higher education
Create a structure that makes it more convenient to play; easier to fulfil fixtures; and avoids the worst weather