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Canterbury Rugby places emphasis on development pathways

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU) has today announced plans to adopt a focus on development pathways throughout junior rugby, following a detailed consultation period with its sub-union stakeholders, South Island provincial unions and New Zealand Rugby.

The move is consistent with other provincial unions and will see the first provincial representative team selected at U16 level, with skill development and retaining more players in the game, a focus in younger age groups.

CRFU CEO Tony Smail said: "We have taken the time to consult our wider stakeholder base, both locally and nationally, and value the conversations we’ve had with other provincial unions.

"Ultimately, we all want what is best for player development in junior rugby, and these changes offer more opportunities to more players. Our focus now is making sure we deliver a quality experience for all those involved to continue to promote a love of the game," Mr Smail said.

To support the change in focus, Canterbury Rugby has been working closely with stakeholders to deliver a ‘best in practice’ development programme that:

Focuses on skill development

Is age and stage appropriate

Provides coach development opportunities

Provides equal opportunities across the region

The development programmes will incorporate the ‘6 Pillars of Player Development’ and attendees will be by nomination, rather than trials and selection. The programmes will also provide aspiring coaches further opportunities to develop and refine their skills.

New Zealand Rugby’s Head of Participation and Development, Steve Lancaster, welcomed the initiative from Canterbury Rugby.

"It’s really encouraging to see Canterbury show leadership in their community for the benefit of their kids.

"Kids play rugby to have fun with their mates, and it’s a myth that early specialisation in sport leads to adult success. Kids develop at different rates and we want to give them time for their abilities to develop and shine. There’s also no evidence that early identification into rep programmes assists player retention over time. We want kids to continue to enjoy playing and this decision by Canterbury will let them do that," Lancaster said.

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