Youth Touch rugby is a co-ed sport. Boys and girls play together on the same team. For safety reasons, Tackle Rugby is gender-specific. However, a unique aspect of rugby, just as with any senior rugby club, is that the entire group of boys and girls, coaches, and parents is treated as a single team rather than separate and unrelated groups according to age, etc.
It’s true enough that rugby’s fledgling status in the world of American youth sports has forced improvisation. For Touch Rugby, given sufficient numbers of boys and girls, we would separate them into distinct teams. We recognize that there is benefit in each of the genders playing as all girls or all boys. That day will come. Meanwhile, we have been pleasantly surprised that the kids work well together, with team leaders emerging from both boys and girls and receiving equal respect from their opposites. Naturally, the coaching staff must encourage this, but we have found this to be easy to accomplish.
The idea of tryouts and cuts are pretty much foreign to rugby. Everyone who wants to play, will play. No one is cut, and not because we need players. All players are valued as athletes, and all are encouraged to display their talents and creativity within the context of teamwork. Rugby’s philosophy is to build confidence and independence in all players through physical fitness and improved decision making.
Players can expect the same playing time as any other player. The nature of the game provides each player with many opportunities during the game to contribute to the team’s play. Coaches are encouraged and expected to find a balance between the desire to win games and providing a supportive sports environment for all players regardless of ability.