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Is English rugby union just for posh kids?

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Steve@Mose View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve@Mose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is English rugby union just for posh kids?
    Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 13:09
BBC getting into the World Cup spirit.


Rugby World Cup: Is English rugby union just for posh kids?

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Ste Vo View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ste Vo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 13:18
Quite a good read. 

"Two thirds of state schools fail to provide any competitive sport at all" is the most surprising thing i've read today. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Steve@Mose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 13:38
I believe it would be better if there was a comparison with the Welsh and Scottish education systems - how do English comprehensives compare to their equivalents?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Capt Sparrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 14:53
Cornwall has produced many decent rugby players without posh schools. Stack Stevens, Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman, Hugh Vyvyan, Ollie Barclay, Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie. I'm sure Stalwart or RoD can fill in those I've missed. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedOrDead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 15:59
I don't think that the disparity between state and public schools is as great in Cornwall (particularly around Cornish clubs and the county team), but I wouldn't be surprised if public school educated players make up more than the 7% you would expect (although this is always going to be skewed by scholarshipsbeing offered to players with potential). The imbalance seems even more stark among players who have gone on to top level or international honours.

Of those names you list, I'd say that Hugh Vyvyan's alma mater Downside School would qualify as "posh" to me, as would Barkley's alma mater Colston's School. 

Another couple of the biggest names in rugby to come out of Cornwall, Richard Sharpe and John Kendall-Carpenter were both privately educated.

A few more (far from exhaustive) names who were state educated (AFAIK) and went of to gain international honours: Rob Thirlby (didn't win a cap, but wore the red rose in a non-capped match and for the sevens team), Josh and Sam Matavesi, Roger Hosen and Bert Solomon. It's worth pointing out that Bert Solomon refused further England caps because he found himself out of place among his public school educated team mates.

The interesting question that the article doesn't really try to answer is what's responsible for the apparent increase in the disproportionate number of public school boys playing at the top level. Now that the academy system in well established, I would have thought that the trend should be reversing since the academy system makes it easier for players to get noticed without playing for the right school.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Top of the Hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 17:19
Sorry RoD: Rob Thirlby spent 2 years at fee-paying Truro School... and left because the rugby wasn't good enough!

Everything's a bit back to front down here anyway of course (as a side note the other winning school not in the private sector was Truro College) but at primary school level the best rugby education comes from the likes of Trewirgie School and from the local clubs, and later on it's all about the Chiefs' Cornish Unit for Nasty Talent Smuggling , errr..Truro College, for those not willing to look further afield unlike the many young Reds who end up at Leicester Academy instead.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedOrDead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 18:55
Thanks T o t H, I didn't know that. Does that man that Truro College were leading the way rugby wise back in Rob's day?

I'm not sure what you mean by things being back to front, I would imagine things down here are structured similarly to the rest of the UK, possibly with less emphasis on fee paying school as (I imagine) there are less here than in many other areas and no prestigious schools.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fat Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 20:14
There are 159 state schools in Bedfordshire, last year Ampthill's mini & youth comprised kids from 83 of them!

As usual the BBC in can't be bothered to do any research bs...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote OldExile Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 21:04
Why are you surprised FA? Never let facts get in the way of a headline.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedOrDead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Sep 2015 at 21:24
Originally posted by Fat Albert Fat Albert wrote:

There are 159 state schools in Bedfordshire, last year Ampthill's mini & youth comprised kids from 83 of them!

As usual the BBC in can't be bothered to do any research bs...

To be fair to the author, surely the question that the author is asking (it would be a much better article if he attempted to answer it instead, but I've never rated Ben Dirs as being one of the sharpest tools in the box) is either why there aren't more stories like the one you describe and why so few of these kids go on to make it at the top level.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Loo fighters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 07:38
Part of the problem is kids never finding the sport. If it isn't played in school there is very little chance that he/she or the parents will know about the local clubs, or even want to take them along because of the preconceived idea that it is a game played by posh kids. This may not be true for kids living in areas entrenched in rugby traditions but is definitely be the case for "football" strongholds. According to my wife's Welsh uncle, rugby is played in every school in Wales...it's the national game. How true that is I don't know but percentage per capita it's dwarfs the English schools.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BigJ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 10:17
Lazy article really as it only looks at the elite end of the game and doesn't give local clubs credit for developing new players to the game. Don't forget some of the fee paying schools offered bursaries to talented players who were in state schools or had links to the RFU Academies who slotted them in. How many of those players started off in state schools before their rugby careers took off?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 10:19
My take on this is a lot of Private Schools offer Rugby scholarships to the most talented players, posh or not. Therefore an awful lot of the top players will come from these private schools whether you were born well off or not so it is a bit of a loaded question. Danny Cipriani is a good example of this as he ended up at Whitgift due to his talent but wouldnt be deemed posh would he given his background?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamrose Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 10:20
Originally posted by BigJ BigJ wrote:

Lazy article really as it only looks at the elite end of the game and doesn't give local clubs credit for developing new players to the game. Don't forget some of the fee paying schools offered bursaries to talented players who were in state schools or had links to the RFU Academies who slotted them in. How many of those players started off in state schools before their rugby careers took off?
Great minds think alike ehh?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FHLH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 11:29
From a state school perspective, it's a mix of economics and risk managemnt. Four cones and a football against posts and a perception of higher serious injury risk. Any teachers/governors pn here who can tell us what now sits on the National Curriculum for sport?
We need to develop awareness of local clubs, which many e.g. Ampthill have since the 70s when I started coaching mini at Cambridge, and also develop and encourage tag rugby at schools.
P.S. Whatever happened to Rugby Special - not everyone has access to Sky/BT?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CharlieP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 11:42
Originally posted by FHLH FHLH wrote:

P.S. Whatever happened to Rugby Special - not everyone has access to Sky/BT?


As far as I can remember/tell, Rugby Special was a highlights programme which covered internationals, Barbarians matches, Courage League (from 1986) and miscellaneous others - since the BBC had the rights to just about everything, it wasn't hard for them to put such a programme together.

From an English perspective, free highlights programmes nowadays are:

England internationals: BBC (when shown live by Sky, and from next year, ITV)
Aviva Premiership: ITV and ITV4
European Champions Cup/Challenge Cup: ITV and ITV4
LV= Cup: not being played this year

For other Home Nations, I'm not sure what the provision is - I know Scrum V has highlights in Wales.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richard Lowther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 13:02
Originally posted by Shamrose Shamrose wrote:

My take on this is a lot of Private Schools offer Rugby scholarships to the most talented players, posh or not. Therefore an awful lot of the top players will come from these private schools whether you were born well off or not so it is a bit of a loaded question. Danny Cipriani is a good example of this as he ended up at Whitgift due to his talent but wouldnt be deemed posh would he given his background?

Exactly. It went on before the game turned professional and it has grown ever since. 

Back around 1983 I went to a High School induction day - prior to joining the school proper in September. A fellow pupil from another school in Wakefield attended the induction day and would have been in my class come September. However he never did come - a local grammar school picked him on the basis he was a good rugby player - he later played for Bath and England age levels until an injury put the end to his career. 

Do I need to add that the Daily Express described my high school as being one of the three worst schools in England (if not the UK) in the year I joined. An accusation that could never be laid at the door of the Grammar School. 

Anyone reading just the BBC headline or looking at the statistics would perceive that the game is just for 'toffs' - an accusation that Rugby League supporters constantly use.  When you point out that some of the Rugby League players they idolise came from Grammar or Private schools then they generally don't want to hear as it doesn't fit in with their pre-established prejudices. 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RedOrDead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 13:54
Originally posted by BigJ BigJ wrote:

Lazy article really as it only looks at the elite end of the game and doesn't give local clubs credit for developing new players to the game. Don't forget some of the fee paying schools offered bursaries to talented players who were in state schools or had links to the RFU Academies who slotted them in. How many of those players started off in state schools before their rugby careers took off?

To be fair, the article is long enough without digging further into the grass roots game! A fuller examination would have turned what is already a fairly dry, boring essay into a thesis. It does acknowledge the point that you are making though.

Originally posted by BigJ BigJ wrote:

A 2014 Ofsted report revealed that 61% of players in the English Premiership were educated at independent schools. Even allowing for the fact that 45% of those players were beneficiaries of scholarships (albeit often from other fee-paying schools) it is an arresting figure given that only 7% of English children are educated in the independent sector.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote backrowb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Sep 2015 at 14:53
The AASE scheme went a VERY long way to open top level rugby up to state schools. Sadly the funding for that disappeared.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatboy4 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Sep 2015 at 22:07
Originally posted by backrowb backrowb wrote:

The AASE scheme went a VERY long way to open top level rugby up to state schools. Sadly the funding for that disappeared.


Sorry for my ignorance what was the AASE scheme and is it likely to be re-funded?
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