Hampstead rugby club are adapting to the current circumstances

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC)

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC) - Credit: Archant

A big part of rugby is being able to play contact matches, however, understandably due to the Covid-19 pandemic, contact matches are unlikely to take place this season.

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC)

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC) - Credit: Archant

Rugby clubs have therefore had to adapt what they can do and have proved to be a real lifeline for many of their members and local community.

Hampstead Rugby Club started back up in early summer on Parliament Hill, offering outdoor gym sessions for female and male adults from the club, led by men’s head coach Peter Breen.

At the time, gyms were closed and so ‘Muscle Heath’ gave members an opportunity to exercise outdoors safely with friends, providing both physical and mental health benefits.

Hampstead’s minis, juniors, male and female seniors are now all back to full rugby training but with a difference.

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC)

Touch rugby sessions with the seniors on Hampstead Heath Extension (Pic: Hampstead RFC) - Credit: Archant


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Training has been adapted to comply with RFU and government guidelines.

For example balls are washed every 15 minutes, hand sanitizer is used regularly, Covid self-assessment forms are completed, one-on-one tackling is for 15 minutes only and the new version of touch rugby called Ready4Rugby is limited to 10-a-side.

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At minis and juniors training alone, the club have had over 200 children and young people coming down on Saturday mornings.

Parents have been really pleased that training is back, as many schools have stopped running after-school clubs.

One of the men’s section said he would have been “lost without the club this season” and another said: “you guys are keeping me sane this year.”

Debbie Crossan, Hampstead’s chairman, who took over during the pandemic, said: “I’m so proud of all of our coaches, team managers, volunteers and club members who have stuck together during these difficult times.

“Numbers at training and touch rugby sessions have been fantastic, really demonstrating how valued sport and social interaction is. As someone who still plays rugby, I too have appreciated being able to get out of my flat and exercise with a purpose.”

For more information about Hampstead RFC visit www.hampsteadrugbyclub.co.uk.

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