Fife Clan Unified Rugby Team started up in August 2018 when we welcomed our first player! A year and a half later we have seven players with additional support needs training alongside male and female players from Howe of Fife RFC and volunteers from St Andrews University Women's Rugby Team.
What is Unified Rugby?
Unified rugby allows players who would not ordinarily have access to the game of rugby, and the values associated with it, to play the game in a supportive environment. Players with physical and unseen medical disabilities, as well as those who have previously been injured and can no longer play contact rugby, play alongside current players. We use a visual identification system which allows players who cannot take any form of physical contact/tackling to wear a red scrum cap, and those who are a little more experienced or less vulnerable to wear a yellow scrum cap. Those who support play are called enablers and they can tackle each other as in regular rugby union. We also have various other modified rules, agreed by the SRU, in order to allow flowing play. Player safety is of paramount importance within the sport, however, the enablers and coloured scrum cap system help break down some of the perceived barriers of the sport.
Where We Have Played So Far
To date, we have travelled to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fraserburgh and Forfar to take part in Unified Rugby Festivals and training games. One of our players also went to Cullera in Spain to join the Unified Rugby festival hosted by El Clan. In the New Year, we will be organising more regular games with some local over-35s teams.
Not Just Rugby
We have recently expanded the provision we offer, giving the opportunity for players to enjoy a meal after training and have the chance to develop their social skills.
We have also been invited to train with one of the Super 6 teams in the New Year, followed by some food and entry to their match, which our players are really looking forward to!
And a local sponsor has helped us to purchase tickets to attend a Scotland International match, allowing our players the opportunity to experience an event that they may not otherwise be able to .
Previously, we have played at half-time at Scotstoun stadium and we enjoyed a Glasgow Warriors match, with a pint afterwards!
We would like to recruit more volunteers to support players on and off the pitch, as well as attracting more female, and under-18 players with disabilities to come along and enjoy the game.
We would like to work with other Clubs and Disability Support organisations in Fife, to introduce training sessions in other areas and our current players have shown an interest in a short tour and have identified teams in England they would like to visit.
They would also like to start training with the goal of attending the International Mixed Ability Tournament in Cork in 2020 with the Scotland National Unified Rugby Team.
Our charity relies heavily on the wonderful support of our volunteers and enablers, who make sure our training and games continue to run for the benefit of those who wouldn't ordinarily have access to rugby.
To help get things off the ground, we have been actively fundraising locally. We have been bag packing in a local supermarket and are looking forward to fundraising with Santa and his sleigh closer to Christmas!
However, in order to enable all the ongoing extra support and activities we have planned, we need to raise more funds - which is where you come in!
How Can You Help?
Please take a look at our list of great rewards and pledge on your favourite one. Or simply make a donation if you wish.
The money raised through our crowdfunder will be spent on purchasing a set of team strips and more training tops, which will allow our players with disabilities to feel part of a team, as they may not necessarily have the funds to purchase training kit for themselves.
It will also contribute towards travel to matches and rugby themed trips and experiences, plus help to fund our post-training Fife Clan Scran social meals, allowing the players to enjoy a more formal social experience.
We would like to thank you in advance for any support you can pledge - together we can keep unified rugby alive in Fife and beyond!