'No Winners' Rule Sparking a Mini-Revolution
LONDON (Reuters) - As Stuart Lancaster makes his final Six Nations preparations, England's next generation of budding rugby internationals have been told that their competitions must have no winners and that if they are losing a match, the teams will have to be changed.
While England prepare at their usual base in Surrey, the county finds itself on the frontline of a philosophical battle about competitive matches in junior or "mini" rugby.
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) in conjunction with Surrey Rugby last week issued a new set of rules for tournaments for all age groups under-11 that left many parents and coaches initially thinking they were the victims of a spoof.
The key components are that tournaments will no longer have a winner, they will be round-robin only. Coaches must meet before each match to try to pick evenly matched teams and if any matches are proving too "one-sided" then coaches will be forced to "adjust" their teams at halftime to make them closer. Teams will no longer be streamed on ability but will play all matches with mixed ability groups.
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