Martin Corry gets the over-50s to give rugby another try
Warner Leisure Hotels and Rugby World Cup winner launch ‘Warner’s Walking Rugby’ following a demand from the over-50s to make team sports more accessible to their generation
To celebrate September’s Rugby World Cup, Warner’s Walking Rugby officially launched on Thursday 20th August and rolled out to Warner’s activity programme in September
47% of over-50s fear they’re too old and not physically able to play traditional team sports
Almost half of over-50s are calling for traditional team sports to be slowed down so they can take part
A third of respondents in this age group would like to see more adaptable versions of rugby introduced which are aimed at the over-50s
London, Friday August 21, 2015 – Warner Leisure Hotels teamed up with rugby legend, Martin Corry, rugby coaches (GAP Rugby) and a focus group of over-50s to launch ‘Warner’s Walking Rugby’ on the 20th August 2015 at Littlecote House in West Berkshire.
According to new research from Warner Leisure Hotels – the hotel group for the over 55s, nearly one in two (46%) over-50s would like to see team sports such as rugby, slowed down to make it more accessible. As well as reducing the pace, over-50s have called for shorter matches (56%), mixed sex teams (29%) and no jumping or high kicking (28%).
In response to this demand, since the start of 2015, Warner Leisure Hotels has been trialling a new concept of the traditional game which allows participants to enjoy rugby in a manner that is physically acceptable for them. Warner’s Walking Rugby was launched at Littlecote House on 20th August 2015, following which it will be rolled out onto the activity programmes nationwide from September 2015.
The game will be made accessible to people of all abilities and age by adapting existing rules of rugby to include a list of new guidelines. The rules which have been created with the help of Martin Corry, the focus group and GAP Rugby include no running, no passing higher than shoulder height, no scrums, no goal posts, four quarters, shorter game duration, frequent substitutions and players will be unable to hold the ball for more than three seconds without passing. In Warner’s Walking Rugby, a try is scored by walking over the try line.
For a sport which is traditionally seen as male-dominated, Warner’s Walking Rugby provides greater accessibility for women. Despite only 1% of women having played rugby, the trial focus groups consisted of an even split between men and women proving that Warner’s Walking Rugby provides greater accessibility for them.
Other findings from the survey show that while the majority of over-50s (81%) follow major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup, a staggering 82% haven’t actually taken part in any team sports in the last 10 years, even though they would like to. This clearly suggests the need to reformat the game for this age group to participate. Although the feedback is that they think it is fun and enjoyable (51%), a great way to socialise (42%) and an opportunity to keep fit (41%), many feel that the current game of rugby is no longer suitable for them as a quarter believe they are not able enough to play.
Martin Corry MBE, Warner’s Walking Rugby Ambassador, former England Captain and World Cup winner says: “Warner’s Walking Rugby has been a fantastic initiative to be a part of. Although I’ve seen various types of rugby in the form of touch and veteran, the carefully adapted rules in Walking Rugby mean that even those who would never have thought to play the game, are now able to enjoy its offering. By changing simple rules such as no running, high kicks and holding the ball for a maximum of three seconds, you can see people of all abilities and ages taking part in the usually high-contact game. The trials have proved how enjoyable it is with people from ages 50-80 not wanting to leave the pitch!
As people get older, it seems that team sports like rugby are not as available as they used to be – it’s a huge shame as Warner’s Walking Rugby trials have shown us how popular team sports are and it’s incredible to see this sort of activity rolled out at a much-loved hotel group.”
Mat Finch, Marketing Director at Warner Leisure Hotels, comments: “With the Rugby World Cup creeping up on us, there is lot of anticipation and excitement around rugby, and as our research shows, there is strong demand to take part in sports like this amongst our guests.
The trial processes have proved to be hugely successful with people from their early 50s to their 80s already enjoying the team-spirit Warner’s Walking Rugby has to offer. The overall feedback we have gathered is that our guests cannot wait for the game to be rolled out and get involved.”
Warner Leisure guest, Jane Fowler (age 61), comments: “It wasn’t something that I thought I’d enjoy but once I got stuck into it, it was absolutely brilliant. I think it’s so important to be part of a team and it’s not something I would ever have thought of doing before trying it out with Warner Leisure. It really was great fun and so lovely to see people of all abilities and ages being able to take part.”
KEY WARNER’S WALKING RUGBY RULES
· Players must not run or jog while the game is in action
· The ball must not be passed higher than shoulder height
· The game will be split into four quarters of short duration
· Players cannot hold onto the ball for more than three seconds before passing
· Players cannot walk for more than ten metres before passing the ball
· A try is scored by walking over the try line