Good morning members,
Considering a recent article published by the RFU about conduct at rugby matches by players, coaches and supporters, I thought it an appropriate time to remind all of us of how we should conduct ourselves whilst attending rugby matches. I must say that from my experience thus far, our conduct on and off the pitch has been excellent, but a reminder of the values occasionally is never a bad thing.
Always accept the decision of the referee. If you have a problem with decisions, speak to the captain or the coach to relay the message.
Play with integrity. Push the laws to their limits, but don’t deliberately break them and be honest throughout.
Violent conduct will not be tolerated and will be sanctioned from within the club before moving up to the Kent RFU or the RFU.
Racism, sexism, or homophobia will not be tolerated, there is not place for this at Beckenham, Rugby Union or in society.
Understand that player welfare is more important than anything else. The enjoyment and safety of our players trumps winning!
Be respectful to referees and coaches. Approach discussions about decisions with an empathy that refereeing is HARD and we all get things wrong.
Condition players to be respectful, disciplined and to show sportsmanship. Remove players that do not display these values, encourage those who show them.
Speak to parents that are ‘getting it wrong’. Be polite, use positive language and remind them of our positive values rather.
Supporters / parents:
Positive comments only. There is no point congratulating anything negative, cheering mistakes a player makes is not a great look.
Do not instruct the players. It is confusing and very unhelpful to receive sometimes contradictory instructions from a parent or respected peer from the side-lines. The coaches will coach, supporters support, please.
Don’t comment on the referee. Certainly, never shout at the referee. It is an incredibly difficult job. Sometimes the coach is refereeing and would much rather be watching their child, please show empathy and understanding. I am almost certain that no referee goes out to be deliberately unfair to one side or the other.
Model the behaviour that we expect from our players. Be loud, but be positive, friendly and uphold the values we want to develop in our club.
If you have any questions or comments about any of this, please come and have a chat with me in the clubhouse when you see me. I truly believe we get it right most of the time, but if we are all aligned, we can make that 100% of the time. I also truly believe that we can be winners whilst also playing within the written and unwritten laws of the game.
Club Director of Rugby