Devon RFU guidance for 17-year-old girls playing up to women's rugby

1. Hold a brief discussion with the U18 player, coaches and parent when the player shows interest in training/playing up to adult rugby.

2. Assign a mentor to the player who is someone they trust to advocate for them, and who is readily available to them to talk with when the player needs to.

3. Partially complete Playing Adult Rugby Form.

4. Hold a full discussion to manage expectations with U18 player, mentor, women’s section management team and parent. (Management team usually comprises of section coaches, section manager, captain and vice-captain, but may contain other committee members if required).

5. Each case should be discussed on merit, taking in to consideration the player’s age and their emotional and physical ability. (the player must be assessed as capable of playing with adults. This should be conducted by a Level 2 coach (minimum) who will consider if playing up is player-centred and appropriate for their physical, psychological and emotional development).

6. Complete Playing Adult Rugby Form with joint sign off by junior and senior coaches.

7. Each case will be reviewed in January and March of the same season.

8. The safety of the junior player is of paramount importance.

9. Secondary consideration must be given to the senior players who will be responsible for the junior player on the pitch.

10. The captain and vice-captain hold a veto on any junior player playing and training for the senior section.

11. Separate changing facilities must be available.

12. An individual holding a valid DBS certificate must be available when senior and junior players are playing or training together.

13. Discussions will be kept open at all times for the junior player to discuss their progression and to explain their feelings. No player may be asked to play or train if they do not feel ready. The approach to play adult rugby must come from the junior player.

14. Copies of the Playing Adult Rugby Form must be kept by the Junior Section and Women’s Section, in line with the new General Data Protection Regulations which come in to force on May 25, 2018. A copy must also be sent to Elaine Palmer at Devon RFU.

15 The player does not train or play in the front-row of the contested scrum. Once a player has reached the age of 18, the player may play in any position.