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Thursday May 9, 2024

The player recruitment website set to change the grassroots game

Every rugby player dreams of the grandeur of playing rugby at the highest level or in the most exotic places. It’s natural to want to play in front of thousands of adoring fans or the most picturesque landscapes. Well, there may be a possibility that these dreams could become a reality sooner rather than later for some.

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Former Newcastle Falcons director of rugby Dean Richards, alongside his son Will, has created a ‘dating’ style recruitment website to improve the possibilities of transfers worldwide. The idea, like the dating app Tinder, is that players and clubs can be matched up in perfect harmony.

Should players wish to change clubs on the basis that they wish to explore a different part of the world, or whether they feel they would be more suited at a higher level, this app is designed to make the process easier. Aimed at all levels, players will be able to apply for affiliated clubs through the website/app as they make their rugby-playing dreams come true.

To use the platform, players simply create a profile which includes details about them for the prospective clubs to view, and can even include a highlights reel to boost their chances of playing at a higher level.

The website is already live and available to sign up for, whilst the app version – which is reportedly due to look rather similar to the aforementioned Tinder – is due for release shortly.

With four different packages to sign up for; Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze, the platform allows for flexibility depending on the users intentions.

The premium package for a player comes in at £250 per year and includes:

  • Live Profile
  • Affiliate Codes
  • Unlimited Connections
  • Private Messaging

The lowest paid subscription, which totals £80 per year, includes:

  • Live Profile
  • Affiliate Codes
  • 5 Monthly Connections
  • Private Messaging

There’s even a free option for those simply wanting to have a nose around.

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The platform, at the time of writing, has seven clubs already signed up to the wesbite. The clubs have the ability to detail their own accomplishments, as well as request the particular positions that they are looking for.

The highest level currently available comes through Sevenoaks Rugby Club who currently play in National 2 East, which is located on level four of the Rugby Union pyramid.

It’s not just designed for players, however. There are also options for agents, physiotherapist and analysts to view their next step, opening up the possibility of elite level members.

Speaking about the importance of progressing through the grassroots game, Richards said:

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“People tend to forget that a lot of the players who play at international level, will have come through academies, and very few of them will have gone to junior clubs to cut their teeth, before going on to play at a higher level. 

“Chris Harris for instance – he was at Northumbria University, then went to Tynedale tied in with Newcastle Falcons. He played for Tynedale and Newcastle, then played for Scotland and then went on to play for Gloucester and the British & Irish Lions. 

“If it hadn’t been for Tynedale, he probably wouldn’t be the person he is today.”

Joining his father in the business venture, Will Richards added:

“He showed that being released by a professional club doesn’t mean it has to be the end.” 

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND – JULY 27: A Rugby ball is seen during the UC Championship First XV High School Rugby match between St Andrew’s and Christchurch Boys’ High School at St Andrew’s College on July 27, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Speaking to the Telegraph Sport recently, Dean Richards explained where the idea came from, and why he feels it will work.

“Players with any sort of standing within the game will have an agent, who will be able to push them around the world with their contacts.

“But there are so many out there who cannot touch base with people throughout the world, or even in Europe – even in another county. They don’t have the contacts or an agent or anything like that. It’s aimed at people just below elite level, those who would like to reach out to other parts of the world and experience cultures.

“William came through university and saw loads of kids who were either late developers or who wanted to travel the world using sport – and were never really given the opportunity because they didn’t have the contacts. He thought it would be a good opportunity to develop an app and a website which gave these people the chance to promote themselves – whether that be locally or further afield. When he explained it to me, I thought it was a f—ing good idea!

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