More than 100 junior rugby teams attended the Richmond Athletic Ground to refine and learn new skills at the Scottish Rugby Mini Festival 2019.

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

London Scottish Juniors and Minis Training Session and meet the London Scottish First IV at Richmond Athletic Ground, Richmond, United Kingdom on 2 September 2018. Photo by David Horn.

On October 13th, between 9:00am and 12:30pm – the ‘development festival’, saw at least 5,500 children play a total of 339 matches across 38 pitches where all of the referee's acted more like coaches.

It was an international event that helped young players enhance their skills because majority of them would have hardly played rugby matches during the summer as the season ended and had only restarted on September 3rd.

Iain Whyte, a Scottish Mini Festival Organiser explained: “The festival isn’t about winning or losing – no scores are kept, ultimately there are no winners.

“Instead the festival brings together different teams so that there will be different coaching styles which allows for both the kids and coaches to be able learn from one another.

“Every child gets a medal and will be celebrated for their performance and if one team is stronger than the other, we ask that team to substitute their best player for a less skilled player so that the matches are levelled.”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Photo by David Horn.

Launched in 2011, the Scottish Mini Festival started with just four clubs with an objective that would help young children to enjoy rugby by teaching them to understand discipline as well as having the ability to work in a team and to push themselves to work hard in a sport that is very physical.

It is now five times bigger and even has 17 European rugby clubs that attend the event with four of them coming from Holland.

Middlesex RFU – a local rugby governing body, also placed the festival as a permanent fixture in its sporting calendar which has resulted in a fixture exchange being held each summer which gives teams in Richmond an opportunity to discuss the rugby agenda.

Mr Whyte continued: “Quality and rigorous training are very important.

“Our quality of coaching means that each coach has undergone rigorous training and knows how to do the rucking and tackling technique’s so that players can protect themselves.

“We are lucky not to just be a junior festival.

“We have teenage years and senior professionals and all 31 of the guys and professional coaches will run a skills clinic for anyone who would like to get involved”

Richmond and Twickenham Times:

Photo by David Horn.