Rugby has always been a popular sport across the UK and in other corners of the world, but it could be argued that participation levels are not quite where they ought to be.
While millions may tune in or attend games and watch professional rugby competitions such as the Rugby World Cup, Six Nations, Heineken Champions Cup, and many of the domestic leagues, far fewer are actually playing the sport themselves. Despite the fact that there are different codes possible to play (Rugby League and Rugby Union), as well as different formats to play, there does not appear to be the interest that other sports widely enjoy.
It could be due to the physical nature of the sport. Those with bones made of glass will not want to get to physical, especially as it is unlike the NFL, where American football players are wearing helmets and pads, while those playing rugby may only have a scrum cap if they choose to wear one (as well as a mouthguard).
What can be done to improve participation levels in semi-pro rugby?
Of course, with the physical aspect in mind, it is hardly a surprise that so many are just happy to watch on TV or have it on in the background while they do something else, such as playing games on their mobile or using the GamrFirst Bonus Code to play at an online casino from the comfort of their own home.
However, what can be done to make the game more appealing to those who casually watch and get them involved in playing? Or, how can the sport get more people involved and make it the sport they want to play more than football? These conundrums will have already plagued those at the top of the sport, but it could be argued that more can still be done to make the game more attractive.
Accessibility is perhaps the biggest issue that faces the sport and the pathway to semi-pro rugby. Although there are numerous clubs available, they may not always be in convenient locations, or they may also be expensive for some, especially in the current economic climate.
The available facilities will typically be one of the biggest areas in which involvement and participation can be increased. Although there are many rugby clubs around the UK already, many of them do not have the greatest of facilities on offer. The pitches look tired, as are the goalposts used while changing rooms can often be left in a derelict state. Clubs may not also have the funds to continually provide equipment that is vital or provide it in a condition whereby they can be used properly.
Elsewhere, as noted, the physicality of the sport perhaps carries a weight of concern for many. While all sports carry the risk of injury, rugby could be argued to offer the biggest risks. Some may not want to get involved if they have work the following day, while people may be scared to get involved (even if it is just tag rugby and contact is minimal – if not banned).