Grassroots Rugby: Supplying A Team
With the Rugby World Cup hosted in Japan this year, it’s a great time to shed some light on the fantastic sport of rugby. For rugby teams to exist, they must have a certain level of kit that enables them to train and play – but often at a grassroots level this equipment can be hard to source. The supply of a low-level sports team is not something many people ever consider – but a lot goes in to getting people playing…
Most rugby clubs, at grassroots level, fund themselves through local sponsorships, player dues and fundraiser events. This makes for a fantastic team spirit, but can pose difficulty when it comes to purchasing and maintaining the best equipment.
The history of rugby began when William Webb Ellis ran with a ball at Rugby School in 1823. Back then, the uniform of the game was the uniform worn in the school – loose-fitting cotton flannel shirts and caps. These were too easy to grab, so rugby equipment has since transformed and utilised modern materials to become tight-fitting cotton and polyester rugby shirts. Modern teams are now outfitted in these kits, and they are the first thing a rugby team needs to be able to identify itself as a team.
At a minimum, players will need adequate shoes, shorts and a shirt. Scrum caps are optional, but generally all of this equipment can either be kept on site or taken home by players (though this can run the risk of lost or forgotten kit).
When securing equipment, a rugby team must start small and build up. At a minimum level, a team must purchase and install goal posts and sideline barriers of some kind to enable the game to be played.
Following this comes the purchases that many clubs can struggle with, as not only are they pricey but they are also difficult to store. These include:
- Tackling dummies/bags, which can be around £80-150 and are between 8-20kg each.
- Game balls and practice balls – these are typically supplied as rugby club packs in packs of 10-12 balls. They are then stored in large ball bags.
- Scrum machine – a significant but necessary purchase for a grassroots club as they can cost over £1000. They are often very large and weigh over 150kg.
- Blocking and rucking pads – again these are relatively large pieces of equipment costing around £50 each that enable a team to practice more effectively.
- Cones, whistles, flags and tees – these smaller items are far easier to store, but are necessary parts of the game and often the first thing a club will acquire.
Once a club finds a pitch to practice and perhaps even play against other teams on, maintenance must occur regularly. Regular mowing to keep the pitch at a height of 50mm-70mm during colder months is essential, while during summer grass can grow to 50-75mm. This regular maintenance requirement means most clubs need a lawnmower on site.
In addition, the pitch should be chain harrowed after a weekend game to give the grass time to recover. During dry spells, the grass must be irrigated. Fertilisers should only be applied when there is moisture present on the pitch.
To house all of this equipment, a grassroots team faces the difficult task of securing storage space. If they have the benefit of using a local sports club, the clothing and kit can be stored in lockers – but what about everything else?
The sporting equipment alone must be kept relatively dry and secure. As we outlined above, the kit is expensive (even without a scrum machine most clubs spend hundreds of pounds on equipment) and it must be kept in good condition to allow players to practice. Here, clubs face a choice – either build a permanent structure at a high cost or rent or buy a converted storage container, which provides a useful weatherproof storage solution that is extremely secure.
Converted containers also provide utility. If a club intends to host games it must provide a certain level of facility for fans. This means toilets and potentially canteens. At Mr Box, we specialise in converting containers to suit your requirements – so whether you need a club house, changing room or toilet facility we can quickly design and deliver your conversion to your club grounds.
Grassroots rugby is a thing to be applauded – there are people up and down the country who are playing for the love of the game. Their investment in training, kit and their pitch should be protected which is why we advise acquiring your own shipping container as a rental or permanent solution.