News Archive

Adult Competition Review – Update

February 10th, 2015 by

An Implementation Group was set up to develop detailed plans covering all 21 recommendations of the Adult Competition Review. The membership of this group has been drawn from across the game and also includes RFU staff to provide professional support. It reports back to the Community Game Board at each of its meetings, and to RFU Council.

The Implementation Group is working to a strict timescale and following the previous update in November, this note is intended to ensure that you know what progress is being made, what will be happening and when.

Arrangements for putting the new league and cup structures in place, together with the necessary transition arrangements, are well advanced. To confirm, the changes to the league structure will be implemented at the start of season 2016-17, with all clubs being advised of the final details of the changes before the start of season 2015-16.  This means that everyone will have a full season’s notice and know the implications of promotion/relegation in all leagues.

More than ever rugby faces competition from other sports and leisure activities. A challenging and viable competition structure across the country is one key part of ensuring the future health of clubs and club rugby and in growing the male 15-a-side game.

The principles of the new competition structure arising from the extensive research and consultation, which took account of the views of club administrators, coaches, referees and, most importantly players, are:

·         a varied diet of rugby;

·         less travel for players to improve their quality of experience and to aid retention;

·         reduced financial burden on clubs;

·         time set aside in the season for rest and recovery, and

·         a structure that works from the bottom up as well as from the top down.
The new structure is designed to benefit the whole game, providing opportunities not only for ambitious clubs, but also a variety in competition for all and the financial means to support it.

League Rugby – from 2016/17
League structures for Levels 3, 4 and 5 will be as previously announced. Work on structures for Level 6 and below is underway by the four DOCs to reflect regional and local needs.

In the current structure, clubs at Level 5 and below in 14 club leagues have 13 guaranteed home matches.  In the new structure there will be a guaranteed minimum of 12 home matches with the potential for more, depending on progress in the cup competitions.

Cup Competitions – from 2016/17
Cup competitions will comprise cup, bowl and shield structures, as set out in the review. They will be based on pools that will provide certainty of fixtures for clubs up to the knockout stage, so they can be built into the club fixture list before the start of the season. These cup matches will provide the opportunity for a number of additional home fixtures.

There will be financial support for clubs taking part in the cup competitions, which will include travel costs and rewards for participation and success. Details of these will be published as soon as possible after the end of this season.

Level 5:
·         Pools of 3 with teams from other leagues, so providing different opposition from the league programme.
·         The pool cup fixtures will be in the club fixture list before the season starts.
·         Pool winners go to Cup knockout stages, 2nd and 3rd to Bowl and Shield.
·         Final of Cup at Twickenham.
·         Bowl and Shield finals at major grounds, giving them a high profile.

Level 6 and below:
·         Format and entry criteria determined by DOC – either the same as L5 to provide certainty of fixtures, or straight knockout.
·         Final of Cup at Twickenham.
·         Bowl and Shield finals at major grounds, giving them a high profile.

In addition to the financial support outlined above, there will be strong RFU marketing and practical support to help clubs make the most of the opportunities that the new cup competitions will offer.

Second and Lower XVs
One third of the recommendations from the Review were about second and lower XV competitions, where the bulk of rugby is played. Further meetings and consultations with league organisers are now taking place throughout the country to map the way ahead. This is a significant and detailed piece of work, and a separate update will be provided later this season.

New Regulations are being drafted and will be communicated in good time for the start of next season.

It is intended that the final detail of the new league and cup competitions, including the financial support for clubs and new regulations where needed, will be put before the RFU Council in April.

We will continue to provide further updates over the coming weeks as the implementation progresses.

NLD U18’s Make Final Midlands Squad

February 9th, 2015 by
The NLD has provided 6 players for the Midlands U18 Squad, announced last night. This represents the highest number of players provided by any single CB this year; a resounding success for the squad having won the Midlands Championship in November.
The following players will now attend the final Squad Session at Broadstreet on Sunday 15th February before participating in the Divisional Festival:
Ed Bloodworth        Kesteven        King’s Grantham
Phil Fletcher           Kesteven        King’s Grantham
Harry Graham         Paviors           Worksop College
Callum Slack          Newark           King’s Grantham
Ben Usher               Newark           Priory Academy LSST
Tom Winning          Paviors           Minster Southwell
The Divisional Festival is being held at Loughborough University from 20th – 22nd February where the NLD Squad will face teams from the other three English regions; The North, London & The South East and The South West.
Following the Festival, the England Squads will be announced, although the NLD players know that the competition for places within the National Squad is extremely high.
NLD Head Coach Nathan Smith said; “To have so many players making it through to the final Midlands Squad is very rewarding for the whole coaching team. More importantly, it demonstrates what a rich pool of talent we have within the NLD. We are currently holding the Trials for the next campaign and look forward to developing yet more of the natural talent within our region.”
Best wishes go to all the players for a great Festival and every success with future opportunities.

Rugby World Cup – Area 4 Legacy Funding

January 9th, 2015 by

The NLD RWC Legacy Group has now met and reviewed the first tranche of funding applications for the Area 4 RWC Legacy fund. Feedback on these has now been sent back to clubs and they will be reviewed again before being submitted to the Area 4 Legacy Board.

NLD are now inviting further applications for funding, clubs who have not already submitted an application are welcome to do so, as are clubs who are already in the application process.

For more information please see below, the deadline for the applications to be returned is Friday 20th February 2015.

With the Rugby World Cup now fast approaching it is an exciting time for the game and gives clubs the opportunity to create an important legacy for the future.

Over the last 18 months the Area 4 Legacy Group has been set up to help deliver a lasting legacy from this major event.  Area 4 covers the following areas of which NLD is one.

Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire & Derbyshire
Eastern Counties
East Midlands
Cambridge University

The aim of the Legacy Group is to provide additional funding beyond that of the RFU, local councils and charities that enables rugby to be better able to meet and sustain the expected additional demand of people wanting to play or be involved with rugby enthused by RWC 2015.

How to apply for funding

As a member of NLD you are invited to apply for funding relating to projects that will leave a legacy to the game we love in years to come.

The attached guidance document will give more information regarding the process and types of project that are being considered, please read it carefully before completing the application form.

Area 4 Legacy Fund
Area 4 Legacy Grant Application Form NLD

Application forms should be returned to Nicole Brown ([email protected]) by 20th February 2015 at the latest, they will then be reviewed and submitted to the Area 4 Legacy Group.   Please make sure you use the attached forms and return them directly to us rather than any you may have received in the last couple of days from your Rugby Development Officers. 

It is really important to take the time to fill in the application form as fully as possible – there is a limited amount of money available and demand is sure to exceed supply so give your club the best possible opportunity of funding!

The focus on demonstrating how your project will hit the various legacy strands is vital, please make sure this is clear in your application and that the supporting evidence is present.  The group have particular interest in projects that will focus on investing in people and returning players so please also keep this in mind while completing your application.

If you would like any help or advice when completing your application please contact:

Nigel Hill – NLD RWC 2015 Chairman
[email protected] / 07891 883513

Rugby Development Officers
Andy Highton – Nottinghamshire
[email protected] / 07715 856726

Gareth Short – Lincolnshire
[email protected] / 07725 601062

Matt Jefferson – Derbyshire
[email protected] / 07894 783342

This funding is a great opportunity for your club to leave a lasting legacy from the 2015 Rugby World Cup and we want as many clubs as possible within NLD to benefit from it.

NLD Youth Structured Season 2015-16

February 6th, 2015 by

The NLD Youth Structured Season for 2015-16 is now available to view here.

As you may be aware there has been a lot of issues around NLD U17/18/19 Rugby. We have reviewed, looked at, studied, and debated what will be best for NLD. Quite simply there is no easy solution to meet all of our varied aspirations. What we hope to achieve is that NLD takes the lead with this competition in helping to retain and recruit young players into Senior Rugby. The new ‘competition’ is very much designed to be as flexible and less regulated as possible, and has more emphasis on a less formal structure encouraging that flexibility. The fixtures can be played when it suits the clubs (or more importantly the players), Midweek, Friday Evening, Saturdays, or Sundays, with the default being 11.00am on a Sunday. We would ask you to notify both the Office and Referee’s Society as early as possible about your Fixture schedules to help with allocation.

NLD Colts

For Season 2015-16 and onwards the NLD Competitions Committee are offering a Colts (U18) competition. Once the CB knows how many Clubs intend to enter the competition, it is proposed that it will be split geographically to make a season long league competition. There are no finals at the end of the season.

Clubs will be encouraged to fill the gaps with traditional friendlies if they so wish. As fixtures become more spread out towards the end of the season, older colts would be encouraged into senior games to assist with the player pathway into senior rugby. Clubs with large numbers would be encouraged to provide a senior and junior fixture. Such dual fixtures could take the form of one competition fixture and one friendly. The NLD Youth Structured Season is attached. While there are 22 fixture dates shown for this league the number of fixtures will not be known until the entries have closed in the summer so it is likely that not all of the dates will be used.

1)      Players in the U19 age grade will only be permitted to play down in U18s games if a completed Playing Out Of Age Grade form has been submitted to the NLD office  and the club has received written approval of the dispensation request from the NLD Safeguarding team. Forms and guidance are available here  (15.4.3)

2)      Players receiving such dispensation will not be allowed to play U19s or adult rugby during the season. Players who have played in U19 or adult rugby during the season are not eligible to play down subsequently.  (15.4.2)

3)      U16s and U17s playing up into the U18s league must have submitted a  Playing Out Of Age Grade form to the NLD office. It is not necessary to get approval from the Safeguarding team. The parents or carers of U16s  must have received written warning that the dispensation may result in the player playing with or against an U19 playing down under a dispensation.  (15.3.6)

4)      U16s playing up in the U18s league must not play in the front row of contested scrums. (15.3.6)

Under 17 Competition
For Season 2015-16 and onwards the NLD are offering an Under 17’s Competition played pre-Christmas for those Clubs wishing to challenge for nomination into the National Colts Competitions. It is intended that seeding would take place at the end of December/early January in order to determine which National competition individual Teams will be entered in.

Pilot Turbo Tens
From an initiative within the RFU, and in an effort to promote greater participation and better player retention within the game, the NLD is proposing to run, initially on a trial basis, a midweek Turbo Tens Colts competition. This is a fun format where clusters of clubs can come together to play a hybrid game. The format of this Turbo 10’s is intended to be entirely flexible and could include awarding different points values dependent on where a try was scored, different points for where a conversion is taken from, as well as possible Power Plays where teams were alternately required to reduce numbers on the pitch etc etc.

CB Roles & Responsibilities

February 3rd, 2015 by

The RFU’s Club Development Sub Committee has recently been looking into the role of the CB (Constituent Body) and what clubs can expect from their managing body so that there is a better understanding of the different roles and responsibilities.

While the RFU appreciates that each geographical CB will do things a little differently the core focus of managing and developing rugby remains the same across the country.  A document has been produced by the RFU that aims to outline all of these key roles & responsibilities in a bid to provide greater clarity and to help provide increased consistency in the work undertaken by CBs.

You can view a copy of the paper here, we would encourage all clubs to take the time to read the paper and should you have any queries please do not hesitate to get in touch with Nicole in the NLD office – [email protected].

The importance of the working relationship between clubs, NLD and the RFU is paramount and can only help improve the rugby on offer throughout the three counties.

NLD U17 League Finals Success

February 2nd, 2015 by

Sunday 1st February saw the NLD U17 Cup & Plate Finals being held at Southwell RFC.  The pitch held up during the cold weather and passed two inspections, with the drying wind conditions were much better than anticipated although very cold.

The Cup final saw old rivals Nottingham Corsairs & Newark line up in what was sure to be an exciting encounter.  Having finished first and second in the League both had won their respective Semi Finals convincingly to set up the local final.

An extremely strong Corsairs side saw off Newark 27-12, a win that they thoroughly deserved, although the game was perhaps tighter than the score line suggests.  It means that the Nottingham side have now won their age group Cup competition for the last three years.

Both Corsairs & Newark had already secured qualification for the National U17’s Cup Competition and will look to impress over the coming months.

The Plate final was an all Derbyshire affair with Matlock facing up against Long Eaton.  Matlock retained their unbeaten NLD U17 Plate league run with a convincing 19-5 win over Long Eaton.

Huge congratulations go to all of the teams who took part for making it to this stage of the competition.  Attentions will now turn to the U17 Knock out competition which begins on 22nd February.

Corsairs U17 NLD League 2015

NLD U17 Trial Postponed

February 2nd, 2015 by


Unfortunately the NLD U17 trial for players in the U16 age group due to take place tonight has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

The trial will now take place on Monday 16th February. The trial for players in the U17 age group will go ahead as scheduled next Monday 9th February.

Please spread the word to everyone who may be affected!

NLD Girls Selected Into Midlands!

February 2nd, 2015 by

This year’s trials for the RFU’s Midlands Squad were held over the last couple of weeks. 14 girls from the U15 squad were selected by NLD coaches to go to trials following a very successful season for the squad winning 8 games from 8.   The U18’s also nominated  a number of players, of which 5 have been successful in making the squad.

Congratulations to the following girls who were selected to go forward to the Midlands Squads:-


Lucy Payne
Holly Fenton
Beth Leivers
Jess Weaver
Meg Warsop
Kate Davis Bavin


Sarah Bill
Hannah Dennis
Grace Redfern
Jess Tolson
Carmen Tremelling

Roy Reeve NLD U18 Girls Coach commented “The Coaches Neil Spechley, Neil Whithead & I are so happy for the Girls who made it through the Midlands Trials. All the girls attended, supported & worked hard despite a tough campaign to develop their Rugby Skills during the NLD programme they truly earned being successful, a lot more to come from all the Girls for sure.”

“To those girls who were unfortunate not to have been selected we hope you take the feedback from the Academy coaches use this to move forward and come back firing next season” said NLD Women & Girls Chairman Neil Clack.

RBS Six Nations Unveil New Trophy

January 28th, 2015 by

The RBS Six Nations Kicks Off next Friday 6th February as England travel to the Millennium Stadium to take on Wales in the opening fixture.

With the RWC fast approaching it promises to be a hugely exciting tournament and there will be a brand new trophy awarded as it reaches it’s climax on 21st March.

[youtube id=”fIU-iF-KJXg”]

Get behind England as they look to lift the title for the first time since 2011 – use the #CarryThemHome to show your support!

NLD Sevens Competitions – Entries Open

January 26th, 2015 by

Entries are now open for the NLD U13-19 Sevens Competitions this Spring.

Please see attached a copy of the invitation, entry form and the rules which you should read carefully before submitting your entry.

U13                 Sunday 15th March 2015                   Southwell RFC
U14                 Sunday 29th March 2015                   Lincoln RFC
U15                 Sunday 15th March 2015                   Chesterfield RFC
U16                 Sunday 29th March 2015                   Sleaford RFC
U17 & U19     Sunday 3rd May 2015                         Southwell RFC

The closing dates for entries are as follows:

U13-16                        Monday 1st March 2015
U17-19                        Monday 13th April 2015

Any queries at all don’t hesitate to get in touch.