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Full-size inflatable rugby ‘Packaposts’ from Packaworld International stole the show at the USA Rugby National Development Summit, drawing attention from conference delegates and many top US coaches, including newly appointed USA Eagles Head Coach Gary Gold.
The Summit was held in Denver, Colorado from 19-21 January, with Packaworld CEO Peter Roberts attending to discuss the development of rugby in the USA and introduce the unique portable rugby posts to delegates.
“Rugby is growing quickly across the USA. But it’s a tricky sport to deliver to new regions and communities due to a lack of suitable arenas where people can play,” Mr Roberts said.
Mr Roberts said he had received “amazing feedback” from several delegates, including Mr Gold, who commented the idea of an inflatable, portable post system had great potential for growing rugby participation, especially in disadvantaged communities around the world.
Another delegate impressed by the posts was Matt Wells, who is President and Head Coach of Fort Lauderdale-based Ruckus Rugby Club and also Head Coach at Florida's St. Thomas Aquinas High School, which is famed for athletic prowess.
The portability of the posts would allow the clubs to use fields they hadn’t previously been able to use because they lacked full-sized posts, Mr Wells said.
“Like many clubs in the US, we constantly struggle to provide rugby posts for our teams. We have to make do with soccer goals and a complicated arrangement of extensions to use as uprights. It’s a big headache and they often fall over.”
Mr Roberts said while rugby nations such as Japan, Argentina and even the USA were working to develop rugby and build passionate player bases, there were still comparatively few rugby facilities in their countries. This made it hard for new players to get involved.
He said it was important to provide opportunities to play ‘the real game’, using posts to enable skills like goalkicking and field goals. This would not only grow the sport by helping people develop core skills, but also make rugby more relevant and enjoyable for people by providing a more authentic playing experience.
“Making rugby relevant to people who haven’t had a chance to play the real game before means tackling the barriers provided by cumbersome gear. Rugby posts are essential to the real game. Making them portable and available will not only help clubs deliver games to wider communities, but also inspire more people to play with a better playing experience.”
Rugby Packaposts were used for the world’s first blind rugby international test series, held in 2017 between the New Zealand Blind Rugby Team and a ‘Blind Lions’ team from the UK.
Blind rugby is played on a smaller field, making the portable posts vitally important for the success of the series. Packaworld worked with Blind Sport New Zealand and UK organisation The Change Foundation to deliver the three-test series.
Find out more about Rugby Packaposts>>