The Middlesex U12 festivals help young players develop their rugby and bridge the divide between mini and youth rugby. The festival format meets the RFU age grade rugby requirements and provides a better rugby experience for teams and players as well as helping facilitate a the transition of players to the Youth Leagues at U13 with players experience longer matches and the type of discipline that they will need as they move to the youth age grade rugby structures. Since the format was introduced, U12s playing for Middlesex clubs have progressed to youth level with greater strength and skill.
The U12 festival format is unique with four weekend rounds played through the season. Each round comprises two games of 30 minutes played as a three-way fixture. The results of these games are compiled and points awarded.
Following the triangular matches, clubs can then choose to enter the Herts and Middlesex Junior U13 pools the following season.
Middlesex Rugby, in conjunction with London Irish Academy, uses the U12 format to identify players to be invited to the Developing Player Programme. Last year this resulted in 60 players being invited to the trials held at the end of the season for the Team Middlesex U13 county squad.
The entry process starts in September with clubs formally entering their teams followed by the draw at the beginning of October. The four weekend rounds start in November.
Round 1: Sunday 11th November 2018
Round 2: Sunday 16th December 2018
Round 3: Sunday 13th January 2019
Round 4: Sunday 10th February 2019
Coaching and refereeing
The success of these festivals makes them the highlight of the mini rugby season, and a testament to the efforts and effectiveness of the coaching and the excellent work of the Middlesex referees panel. Every club is required to provide ELRA qualified referees on entry for these festivals and consequently we are seeing fewer injuries and better games. It has really helped clubs develop this vital area of the game and provides a pipeline for future refereeing talent to emerge into the youth and senior versions of game.
If you would like to be involved, or you or your company can help with the organisation or funding of these festivals, please get in touch with Nicky Fielder at the County Office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org