Mixed Ability Rugby grew organically from a lack of provision for disabled participants to play full-contact rugby. Players with and without physical and learning disabilities began playing in the same, mainstream, full-contact rugby game abiding by World Rugby’s Laws. It initially started in Wales with the ‘Swansea Gladiators’ and ‘Llanelli Warriors’ before starting in England 10 years ago with the ‘Bradford Bumbles’. Since then it has spread to 12 countries worldwide, with this number continually growing.
Mixed Ability does not classify levels of ability, nor does it identify or separate disabled players into different tiers. They start from the assumption that anyone can experience disability for a short or long term, whether due to physical, mental or social barriers. Mixed Ability emphasises regular, frequent and sustainable activities, self-determination, full membership of grassroots clubs and opportunities for social interaction for all. Mixed Ability teams are “just another team” in the club!
Derby RFC’s Mixed Ability team “The Bucks” started in September 2018 as part of Comic Relief & England Rugby’s “Try for Change” project. Delivered by IMAS it aims to spread provision of Mixed Ability rugby across the country. Over their first season the Bucks have learned to play full contact rugby and participated in 2 fixtures with a further 2 tournaments to come. The Bucks are always recruiting and would be happy to welcome any male players aged 17 and above (because of the contact element), Previous rugby experience certainly isn’t necessary as all players will be taught the basics in a fun and inclusive environment. Whether you have a disability or not Mixed Ability rugby focuses on social rugby, allowing everyone to work to the best of their ability. Training is every Thursday at 6:30pm, please join ‘Derby Bucks Mixed Ability Rugby’ on Facebook if you have any questions send Mike Hawkes an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Derby team recently took part in a national tournament – the 24/7s – played at Loughborough University. Derby Bucks were the only mixed ability team in the competition from throughout the whole country. They didn’t win any games but they scored tries, played really well and won the great respect of all the able bodied teams there.
Derbyshire Freemasons were delighted to sponsor the kit which was proudly worn by Sandy Varley, the son of our own Provincial Grand Master!