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ANY GENDER, SEXUALITY, ABILITY, ETHNICITY....

GAY AND INCLUSIVE RUGBY PIONEERS

As one of the world’s very first Gay and Inclusive rugby clubs, we were established back in 1999 by gay men who wanted to play rugby in an LGBT-Friendly environment with zero tolerance to homophobia.

Thanks to pioneers like our founders and The Kings Cross Steelers, The Washington Renegades and San Francisco Fog, the world of rugby (and the world!) has come on leaps and bounds since then in terms of LGBT rights and equality.

We continue to exist to lower the barriers that lots of LGBT and straight players of any gender still face when trying to take part in team sport and are proud that we continue to help people play the game we all love – regardless of the sex of the person they choose to love.

We are an inclusive club: Anyone is welcome to join the Village Spartans who wishes to play rugby union – regardless of sex, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief. (Aged 18yrs+). We don’t discriminate and you don’t need to be gay to join. You just need a good attitude. Our aim is to maximize a player’s potential through DEVELOPMENT and GROWTH, on and off the pitch.

The Club’s playing and organisational membership is diverse – made up of members from the LGBT community, as well as both heterosexual members from local Sale area, and friends or family members of our LGBT players. Approximately 75% of our members are homosexual and 25% are heterosexual.

WE operate 2 Rugby Union Squads, a BEGINNERS Union Squad and 2 Any-gender 02 Touch Rugby squads from beginner to advanced

RUGBY UNION

Pre-season: Our Rugby Union players train in August on Wednesday evenings to improve individual fitness circa 7:15pm at Sale Sports Club, M33 2DE.

In season: When the competitive season begins, fitness sessions tail off and revert to Rugby Training Sessions on Wednesday evenings at circa 7:15pm at Sale Sports Club and playing games on a Saturday afternoon – Usually, kicking off at 3pm (or 2.15pm in the winter months when the clocks change) throughout the regular season of September to April.

Over winter,  training shifts from 7.15-9pm at Sale Sports Club to a later starting time at Manchester Enterprise Academy in Wythenshawe. Training at MEA is usually from 8pm-9.30pm on a Wednesday.

There are mini break’s in the season over Christmas & New Year and the Easter holiday periods. These are subject to change each season (especially due to the Covid-19 Pandemic) so please ask for info closer to the time.

Summer & Off-Season: Rugby Union takes a break for a few weeks over summer but usually after some pre-Tour training sessions if we are competiting in an International tournament (The Bingham Cup or The Union Cup).   However, players and members of the club are welcome to play O2 Touch Rugby with our Touch squads whose season gets busier in Summer as Union tails off.

The 1XV squad is made up of 22- 26 players who play competitive rugby in Division 4 East of the Halbro North West Intermediate Leagues (equivalent RFU level 11). The 1sts play 26 league fixtures throughout the season against local rugby clubs in the Manchester and Liverpool area.

The 2XV squad is a team made up of existing and emerging players to the sport, or those wishing to play at a slightly lower level than the 1st team. The 2nd team compete in the new IGR (International Gay Rugby) UK League Northern Division in addition to the Halbro Friendlies League, playing multiple matches through the season against local and national teams and other IGR clubs across England and the UK.

We also have a new player development squad: The club offers beginners a place start to play rugby and experience the associated social life.

There are dedicated coaches who work with the new player group to offer a pathway to the 2nd team and beyond.

ALL-GENDER O2 TOUCH RUGBY

The Spartans offer hugely popular, any-gender, 02 Touch Rugby (In mixed-gender teams) with training and competitive fixtures held between January to October.   

O2 Touch provides people of all abilities and more athletic interests a fantastic way to enjoy rugby in a faster-paced, exhilarating and friendly, but competitive, team environment. 

It is a perfect way to get into a team sport with little investment into kit and is a truly sociable sport.

O2 Touch Rugby is low-contact (No scrums, for example) and is an ideal team sport to learn for people who may never have played a team sport before…..it is perfectly suited to friendship groups or work-colleagues joining up together.  

Whilst it’s a good way to get back into playing rugby for Union players who may be returning to the game after a break, it’s also great at helping anyone build their fitness alongside a group of like-minded people…..outdoors, over the summer.

We are a leading O2 Touch Operator in the UK and work closely with the RFU to build participation in the game.  

In addition to making friends with our friendly Touch players and O2 Touch Ambassadors, our professional O2 Touch Coaches (Male and Female) will teach you the basics all the way up starting with  passing, catching and running forward.

Typically, O2 Touch Squads train between January and October on Monday evenings at either Sale Sports Club (circa 7:15-9pm Spring / Summer) or at Wright Robinson College (during the Autumn) at approximately the same starting time.  

The times and locations change from time to time, so please check with recruitment before heading to a training session.

TOURNAMENTS

The Club enters inclusive & Gay rugby tournaments which are held in England, Europe and Worldwide.

The Spartans helped establish and have competed in every IGR Bingham Cup. The most recent was held in Amsterdam in June 2018 with Ottawa 2020 postponed to 2022 due to the global pandemic.

The Spartans have also competed in every IGR Union Cup, most recently competing in the 2019 Union Cup held in Dublin, Ireland.

We’d recommend you watch this short film by Sky Sports created by The Warwick Rowers’ charity called Sport Allies and The London Film School to get a good idea of what it’s like to be a Spartan Union player at a Tournament.  Click to find out about the production HERE

Teams also attend mini-tournaments such as the Touch Rugby Tournament, Touch My Brum and others, including our own O2 Touch Summer Draft.

The club usually tours for 3-7 days per year, depending on the distance travelled and where the tournament is being held in the UK or abroad.

COACHING AND DEVELOPMENT

The club has a Director of Rugby, Neil Mason, who oversees the strategy and overall rugby development for the club. The club has 3 RFU level 2 qualified coaches who work with all 3 squads to offer a good level of technical support.

The club employs professional coaches to train and develop the Rugby Union and O2 Touch squads

The men’s 2nd & Development team squads have additional support from our development coaches including Gareth (also the Spartans Chair) and Scott who are volunteer ex-players. They work with our new players to develop their fundamental skills while safely progressing new players towards contact rugby when the time is right for each individual player.

Our 02 Touch mixed-gender squads are trained by Jen and Adam, two professional coaches, along with support from the wider coaching team and players in the club.

02 provide additional player materials and incentives through their 02 Touch app making these sessions great fun and a really sociable way to learn a new sport with like-minded friends.

FAQs

Most frequent questions and answers

The club allows players, men, women, transgender, non-binary and gender-fluid of any background and rugby or sporting experience (or lack of) to join at any time throughout the season.  Generally, you can just turn up and get involved although we do block intro sessions at certain points of the year to make our development programmes more effective.  

We’ll introduce you to the coaches and other players and you’ll make friends very quickly.   You are alwasys encouraged to ask questions no matter how stupid they may feel to ask.

You can also ask our recruitment volunteers questions online. Message us using Facebook Messenger or email join@villagespartans.co.uk for a chat and info.

We’re always looking for support on the sidelines too and invite people to join us as supporters if they cannot play.

Rugby training kit such as socks, shorts and a rugby shirt or similar training / jogging top, footwear- boots called “mouldies” (no metal studs when training at Manchester Enterprise Academy on the 4g pitch in the winter), studded rugby boots when training and playing Rugby Union on the grass at Sale Sports Club and either mouldies or trainers in the summer for touch rugby.

Download this RFU guide to kit

If you’re a total novice at either Rugby Union or O2 Touch Rugby, our coaches will help you pick up the game at a pace that fits you – starting right at the very begining that includes teaching you how you hold a rugby ball.  

Our squads are suitable for all different levels of skill and ability so there’s a programme right for everyone from fresh newbie to experienced pro.

Download these useful documents if you want to get a jist of Union / O2 Touch.

World Rugby Beginners Guide

RFU Handbook 2018/19

Touch Rugby Rules – World Rugby

Once you become a member we’ll send you additional handbooks and workbooks.

Watch videos about the Spartans and rugby as a sport in our Video Archive

Union – Typically Wednesday Evenings at 7:15pm at Sale Sports Club (Circa 8pm at Manchester Enterprise Academy over Winter).  Match Day is Saturday with most games played in the afternoon around 2:15pm or 3pm.

Touch – Typically Monday evenings 7:15pm at Sale Sports Club during the Spring and Summer with a similar start time over Autumn at Wright Robionson College. 

Please ask recruitment by email or via our FB page before attending.

The Village Spartans are based at Sale Sports Club with a modern, new clubhouse, located on the corner of Dane Road and Clarendon Crescent, Sale M33. 2DE.

We train at different locations at different times of the year. You can find much more information on how to get to the different training locations or clubhouse HERE

Once you start playing you will be added to Player Chat Groups on Messenger who often lift-share or travel together.

If within your first four weeks of training with us you feel Union or O2 Touch is something you enjoy and you want to join the club, there is an online Direct Debit form which you can sign up through to arrange your membership fees.

This covers the running costs of the club, coaching, equipment, facilities etc. This costs between£5.50 – £12.50 per month depending upon your employment status (i.e studying, unemployed or level of earnings).

BEFORE YOU TRAIN FOR THE FIRST TIME WE ASK THAT YOU REGISTER TO PLAY HERE

In addition to buying any new sports clothes you may want (or kit as you progress in development) there are some other costs typically involved in playing competitively.

  1. Separate match day fees apply for individual Rugby Union players in each team of £5 for the match referee and food costs incurred.
  2. Competition entry costs may be required to play in certain Touch Rugby Competitions (prices vary but tend to be low)
  3. Tournament Costs – If you chose to play in one of the global or European Union Tournaments players cover particular costs ofd their own such as travel and accomodation although these are sometimes subsidised by the club or a sponsor.
  4. Travel to and from matches and training is at the players own cost but, again, many people carshare etc 
  5. We request that all new members to pay a £30 fee to purchase a membership share to Sale Sports Club. This can be accepted via direct payment to the Spartans bank account, via Pay Pal,   spread over a few months or post-poned for payment within an agreed timeframe. Please email treasurer@villagespartans.co.uk for information.

You can set up your low-cost, monthly Direct Debit here

Terms and Conditions of FREE Training offer.

The Terms and Conditions for non-members receiving up to four weeks of “Free” training sessions with the Manchester Village Spartans RUFC (the “Club”) are as follows:

Manchester Village Spartans RUFC offers members of the public, the opportunity to train (without paying membership fees) for a maximum period of four weeks within the first calendar month from the date of the player’s first training attendance with certain restrictions and the following conditions:

Players must be 18yrs of age or over.

The free training covers up to a maximum of 8 individual training sessions comprising O2 Touch Rugby Training and/or Union Rugby Training.

A new player may only attend training sessions or other games or events if they meet particular health and safety criteria (available upon request)

The free trial period offer is not available to players who have previously been paying or playing members of the club, including players who have previously held a direct debit mandate as a player or supporter.

The Free trial period may be withdrawn at any time and the club reserve the right to refuse any player, subscribed or not, to play for the Spartans or attend training sessions – for example, due to current Covid-19 precautions.

The decision of the club’s Directors is final and no discussion or negotiation will be entered into.

The four weeks of Free training is a limited offer that ends November 1st 2020 and is subject to availability. It is likely to be available again in January 2021 during the mid-winter recruitment period.

Please note, a player is responsible for their own travel and other expenses including kit, refreshments and insurance.  

More details about some typical costs a player can expect to incur by playing rugby can be found here or by asking our recruitment officer here.  

We strongly recommend that anyone playing rugby should purchase their own insurance to cover them in the event of an accident as club insurance is unlikely to cover you in the event of an accident, prior to subscribing.

Useful advice about insurance can be found here

If you have any pre-existing health conditions that you worry may put yourself or others at risk by participating in training, we request that you inform our Club Medical Officer by email here (in confidence) prior to your first training session.  He will be happy to provide advice and look to take actions that could improve your personal safety during play.