A Rugby Life

A Rugby Volunteer's Blog

How popular are the RFU Cups?


Earlier this year I wrote about the demise of RFU Cup competitions only to discover that my information was wrong and that they would continue (see The end of RFU Cups).  The first rounds of the RFU Senior and Junior Vase competitions were played last weekend (15 October) so I thought I would do a bit of analysis to see just how popular these competitions are with clubs.

The Senior Vase is for clubs playing at Level 8 (London 3 North East) and the Junior Vase for Levels 9 and below (Eastern Counties One and Two).  Altogether there are 28 Eastern Counties clubs that could have entered one of these competitions but only 17 or 61% chose to do so. 

Cup Clubs Entered  
Senior Vase 6 5 83%
Junior Vase 22 12 55%
Total 28 17 61%

All Level 9 clubs received a bye into the second round of the Junior Vase, so of the 17 clubs in Eastern Counties that were eligible to play on Saturday, only 11 actually entered, a little less than two-thirds.  On the day there were four call-offs in games involving ECRU clubs meaning only seven ECRU clubs out of a possible 17 played an RFU Cup match.

On the face of it this isn’t very satisfactory and you have to question if these competitions have a future if only 60% of our clubs are willing to support them, and it makes it worse that four of the teams that did enter are without games in the first round.  However, it may be a localised issue so I did a bit more analysis with clubs further afield.

Across the London & South East Division I calculated that there were 264 clubs eligible to enter the RFU Intermediate, Senior or Junior Vase competitions this season, and that 150 (57%) actually entered. 

London & SE Clubs Entered  
Intermediate Cup 48 33 69%
Senior Vase  48 29 60%
Junior Vase 168 88 52%
TOTAL 264 150 57%

On 15 October there were due to be 38 Cup games played across the division but 10 of them were walkovers, more than 1 in 4.  When I tried to look at the picture across the country I found that only the Midlands Division had played Cup games that weekend with 32 scheduled and 5 being walkovers.  This meant that 20% of scheduled Cup games across the country suffered from call-offs. 

Round 1 Games Calloffs  
Intermediate 14 2 14%
Senior Vase  23 5 22%
Junior Vase 46 9 20%
TOTAL 69 14 20%

I’m not sure where I am going with this bit of reasearch for now other than to highlight that only between a half and two-thirds of clubs support the RFU Cups and the call-off rate is high at one in five.  The next round of Cup games is on 5 November when the Level 7 and 8 clubs get involved after which I will update this article.

Meanwhile I would appreciate any views or comments about my findings and the Cup competitions.

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3 responses to “How popular are the RFU Cups?

  1. Mike Waplington 23 October 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Andrew. This is very interesting and I wonder how much of the malaise is down to clubs having problems getting players to travel to away games with the prospect of even further distances in the RFU Cups? Travel is certainly a problem in NLD, some down to players having to work on Saturday mornings but the majority simply down to a ‘can’t be bothered’ mentality when a journey of maybe 60-90 minutes each way is required. Wouldn’t have happened in the ‘old days’ – think of the pub stops on the way back!!! Once you start to climb up the league levels I think the commitment level and positive attitude towards playing is a lot higher and so I would guess that your numbers will improve. Best regards

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  2. Pingback: RFU Cups – second round update « A Rugby Life

  3. Pingback: This season’s RFU Cups again littered with call-offs « A Rugby Life

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