The IRFU are delighted to announce that a first ever Spirit of Rugby Conference is to take place in Dublin in 2019. The one-day event will be held at Aviva Stadium on Sunday 13th January as part of the IRFU’s commitment to a safe and fun environment for age-grade players.
The theme of the conference is ‘Play Your Part, Let Them Play,’ with the aim of helping adults to create and maintain a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare. Player welfare has been identified as an essential element in the retention of age-grade rugby players.
The conference is open to coaches, volunteers, parents and all those working with age-grade players in clubs and schools across the four provinces.
Four experts in well-being will address the conference, including keynote speaker John O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan is a coach, author, TEDx speaker and founder of Changing The Game Project, a US organisation dedicated to improving the lives of children through sport.

The theme of the keynote address is: “How Adults Can Contribute to Creating and Maintaining a Player Centred Environment in Age-Grade Rugby.”
Also addressing the conference are IRFU Head of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Prof. Phil Glasgow, Senior Clinical Psychologist Dr. Paul Gaffney and Dr. Anne Marie Waldron, who is a Clinical Director with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The conference will be opened by Ireland Head Coach Joe Schmidt and MC for the day is RTÉ broadcaster Damien O’Meara. A Q&A session with all four speakers will follow the key note address.
Attendees will learn how to create and maintain a safe and fun environment that prioritises player welfare.
Previous initiatives by the Spirit Safeguarding programme include a side-line behaviour video and providing every club in the country with fun friendly pavement signs.
The conference costs €25 to attend and early registration is advised.


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