From the moment I created the RuckinRugby Brand, I had a pretty good vision of what I wanted to do and why. I was a bit of a tearaway in my early teens and with no family at home and a commitment to education of around 1.5 days a week, it was Rugby that was the rock at the centre of my life. My only regret now, with hindsight was that I didn’t realise that I should have tried harder … for myself. We live and learn.
I played rugby for Tiverton RFC up until I joined the Army in 1988 in a rag tag Colts XV full of tearaways, all of whom were a little wild. We rarely won either of the preliminary halves, but were in a league of our own in the third. I digress. Despite employing a casual approach to school and college attendance, I was always the first at rugby training and always the last to go … practising my kicking until the floodlights were turned off, and often doing so and locking up myself.
After completing basic training in Catterick, I was only a few weeks into my technical training before discovering the importance of Rugby in the British Army and my Corps, the Royal Corps of Signals. My first 4 years were spent playing rugby as a job, finishing with a switch to the league code as it once again became legal as an amateur sport and therefore, available to us as Soldiers. I also played civilian rugby for Richmond (North Yorkshire), Darlington and Blandford whilst serving – and the Khobar Quins and Arabian Potbellies more recently.
Up until I snapped a ligament in a ‘nothing’ game in Lisburn, playing rugby was part of who I was. I was Sgt. Maxwell, rugby player and to this day I don’t know what would have happened to me had it not been.
Fittingly, Tiverton RFC were the first club I produced a website for and their website is still going strong to this day. We currently manage websites for 12 clubs in 4 countries and we help manage various leagues, fixtures and player registrations in the Middle East too. RuckinRugby turns over around £12k a year, but has never turned a profit as I put everything I make ‘back in’ to rugby.
I have recently agreed to sponsor one of the fabulous young ladies who was part of our #WRWC2014 Winning Squad in France this year and it has prompted me to write this article to cover this decision, along with the other ways in which RuckinRugby try to ‘put back’ – mainly because I hear a lot of people talking the talk, but not very many walking the walk.
I spotted a tweet by Vicky asking for sponsorship and on contacting her I discovered that she had not been picked up with the new RFU contracts for 7s players. Because of this, she was moving to London and changing teams from Lichfield to Saracens and would be needing assistance financially in order to be able to play. Vicky needs help with travel expenses and training kit. I agreed to help and have to say, it felt great to be a little part of this fabulous rugby story. To think that from nothing, RuckinRugby has got to a position whereby it can help an England International achieve her dream is very special to me.
I’m honoured to be a part of Vicky’s ‘support team’ and I am really looking forward to seeing how many companies I can bully into helping Vicky out with training gear and reduced cost travel.
Alex is a young lad who lives in Tivvy and plays centre for their 1st XV. He’s a great guy and is the man behind the fantastic Tivvy RFC website that stands head and shoulders above all the others in terms of content. I offered Alex a 2 year apprenticeship, because I wanted to be able to give someone the chance to enjoy the opportunities that were being offered to RuckinRugby – like trips to India – that I was too busy to indulge in myself. RR paid for Alex to go to India for a month and meet the Jungle Crows RFC as well as a whole host of other activities – you can read more in his Diary.
Alex has already picked up the strategic skills behind managing and operating a web design & hosting company, and is well into the technical side and he only started in March. Alex is not only young, he is playing rugby which gives him two vital viewpoints that I am lacking, so he is an essential member of our team.
RuckinRugby have also sponsored Alex for the 2014/15 Season.
Jungle Crows Foundation
Ever since meeting Paul Walsh in Kolkata in 2009 and subsequently helping to fund Tudu with his studies, RuckinRugby have been intimately linked with the Jungle Crows RFC. At one point I thought I wanted to be a trustee of the Jungle Crows Foundation, to somehow ‘formalise’ my commitment and have something to show for it … but as it came to fruition I realised that it wasn’t what I wanted at all. Instead I set up a 7s Team, called the JCF7s. Alex has been very much part of this and RR have recently purchased some very cool stash from Samurai that we hope will arrive this month … watch this space.
The JCF7s hope to attend maybe 4 or 5 Tournaments in the UK next summer, 2015. Players will be predominantly from the South West and ‘chatted up’ by Alex during the winter season. However, we will of course have Tudu and his merry men, mostly from the Hartpury area – to add some spice. My dream is to have an eclectic pool of players, all of whom have been to India and visited or played for the Jungle Crows – so that they have that passion and understanding of what rugby means to me and RuckinRugby. The aim of this team is not to win tournaments and make money. The aim is to form a tight squad of friends, that love rugby and all want to raise awareness for the Jungle Crows Foundation.
Tag Rugby Trust
It was on a TRT Tour in 2009 that I first met Paul Walsh, as above. The tour changed my life and I know that I want Alex to do the same and hopefully, I will take a tour with my sons some day too, it’s that important. I truly believe that perspective is the greatest gift you can give to anyone and a TRT tour will give you plenty of that. I hope one day to join a tour to Uganda, Zambia or Zimbabwe but may have to settle for sending Alex! I manage the TRT website and have made lifelong friends in Rob and Chops, joining their ambassador Catherine Spencer on the Paris Marathon in 2011 to help them raise funds.
Going forward as a business, of course we want to attract more clubs and build the reputation of our company as a great web ‘partner’ for any club. It needn’t only be rugby, we have clients from Ice Hockey and Netball – but all of our ‘putting back’ will continue to be rugby oriented for now.
The recent launch of the Women’s Premiership website was a massive achievement for myself and RR and I am extremely proud of the feedback we have received. We can’t wait to start adding results and match reports and engaging with the clubs involved. Hopefully, we will see more of an engagement with the RFU as the season goes on and add more ‘information’ to the website for girls who want to start playing. I’d also like to see a women’s 7s team under the JCF7 banner!
Join our family
If your club have a pitchero ‘freebie’ website, or maybe a site that has fallen into disrepair, and you want to talk to someone you can trust. A rugby person. Then just drop us a line. our club websites cost £495 +VAT a year and there is a complete breakdown of that cost here on our website. In addition, we can connect you with fantastic graphic designers (Like Anthony Costa in Australia who designed the JCF7 and WP logos) and give your club a new logo/brand, or maybe some new stash? We also work with Marketing experts who can help you think about sponsorship. Everything I do is about quality – I will not accept anything but the best for myself or for my clients.
If you want your club to stand out and take it up a notch, online is as good a place to start as any. Don’t just take our word for it, check out our testimonials and/or contact any club we’re linked with – they’ll tell you the same.
Besides, wouldn’t it be nice to know that the money you’re spending is getting put back into Rugby?
Yours in rugby,