Updated Jan 2018 - Introduction- The Manchester Village Spartans currently operate multiple men's rugby squads and a mixed-gender 02 Touch rugby squad.
As one of the world's very first and pioneering "Gay and Inclusive" rugby clubs, we were established by gay men who wanted to play rugby in an LGBT-Friendly environment with zero tolerance to homophobia.
Thanks to pioneers like our founders, The Kings Cross Steelers, The Washington Renegades and San Francisco Fog, the world of rugby (and 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 rugby.
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.
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.
Our aim is to maximize a player's potential through DEVELOPMENT and GROWTH, on and off the pitch
Pre-season: The players train in August and September on Monday evenings to improve individual fitness and continue to train at rugby practice throughout most of the winter on Wednesday evenings at 8pm-9.30pm at Manchester Enterprise Academy in Wythenshaw.
After winter, we bring training back to our home ground of Sale Sports Club 7.30pm-9pm.
In season: When the competitive season begins we tail off fitness sessions at the end of August and revert to practising Wednesdays and playing games on a Saturday afternoon. Kicking off at 3pm (or 2.15pm in the winter months) in the regular season of September to April.
There are mini break's in the season over Christmas & New Year and the Easter holiday periods.
Summer & off season: We offer mixed 02 Touch rugby (men & women in a combined team) from January to July to develop our new and less experienced players general rugby techniques and skills.
Touch rugby is low-contact (No scrums, for example) and is an ideal introduction into the basics of playing rugby. It's a good way to get back into playing rugby for those returning to play the game and in preparation for the pre-season over the summer when Rugby Union Training takes a break.
The opportunities the Spartans offer:
The 1XV squad is made up of 22- 26 players who play competitive rugby in Sale Sharks Division 3 South of the Halbro North West Intermediate Leagues (equivalent RFU level 10). 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 Competitive League 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.
Touch rugby:- 02 Touch rugby is non-contact and provides a good introduction into the basics of playing rugby - these being passing, catching and running forward. We run mixed-gender training sessions with male and female coaches.
The Club enters inclusive & Gay rugby tournaments which are held in England, Europe and Worldwide:
*The Spartans helped establish and have competed in every "Bingham Cup held:- The most recent Bingham Cup was held in Amsterdam in June 2018.
The Spartans have also competed in every Union Cup, most recently competing in the 2017 Union Cup held in Madrid, Spain on the 28th - 30th April 2017 - taking 3 teams, the 1st, 2nd and 3rds. The 1st team reaching the semi-finals.
The club usually tours for 3-7 days depending on the distance travelled and where the tournament is being held in the UK or abroad. The next Union Cup is being held in Dublin this summer and will be a great international event where Rugby Union players of most abilities can compete at different tournament levels.
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 4 RFU level 2 qualified coaches who work with all 3 squads to offer a good level of technical support.
The club has three professional coaches:- involved in our coaching structure, including Martin at MPG Coaching who also coaches Lancaster University Mens.
The men's 2nd & Development team squads:- have additional support from our development coaches including Gareth L, Scott M and Dave M 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.
Possible questions & answers:
How do I to get involved? - The club allows players, men and women of any background and experience to join at any time throughout the season and generally you can just turn up and get involved. It may be easier to make contact with someone to ask questions and so you have a point of contact when you turn up, but the idea is turn up and try rugby. Message us using Facebook Messenger @villagespartans or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chat and info.
What training equipment will I need? - 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 on the grass at Sale Sports Club and trainers in the summer for touch rugby.
How do I get to the rugby club? - The Village Spartans are based at Sale Sports Club, located on the corner of Dane Road and Clarendon Crescent, Sale M33. 2DE. Please use this link to assess the most suitable transportation mode for you via Car, Tram or the bus.
For directions to Manchester Enterprise Academy and meeting point info - please email Yosh at email@example.com
If I like playing rugby, how do I join and pay my membership? - If after a few weeks you feel this is something you enjoy and you want to join the club, there is a club pay as you go on line direct debit system which you can sign up to for 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).
Separate match day fees apply for individual players in each team of £5 for the match referee and food costs incurred.
All new members setting up their Direct Debit must pay a £30 joining fee that gives them a membership share to Sale Sports Club. This can be accepted via payment to the club account. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Set up your Direct Debit here
Our Social activities:
The club is involved in lots of social activities for the players and our social members who are encouraged to join the club also to support at games, travel on tours and just be a part of the general fun each weekend.
Rugby has a place for everyone regardless of your age, size, fitness and previous skills, we develop new players who have never previously played the game as well as offering competitive rugby for the more experienced player, so why not contact us and try playing rugby with the Village Spartans?
Core Values: Lastly we expect all our players, current and any potential new players to conduct themselves in an appropriate way and uphold the sports values of:
We play to win but not at all costs. We win with dignity and lose with grace. We enjoy the game!
For additional information - you can follow us on Twitter @MVSRUFC
on Facebook @villagespartans
or on Instagram @villagespartans
You can email us at: email@example.com where Yosh, or one of our many club volunteers will respond to you as quickly as possible.
Note: Members are placed into our exclusive Spartans Players and Members Facebook Groups and Chat groups and players trialling the team for their first four weeks free (within a calendar month of starting) are added to New Players Chat and Facebook Page Groups to enable them to co-ordinate transport to training and discover more about the club and rules of rugby / training etc.
If you'd like to find out more about our club, read our updated news section here which includes a link to our recent 3 minute interview on Sky Sports News.
Thank you! We hope to welcome you soon to the Village Spartans rugby club.
The Village Spartans - "More than rugby!"