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Rugbytots - A Whole New Ballgame

Updated: Aug 26, 2021

What comes to your mind when you see the word 'rugby'?

Large, tall, muscular, heavyweight, big, sweaty men running after one another in a field probably.

Rugby takes on a whole new meaning and looks when you visit Rugbytots. Forget the image of the tough, sweaty men. Here you have a field full of delighted toddlers who are experts in their own right at rugby! Yes! Tots and rugby. Strange bedfellows but it totally makes sense when you watch the little experts at Rugbytots at work.

Sporty Tots

Rugbytots was started in the UK in 2006 by a rugby-loving father, Max Webb. He had three little boys who were not yet three then, and he realised that there were no rugby programmes for preschoolers and toddlers. You could find fingerpainting and cupcake-making and karate and a whole variety of fun activities but rugby was strangely missing from the offering.

And what does one do in this situation?

Max rolled up his sleeves, put on his rugby gear and started Rugbytots! The beautiful thing about new ventures is that once Max started Rugbytots, he discovered that he was not the only parent looking for a rugby play programme for their children. He had actually stumbled upon an amazing niche - rugby for toddlers is turning out to be an exciting gap in the early childhood development sector.

And the fun is spreading beyond what Max could have imagined when he first started Rugbytots. Its simple motto of 'Make it More Fun' is catching on to 20 countries over 7 continents. Today in Australia, trained coaches deliver hundreds of classes every week, and the numbers keep growing. Rugbytots is growing big and strong and is scoring goals everywhere.

Rebecca Redfern, Operations Manager and Franchise Support is proud of the world's favourite rugby play programme and how it is fast becoming the go-to sport for youngsters on the Mid North Coast of NSW.

Scoring in Australia

Rebecca and her husband Israel learnt about Rugbytots on Facebook in late 2015 and that got them excited. They started Rugbytots Mid North Coast in April 2016 and there was no looking back. They had just had a little boy then, and Israel was looking for a way to spend more time with Toby as he was growing up. He had a passion for sport, especially the Rugby League and it was a dream come true to be able to share his passion with his son.

Rebecca and Israel launched classes on weekends in Port Macquarie and it became so popular that demand grew for other locations. Israel was still working a full-time job of 40+ hours a week, but he got so much drive and energy out of this new passion that he was running classes in Port Macquarie, Laurieton, Taree, Wauchope and Kempsey on the weekends.

Rugby tots turned out to be something Rebecca and Israel truly wanted to dedicate their time and energy to. In 2017 they dived into the deep end and quit their full-time jobs to concentrate on building their tot-sized business. It was gruelling financially at the start and they had a lot of doubts about whether they made the right decision. They both felt it was something worth sticking to, and a rough start is not uncommon for many small businesses. It takes tenacity and nerves of steel to get a small business up and going.

Rebecca and Israel wanted to get the word out and have as many people know about Rugbytots as possible. In 2017, they took their program into Early Learning Centres with Daycare on Lincoln and Columba Cottage. Both were excited about the proposal and jumped on board. Today, rugby classes continue to go strong at both centres.

Coming Full Circle

In 2018, Rebecca and Israel were approached by the UK to assist in running the Australian operations. They did not hesitate and took up the challenge.

Both Rebecca and Israel have taken on the full Master Franchise position for Australia and are fielding enquiries for new franchises weekly. Rugbytots is no longer a tot-sized business. It has grown beyond their wildest dreams.

5 years on, Rebecca and Israel are both still as passionate as ever about what they do. Israel is secretly delighted with Rugbytots as it allows the Big Kid in him to get into the fun even while he is 'at work'! How many people can boast they love 'playing' at work? Rebecca is the pillar behind the scenes, making sure the operations run smoothly and she is the one to handle problems outside the field.

Both Rebecca and Israel work full time for Rugbytots and they love every second of what they do.

Growing Big and Strong

Rebecca and Israel have coaches helping them run the classes. With Rugbytots growing so fast, they have had to move the Port Macquarie classes to the Hibbard Sports Club on Boundary Road in order to expand what they are able to offer to parents.

They are planning to open up more classes in other areas this year.

Rebecca and Israel are always on the lookout for like-minded, sports-loving people to join their team. They want Rugbytots to grow big and strong on the Mid North Coast. And who knows where it could grow to next?

Children love Rugbytots. It has become a place where they can enjoy expending their energy with other children, not to mention picking up amazing coordination skills and teamworking skills as well. Some are even getting better than their fathers at dodging and are able to give a useful tip or two to their old man and help daddy improve in his game! The joy of each child is the priority at Rugbytots and parents are loving watching how their children develop confidence in what they love doing.

A Growing Family

Beyond having a business grow in success, Rebecca and Israel (or Bec and Izzy as they are affectionately known at Rugbytots) have made amazing friends through what they are doing at Rugbytots, and they have forged relationships that they treasure, and their son Toby also has a huge family of mates that he is growing up with at Rugbytots.

For Rebecca and Israel, meeting all the children who are so eager about sports, and getting to know them and their families is the biggest profit they have reaped from taking that leap of faith back in 2017 to make a change to their lives with Rugbytots.

Watch that tot - he may well dodge better than you can if he is an old-timer at Rugbytots!

Rugbytots, feature story by Brilliant-Online

Contact Rugby Tots Port Macquarie

12 Burrawong Dr, Port Macquarie NSW 2444


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