With the Rugby World Cup just days away, have you thought about how you can get together with your clubmates and enjoy the whole tournament?
The Rugby Magazine Founder, Edward Kerr, has just the answer… Fantasy Rugby.
We had a chat with Edward about how you can get involved and how the fantasy Rugby can raise your grassroots Rugby club much needed club funds.
Fill Your Boots – Tell us a bit more about your background
Edward Kerr – I grew up with rugby in my blood; my Dad and three uncles all played for Dursley together and Dad is still the treasurer at the club. I started when I was 6 in the newly founded junior section and played right through to the first team.
After moving to Chippenham, I managed to make a single appearance before my rugby days were cut short: I had a cardiac arrest at 27, and I’m only here today because my wife gave me CPR for 15 minutes. While that was obviously traumatic, I came through the other side and I was alive, but the news that I found toughest to take was that I couldn’t play rugby anymore. That’s ultimately where the Rugby Magazine ws born from, my way of staying involved in the game.
FYB – What is The Rugby Magazine?
EK – The Rugby Magazine is my way of making the world a better place. Rugby is perhaps the greatest team sport you can play, not least because of the physical and mental health benefits, but also the game’s core values help make better individuals; discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship, and importantly respect. My aim with the Rugby Mag is to help engage people with, and grow the game of rugby, and the fantasy platform is a huge part of that.
FYB – Fantasy Sports is huge all around the world, what makes your Fantasy Rugby game different?
EK – I think it goes without saying that rugby is a pretty unique sport, and I’ve seen plenty of other companies try to take a fantasy football model and apply it rugby, and it just doesn’t work. The Rugby Mag fantasy is built from the ground up to be an accurate (or as close as fantasy can get) reflection of being a Director of Rugby through a season; you sign players to your club, manage your squad and select your team throughout a competition. This gives people flexibility, lets them take chances on young guns coming through, and just adds a much deeper and well rounded, and hopefully enjoyable, experience that you want to keep coming back for.
FYB – How can Fantasy Rugby benefit grassroots clubs?
EK – How I can support grassroots clubs has been on my mind since the Rugby Mag’s inception, and I’ve been thinking about what clubs need that we can provide, especially in a climate where money is tight and funding is being cut.
With that in mind, this season we’ve kicked off an initiative called ’Support Your Club’, which aims to create an extra revenue stream for clubs, as well as increase engagement with rugby as a whole. One of the core features of any fantasy is competing against your friends, and it’s that competitive nature that stimulates conversations in a club. There are clubs already playing the game who have said that their community is already closer because the fantasy is at the heart of conversation; it’s a topic that can kick start a relationship between anyone; who have you got in your team this week? Did you see how many points Ollie Thorley got at the weekend?
This extends to the wider community in a club too, not just the players. There is a whole stage crew of people who help run grassroots clubs in the background that might otherwise remain distant; partners, parents, siblings, friends. The initiative aims to use fantasy to engage them and absorb them into the community, and furthermore, create a revenue stream that they might not otherwise have been able to draw from.
Our game is free to play, this was important so as not to put any barriers up, but there are upgrades on the game that give you lots of extra information about players and performances, and the Support Your Club initiative gives 50% of any payment to the site back to the club. If you’re running a full minis and junior section, and put out three senior teams each week, you could be looking at generating several thousands of pounds every year.
FYB – Just a few more days until Rugby World Cup 2019 begins, who are the players we should be selecting?
EK – The best tip I can give going into the tournament is not to be fooled into believing that the players with the highest reputation will get the highest scores. Allan Dell or Stuart McInally were superb through the Six Nations, as was Tommaso Allan. Guido Petti had a great season for the Jaguares and will no doubt be great at the World Cup. Closer to home, Conor Murray is always a great pick, and for England, Jamie George and George Kruis were great in the Six Nations. At the moment the most signed player on the game is Owen Farrell.
FYB – Is Fantasy Rugby just for Rugby World Cup 2019?
EK – We run competitions for the Six Nations, Premiership and Super Rugby. The likelihood is that the main core of fantasy players in the club will play the Premiership, World Cup and Six Nations through the year, but the latter two being shorter competitions make it easier for those who want to dip in and out; they can still enjoy it even if they don’t want to go the whole year.
FYB – How can people get involved?
EK – Nice and easy, just sign up to the fantasy at https://therugbymagazine.com/fantasy and the site will do the rest. Chances are you’re club is already set up on the game, but if you want to get involved, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org