Respect Our Game IRFU Initiative


One of the main reasons why adults drop out of sport is that they feel “they didn’t belong or didn’t feel welcomed”.

Specifically, young players said that they weren’ ‘having fun’ anymore. When people, especially young people have a positive experience, they stay involved for longer and this can ineveitably lead those younger and newer members giving back to their club during the course of their membership.

The IRFU conducted a survey entitled ‘State of the Game‘ Survey back in 2022. From the analysis of the survey results, almost 55% of players, 43% of coaches and, an important statistic, 47% of referees surveyed feel that poor sideline behavior is a big threat to the game and made them reconsider their role in the game.

The IRFU are calling on all clubs to take part in a series of activities over this weekend (7th-8th October) to remind all involved in the game of rugby on and off the pitch that those values of the game, specifically the importance of RESPECT, for players, volunteers, members and spectators are vital to our game.

The purpose of the weekend is to highlight rugby values and to showcase all that is good about rugby through involvement in our club and other clubs around the country. It is our opportunity to showcase to new members and the local community in general, how rugby can positively contribute to our lives when carried out in a respectful and safe environment. Initiatives, such as fair play awards at adult games, silent/positive sidelines at youth games.

The IRFU will host competitions detailed below where people can capture what they think is a good gesture of respect in the game. Mini players can take part in a picture competition while youth and adults can participate in a media competition. Below are some ideas of activities that could be done over the weekend to celebrate ”RESPECT”


  • Club Fair Play Award – players nominate teammates or opposition players for fair play awards, spectators nominate teams – can be moments captured by videos/photographs and sent to club committee for judging.
  • The Video clips submitted for the competitions from games that highlighted Respect, Inclusivity and Integrity by players, coaches and volunteers. These clips may be used by the IRFU from promotional purposes.
  • Promote the IRFU Photography/video competition, submit pictures or video clips of examples of respect in the game, all entries to be submitted to your branch Spirit Officer contact info Below , please clearly mark these as Respect Our Game, stating category of entry as ‘adult’, entries to be submitted by Friday 13th October.

Youth Plans:

  • Know Your Role guidance is available through Spirit of Rugby Officer and CWO
  • Silent Sidelines (or Positive Sidelines) 
  • Lollipops could be used by the clubs to give to spectators to refrain from shouting
  • Club Welfare Officer delivers presentation to coaches and parents about available from Spirit of Rugby Officer
  • Promote the IRFU picture competition for mini players. – Players create a poster ‘What Respect Looks Like to Me’ .
  • Information for parents – with Play Your Part, Let Them Play video
  • Visit and distribute information from IRFU web page. Page reminds parents that the youth game belongs to our age-grade players, and that it’s ok to make mistakes,
  • This theme was highlighted by John O’Sullivan at the Spirit of Rugby Conference in January and this article contains some key messages for parents, 
  • Code of Conduct as bedtime reading so parents can discuss with players so they understand it –

Competition Entries

  • All entries to be submitted to our Leinster Branch Spirit Officer
  • Please clearly mark these as Respect Our Game, stating category of entry as ‘mini’ or ‘adult’
  • Entries to be submitted by Friday 20th October.
  • Prizes will include ‘Respect Our Game’ branded balls for the club and rugby gear for provincial winners