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Last Updated: Thursday October 01 2009 17:54 GMT

Ricky finds out why Irish rugby has no winners

Ricky in Northern Ireland

Ricky finds out whether winning in sport matters

Winning is a huge part of any sporting tournament with lifting the trophy at the end as the ultimate aim.

But officials across Ireland have banned mini-rugby tournaments because they don't want any club to end up as the ultimate winner.

We sent Ricky to Northern Ireland to find out more about the new rules...


"Winning is a huge part of any sporting tournament. Like Wimbledon or even the World Cup, the ultimate aim is to lift that trophy at the end.

But officials in Ireland have now banned mini-rugby tournaments because they don't want any club to end up as the ultimate winner.

Instead they want rugby to be about fun, including as many kids as possible in the sport.

Sport festivals

This season, young players WILL be able to play one-on-one matches where there's a winner at the end of the game. However they WON'T be able to play in tournaments where the ultimate goal is to be top of the table.

Instead clubs in Northern Ireland, with players under the age of 12, will be able to enter festivals where teams just play for fun.

It's part of a new set of rules based on a model that's changed the way sport is taught in Australia.

Children playing mini-rugby
Officials say it's the taking part and NOT the winning that should matter

The Irish Rugby Football Union have now brought the rules to the UK and they're hoping it will get more kids involved in rugby, no matter what their ability is, without having to be competitive.

In the past officials have argued that rugby coaches were only picking their best players for tournaments, and by getting rid of the end of season win, more kids will get a chance to play and maybe take up the sport in the future.

Confusing

I spoke to some budding rugby players aged between six and 12.

Is winning important?
Manchester United celebrating after winning the 2009 Premier League

Most of them said the new rules were a bit confusing and they were upset that they couldn't participate in this year's tournament. They say it's the highlight of their sporting calendar.

A few of the kids said they didn't mind. They reckon sport is more about the taking part than the winning.

Once the players are over 12 they can compete in tournaments again.

So what do you reckon? Is sport all about the winning or is the taking part that really matters?"

Ricky