Why in Tag Rugby is a girl’s try worth twice that of a boys?

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Prior to puberty, there are no significant differences between boys and girls in height, weight, strength or endurance. Therefore, from a physical standpoint, children can participate equitably in all sports and physical activities on a coeducational basis until puberty. 

That is the not very surprising conclusion of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Sports Medicine Department that I found when I googled whether there was any significant variation between a boy and girl’s ability to participate in sports at primary school age (up to 11 in the UK).

This fits with what I would have presumed and reinforces the sense of outrage that my primary school teacher friend felt when she was researching tag rugby and found this caveat in the rules:

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Taking that there are no significant differences between boys and girls in height, weight, strength or endurance one has to wonder why a girl’s try would be valued at twice the score of a boys.

The stated aim is ‘to encourage greater teamwork’ but it offers no guidance on how having a separate scoring system for young girls than young boys encourages this teamwork. As far as I can see, all it does is highlight a difference between children which, at primary school age, is primarily not there.

I would be interested to hear from other P.E teachers, rugby coaches etc to see I’ve got the wrong end of the stick on this.

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3 Comments

Filed under Gender, Sport

3 responses to “Why in Tag Rugby is a girl’s try worth twice that of a boys?

  1. Patrick Hutton

    I’m in two minds about this.

    I’m against it because it seems like a form of positive discrimination for women, and against men. yofa21’s reply confirms this opinion for me.

    By contrast Alistair’s reply puts a good point for it.

    Incidentally this takes my back to my school days… sniff, sniff… I hated team sports because I was crap at them. More often than not I’d be one of the last to be picked for a team (I don’t know how things work now but back then for School Games time the teacher would pick two leaders for the two sides and then after a coin was tossed they would pick their team mates alternately. Now if this score rule was altered so that rather than being gender based it was based on the idea that the people least likely to be chosen would be the “double point scorers” then things could have altered.

    Or better still, teachers could keep a tally of the scores per pupil then the say; bottom 33% scorers would be the ones who get double points. Then it would be more gender blind too.

    Right that’s this issue sorted, beer cheques in the post please, and make them first class too I need them for Christmas.

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  2. By having female tries worth two points, it often creates a game within a game. Male player makes a break, before crossing the line looks for a female to pass to, to double the score, all whilst the defence frantically scrambles to mark the girls and stop this from happening. Try Tag Rugby’s mixed leagues also have a rule where females take the kick-off. This not only makes them more involved, but guarantees at least one female defends in the middle of the ruck, instead of the females getting squeezed out to the wings. It is a strange concept of reverse equality that takes a while to get your head around, but when adults have played the game and seen the rules in action, 99% of the time they will agree they are good additions to the game. Which incidentally is booming as a social sport in London and about to expand across the country.

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  3. yofa21

    It seems pretty obvious to me Steve. The intention is to make sure that girls don’t get left out. There may be no obvious physical differences in ability to play the sport at their age but there are negative societal messages about women and girls’ sporting abilities that they will have been subject to for several years. It may well be more of an issue in the adult game but the rule seems to apply for both adult and children’s games. It is about ‘involving the female members of your team’ (see http://www.trytagrugby.com/play-tag-rugby/faqs/)

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