A WELLINGTON School sports coach is urging English rugby to begin grouping young players together based on physical maturity, rather than their age, after the school staged its first ‘bio-banding’ match last week.

Steffan Jones, director of sport at Wellington School, says the current system of selection, based on age, needs be reviewed – and believes ‘bio-banding’ could be the way forward.

Bio-banding is a system currently used in New Zealand, by which players compete against players of a similar size, helping them to build-up their skills and aiding their development.

Jones believes there is currently too much emphasis on size and power, and not enough on the game’s finer skills – which, in Jones’ opinion, has led English rugby to stall on the world stage.

Jones said: “The game is American football without the pads or helmets.

“It’s just about joining the dots in terms of the pattern you’re playing and picking beasts.

“The most important person on the staff now is the strength and conditioner.

“For me that’s wrong.

“I say to the big lads: ‘why do you want to run into someone?

“Isn’t it easier to pass the ball and take out three defenders? Or sidestep like Jason Robinson?”

Jones, a former professional rugby player at Bristol and Exeter, staged a ‘bio-banding match’ at Wellington School last week, between the School and Castle School, Taunton.

He feels strongly about taking the game of rugby back to basics, in the belief that it will lead to English success on the international stage.

The noise around Jones’ call has caught the attention of the local and national media and last weekend, Jones was quoted in an article about England Rugby’s lack of success since the World Cup winning side of 2003.

The BBC have interviewed Jones for the Inside Out South West programme, also featuring the bio-banding match played between Wellington School and Castle School.

The programme went out on Monday (February 8) at 7.30pm.

Photo: Wellington School versus Castle School, Taunton Bio Banding Rugby Match