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Pembrokeshire Vikings awarded Mental Health Charity of the Year


About Us

Pembrokeshire Vikings are an over 16s mixed ability rugby team, enabling individuals with all types of physical and mental disabilities to engage in mainstream sport, alongside experienced players.


We are lead by our amazing Head Coach - Simon Gardiner, an ex Scarlets and Ospreys player, who is supported by a strong team of assistant coaches.


The team was set initially up in November 2019, at 'Haverfordwest Rugby Football Club'. Since then, we have grown massively thanks to the support of the community, and in January 2022 we officially became based in 'Milford Haven Rugby Football Club'. 

We are very excited about what the future holds for Pembrokeshire Vikings and we want as many of you to join us on our path to glory! 


Mixed Ability Rugby is a form of the 15-a-side game, played in many countries around the world, and there are currently 7 Mixed Ability Rugby teams established in Wales. Teams are made up of non-disabled players and players with varying disabilities. Contact level is adapted to suit the individuals, such as uncontested scrums - meaning there is no pushing that could lead to injury.

Players can train from age 16 and participate in games from the age of 18.

In Mixed Ability Rugby we accommodate a range of disabilities.

Player disabilities vary greatly, including, but not limited to:

  • Learning disabilities

  • Heart conditions

  • Downs Syndrome

  • Physical disabilities, such as amputees, and,

  • Sensory Impairments, such as hearing or visual


The Contact Element

Whilst some players, carers, or parents may be worried or sceptical about contact -  contact is the essence of Rugby and a big reason for its popularity. Most players enjoy the physicality, regardless of ability, but steps can be taken to reduce the level of contact for certain players in order to reduce risk or chance of avoidable injury.

In Mixed Ability Rugby the level of contact a player will participate in depends on the individuals’ ability or medical condition. This can be shown visually by use of different coloured bibs, shorts or headguards, or relayed verbally to opposition teams in a pre-match talk (this method is used by teams that do not want to visually single out players).

It is recommended that, if utilising visual cues, that bibs  are used as these are more visible and obvious than shorts or headguards. They provide a fairly large area of block colour and are easily stocked as part of the kit bag.


Please see below for the standardised the 3 level system that the Pembrokeshire Vikings follow for contact during play:

  1. Full Contact - Playing shirt

  2. Limited Contact - Orange Bib

  3. Touch Only - Luminous Yellow bib

Levels 1 and 3 are self-explanatory. Level 2 is introduced as a 'be mindful' indicator.  Players still want contact, but it lets the opposition know not to go in too hard, steal the ball in contact, or be overly aggressive in the ruck. It’s partly for safety, partly for fairness.

Player A likes to run with the ball into contact (and doesn't understand the concept of no contact - he'll just continue to run), but in a recent game he was hit hard by one of the opposition team, thankfully he was not injured, but there were concerns for his safety. There have been other times when the opposition have stolen the ball in contact (taking sweets from a baby springs to mind - it’s not clever, and certainly doesn't show the physical prowess of a strong able-bodied player, but they simply may not know the ability of the player).  So the middle level is introduced for this reason - it is to provide a leveller and a better experience for all.

All three levels could apply to any player (i.e. Player B is almost 60, and has no disability, but it may be suitable to now put him in an Orange bib.  Player C is recovering from a dislocated shoulder - he is only 22, a strong and capable player, but it would be sensible to put him in a no contact bib until his shoulder is fully recovered. Player D,  on the other hand, has learning difficulties, but is more than capable of taking full contact).  


Non-Disabled Players

Many non-disabled players who participate in Mixed Ability Rugby are older players who want to stay involved in the game. Mixed Ability Rugby gives them a great opportunity to get back playing in a less intense environment, but also be able to help provide positive rugby experiences to the disabled players in their team, by passing on their knowledge, experience, and love of the game.



Overall, Mixed Ability Rugby is not just about the sport. It’s a great medium to provide not only physical activity, but help develop social skills, build friendships, and resilience through being part of a team, win or lose, on and off the pitch.

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