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2020-21 Club Rugby Editorial Schools

Changes to The Front Row Union

We have taken advantage of the lack of activity on the pitches to make several important changes to the website with a view to making it more responsive and easier to navigate. We have been able to do this thanks to the continued support of our members.

We started the work last March but, in the intervening time, there have been three major updates to WordPress, the content management system we use, which slowed progress slightly. The updates have allowed us to do so much more to supercharge the site but they have also meant that we have had to go back and retweak older posts again, largely to fix minor formatting issues with past workarounds. This work will be ongoing until March 2021.

However, we now have the layout we want and we’ve future proofed the site for future expansion. The site is now fully navigable by International Rugby, Provincial Rugby, Club Rugby and Schools Rugby OR by individual clubs and teams, OR by specific competitions. What started as a web page to share a few photos with friends (before Facebook and Twitter etc.) has grown into the most comprehensive record of rugby on this island and in Ulster in particular.

You can view the numbers and the main navigation options in the web story below.

Hopefully the navigation is fairly intuitive but with over 270 clubs and teams covered in over 75 competitions, ranging from World Cups to U16 Club Friendlies, there are a few options! However the general flow we are going for is shown below.

PRINTS

We have also started to use the same flow on our prints and downloads section but there are still quite a few galleries we have to move across and that work will probably take until the start of next season, whenever that is!

By the time we have finished, both the standard site and the prints and downloads section will be searchable by Club or Team, by Competition and by Individual Player. You can see some of these options on the Prints section by clicking below.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS >

INDIVIDUAL CLUBS >

Note that we are still working through all our articles and galleries to ensure that they are correctly tagged so that they appear where they should appear and if there is anyone out there with a bit of free time then see below.

HELP WELCOME

We want to work with Clubs and Schools on a cooperative basis. The more information we can get from a club or school the better the quality of our coverage. Historically we have worked closely with Women’s Club Rugby in Ireland and our coverage of the women’s game is exceptional. We would like to expand this type of relationship across more categories.

It’s likely that things will remain quiet for a month or two yet so if you are a club PRO, an informed club/school player or someone that wants to learn a bit more about what we do and how we do it, and you have a bit of free time, then please contact us now.

We can use help with identifying club players, checking players names and tagging players in images. If you would like to get really involved we can also show you how to edit and format match reports live on the site.

You can give us a shout on WhatsApp by clicking below

Or just drop an email to john@thefrontrowunion.com and well get back to you.

MEMBERSHIP

Our subscription members and our member clubs have been absolutely vital in enabling us to continue to run the site. We will find a way to thank each and every one of you when things return to normal.

Unfortunately, we have lost over 80% of our income over the last 9 months and it’s getting particularly tight. We appreciate that these are difficult times for a lot of people but if your circumstances allow you to contribute a small sum each month we would really appreciate any non members or lapsed members signing up or reactivating one of our membership options.

You can sign up for subscriptions of one off payments here

When circumstances return to normal we will work with our registered members to ensure an appropriate thank you for your continued support.

MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR

Leaving aside the financial difficulties, the last nine months have been a rewarding time on the site and we have finally been able to get the site working as it should.

Believe it or not, with our coverage of World Rugby U20 Championships in May/June and Ulster U18 Schools and Ulster U18 Clubs starting up in August our “season” had become all year round and it was difficult to find time to work on the back end. Couple this with over 10 years worth of, sometimes sporadic, coverage of various competitions and leagues things had become a bit messy.

It has been a welcome chance to sort the site out, rework our categories and tagging and, more importantly, put in a solid navigation structure that will allow us to expand indefinitely. We’ve cut back on a lot of the “quick fix” coding and formatting changes we made along the way and we now have a silky smooth site that looks equally pleasing on mobile and widescreen.

We still have quite a few minor formatting fixes to complete but it’s just a case of working through our content and if you find anything that doesn’t look as it should please send the link to john@thefrontrowunion.com and we’ll get it tidied up as soon as possible.

If you find yourself with some unexpected free time or just have an interest in sports media and you would like to get involved please don’t hesitate to get in touch via the links in Help Welcome above.

With regard to members, thank you for your support over the last couple of years. It genuinely has kept us going. I haven’t spent much time woking on the programming behind our members controls but I have removed the Two Factor Authentication and given all member levels access to all the site while the current disruption continues. If you have any issues at all accessing any member content give us a shout on members@thefrontrowunion.com and we’ll get it sorted as soon as possible.

Thank’s again and here’s to the next 10 years.

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