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RFU Regulation 15 - Age Grade Rugby

RFU Age Grade Regulations - see Regulation 15

The regulations and guidance were changed in August 2012 in order to assist in developing children and young players in the most appropriate and safest way, with long term development and retention being the ultimate aim.

There is lots of useful stuff on the RFU's Age Grade Rugby webs pages and a summary below but you should read the full regulations and the associated guidance: (Link to RFU web site above)

Another important document to be familiar with is Codes of Practice


Summary of regulation changes:

Clubs and schools with a small number of players are able to apply to band the following age grades together for training and competitive fixtures:
U7s and U8s
U9s and U10s
U11s and U12s
Head teachers (schools) and Constituent Bodies (clubs) have the authority to approve this.

There is much more flexibility for U6s to U8s to play and train together.

U12s to U18s are permitted to play up one grade with the relevant consents.

There is more flexibility in relation to playing down all ages. Players are permitted to play down one age grade if they are in the younger academic year or small in stature rather than having to rely solely on showing a developmental or physical disability. 

At U12 and below, Constituent Bodies (clubs) and Head teachers (or who they elect within the school) are able to make this decision. 
At U13 and above, in club rugby the parents or guardians are able to make this decision and in schools’ rugby, the Head teacher.

Training in certain combined age grades is permitted.

More responsibility and power to issue certain dispensations is delegated to the Constituent Bodies, Schools' CSUs or Head Teachers and parents so that informed decisions can be made at a more local level with knowledge of the full facts rather than remotely at the RFU.

There is more flexibility and clarity as to what activity is permitted during the season and outside of the season and less activity will require RFU approval.

U13  – U18 squads are able to undertake pre-season contact training two weeks before the start of the season.

U16s are not able to play in the front row of the scrum if playing up two age grades unless they are in the England Academy set up or England Age Grade teams (not regional academies).
This decision was made due to medical research undertaken by Bath University, the IRB & RFU that shows the forces in the U18 scrum and the effect it can have on an U18.

The regulations relating to girls’ age grade rugby are now integrated into Regulation 15.

Together, these changes allow greater flexibility for the delivery rugby and allow the player to be the focal point of any decision and risk assessment.  The regulations also mean that there is more consistency between the school and club game.

More advice?

A full copy of the regulations and the accompanying documents is available on englandrugby.com:  
Age Grade Regulations. 

Feedback and Assistance

Should you have any questions in relation to the age grade regulations, RFU/ and ERFSU are very happy to assist.  Please contact

RFU Education Development Department
RFU Legal Department

Alternatively, contact the Kent Schools administrator at ksrfu@dhwt.co.uk