Age Grade Rugby

Following an RFU led four year review of rugby for under 18’s, in consultation with a wide cross section of the game, Age Grade Rugby has rolled out since September 2016. From September 2019 the half game rule (FAQ here) is being implemented, which ensures that everyone in the match day squad gets to play at least half the game time available.

Age Grade Rugby is based on the principles of player centred, development driven and competition supported. The wants and needs of young people will be at its heart. It will put player enjoyment above all else to keep more young people enjoying the game for longer and into their adult years.

Hampstead RFC has implemented the new structures and principles of Age Grade Rugby since its inception, and has focussed on the APES principal when coaching age grade rugby (Active, Purposeful, Enjoyable, Safe)

Key Links and Information:

RFU 2018/2019 full regulations can be downloaded here

Pages Numbers for age grade rugby are below

Regulation 15 - Page 186
Mixed Boys & Girls
u7 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 1 - Page 197
u8 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 2 - Page 203
u9 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 3 - Page 209
u10 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 4 - Page 215
u11 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 5 - Page 222
Boys Only
u12 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 6 - Page 231 [boys only]
u13 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 7 - Page 240 [boys only]
u14 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 8 - Page 249 [boys only]
u15-u18 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 9 - Page 258 [boys only]
Girls Only
u13 Rules of Play - Reg 15 App 10 - Page 261 [girls only]
u15-u18 Variations to World Rugby Laws - Reg 15 App 11 - Page 261 [girls only]

Age Grade Rugby will ensure:
  • Consistent age bandings and incremental player progressions for all age grade rugby
  • A nationally consistent playing menu and calendar that increases inclusivity, clarifies player priorities and dovetails club, school, college competitions
  • An integrated England Rugby Player Development pathway and representative framework
  • Training and Continuous Professional Development for coaches, referees, parents, teachers and others.

As part of the review young people told the RFU that, above all else, they wanted to have fun playing rugby with their friends. Both expert opinion and the RFU’s own research have shown that emphasis has historically been placed on winning, with evidence of over playing the able players and under playing those less able players to achieve results. Age Grade Rugby will put inclusivity and each player’s skill development first, with the increasing intensity of competition introduced later. Young players will start with festivals and triangulars and progress to knockouts, tournaments and leagues as they get older and develop their game.

Experts believe rugby is a late specialism sport and recommend that the representative rugby programme should wait until U15 when players have matured. The RFU’s player development programme will be shaped to ensure that it complements the rest of the age grade game as well as identifying and developing the more able players and providing them with higher intensity competitive opportunities. It will also ensure a focus on their core playing programme in clubs, schools and colleges so that selection and representative rugby balances with the rest of a player’s season and motivations for taking part in rugby union.

Key changes include:

  • 15-a-side rugby starts at U14. U13 teams will play 13-a-side.
  • Lineouts are uncontested up to U16 age group
  • Girls can no longer play with boys in the U12s age group. Instead they will need to join U13 girl’s teams. (Harrow RFC does not have girls’s teams at U12 or above).
  • U13 and U14 boys will no longer play in leagues. The Herts and Middlesex Junior Leagues will still administer the U13 and U14 structure. For more information visit:
  • As of September 2016, there will be NO streaming in Mini Rugby within Middlesex Rugby i.e. no A or B teams in U7 – U12 age groups. All clubs and teams are encouraged to adopt a fully inclusive, mixed-ability, balanced team structure.