Implementing the review

The Age Grade Competition Review (AGCR) implementation action plan is designed, based on the key principles, to define a more consistent integrated competitive offer and deliver building blocks to transition to the 15-a-side game. It supports and works with counties, clubs, schools and colleges to make the change and drive consistency, with the ultimate goal to create more game time for more players.

The target is for implementation in the 2016-17 season. All of the major elements start from September 2016 though there are some already underway (such as the New Rules of Play rollout) that will continue on their agreed course.

The detail ensures delivery of 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 and training and Continuous Professional Development for coaches, referees, parents, teachers and others.

Download the 12-point AGCR Implementation Action Plan and descriptors here (PDF 646kB).

The latest specific detail on the major areas is also available on the following links:

There are a number of implications that will require some change for those organising, delivering and playing rugby at Under 18 and below. These include:

Playing Framework

  • Mixed contact rugby finishes after U11
  • U13 dual age band for girls does not include U11s
  • 15 a side rugby starts at U14
  • U13 new rules are implemented nationally in 2016-17
  • Lineout introduction is delayed to U14

Competitive Diet and Season

  • A nationally-defined consistent menu of national and county competitions per age group
  • No formal league rugby before U15
  • Competitive festivals before U12, not competitions/tournaments that find overall winners
  • Competitions and Rep Rugby at all levels (local to CB to national) to be played in specific, nationally-consistent windows in the season

Representative Pathway

  • Formation of Regional Player Pathway Groups to drive the programme
  • Divisional representative level replaced by regional programme matched with the 14 Regional Academies at U16 (from 2015-16)
  • No representative rugby before U15
  • No district programmes at U16

Between April and September 2015, an information and awareness campaign shares the plan detail to ensure that everyone involved in Age Grade rugby union knows how the game looks from September 2016 onwards. Regular updates on these pages at, in Touchline and other game communications are key to keeping everyone informed.

A series of resources, events and support programmes continue through to and beyond the start of the 2016-17 season. The RFU is committed to helping the game to make the changes and to be ready for the kick-off in September 2016.