- Start of Age Grade Rugby changes across England
- Changes affect boys and girls in clubs, schools, colleges and Constituent Bodies
Following a four year review of the Under 7 to U18 rugby, this weekend sees the start of the implementation of Age Grade Rugby changes for boys and girls in clubs, schools, colleges and Constituent Bodies within England.
These changes are based on recommendations of the Age Grade Competition Review (AGCR), approved by RFU Council in April 2015 which found:
- A lack of clarity of the competition pathway for young players.
- Conflict between club, school, college and the representative competition structure.
- A tendency to overplay the talented players and underplay the less able to achieve results.
To address these findings, Age Grade Rugby includes changes to the competition calendar, competition offer and the rules of the game for boys and girls playing in clubs, schools, colleges and in the representative pathway.
At the heart of these changes are the wants and needs of all young people with player enjoyment above all else to keep more young people enjoying the game for longer and into their adult years. The programme will be based on the principles of a player centred approach that is development driven, with a competition offer to support these principles.
What do these changes mean for the game and what must we do?
As the season commences it is important that the principles of Player Centred, Development Driven and Competition Supported underpin the game. The players and their motivations should be at the heart of all decisions. Schools, colleges and clubs must help all players to have a balanced playing/training programme that helps them enjoy their rugby. Here are some key reminders and helpful links:
Play to the Rules
- Keep player safety front and centre at all times
- The rules of play are the maximum point to which an age group can play – use flexibility but don’t go beyond them
- RFU rules of play are written in conjunction with World Rugby laws including U19 variations (eg. 1.5m push in scrum up to U19)
- Mixed (girls and boys) rugby is up to and including U11. Single-gender rugby starts from U12 with girls in dual age bands at U12/13, U14/15 and U16-18
- Lineout progression is introduced across the game at U14-16 for boys and girls. Other than the uncontested lift at U15, World Rugby Laws apply
Play to the Regulations
- Regulation 15 – Age Grade Rugby and supporting guidance is for everyone in the game and applicable in all environments and levels
- Observe the start and end dates of the season and only organise approved out-of-season rugby
- Obtain the right permissions for all activities from the CB/CSU or nationally as stated in regulation
- Meet the rules on playing up and down ages
- Align to the national menu and calendar – these are now the regulation of the age grade game
Play to the Competitive Menu (Click Here)
- Friendlies, Triangulars and Festivals only until U12 – all about maximum participation and driving inclusion based on player’s priorities
- Waterfall tournaments added at U12-13 with overall winners while every team plays same number of matches
- Knockouts start from U14 and Leagues from U15
Play to the Competition Playing Calendar (Click Here)
- This is not a priority calendar, it is not when schools/colleges play and when clubs play, it is not for schools and clubs to tell each other when they can and cannot play. It is a calendar of when organisers stage competitions and rep rugby to balance high intensity playing activities for all player’s benefit
- Clubs, schools and colleges can arrange and play at any time during the season.
- Competition organisers must place competitive opportunities at all levels in the blue weeks for schools and orange weeks for clubs (in all Girls rugby ages & at U12-16 for Boys)
- Competition organisers must align competitive opportunities to the Male U17-18 calendar – there are defined weeks, not windows at these ages
- Representative rugby organisers must align their activities to the yellow weeks
Old Mutual Wealth Kids First
As part of Age Grade Rugby, Old Mutual Wealth Kids First is England Rugby’s approach to the game for all children aged 6-13 in every club and school.
It gives children the opportunity to prosper through rugby by fostering an environment for having fun, learning and building confidence. More than 350 clubs and schools across the country have signed up to our five point pledge, committing to providing children with an experience that helps them flourish and enhances their enjoyment of rugby.
Club and schools can sign up to the pledge by asking their Club Chairman or Head Teacher to visit: https://www.englandrugby.com/my-rugby/players/kids-first-rugby
For more information on these changes and their rationale, please visit www.englandrugby.com/agegraderugby