RFU REGULATION 15 – AGE GRADE RUGBY Appendix 5 Under 11s
Effective from 1 August 2016
UNDER 11s RULES OF PLAY (Transitional Contact)
Players and match officials must ensure that the following Rules of Play and RFU
Regulation 15 www.englandrugby.com/governance/regulations are observed when playing rugby at Under 11.
These Under 11s Rules of Play set out below are mandatory for clubs and schools, and replace the previous Under 11s Rules of Play in their entirety.
Any terms defined in these Rules shall have the meanings set out in the World Rugby
Laws of the Game.
The key elements of the Under 11s Rules of Play are:
• Team numbers: a maximum of 9-a-side
• Maximum pitch size: 60 metres x 43 metres
• Ball Size: 4
• Maximum minutes each half: 20
• Introduction of the contested strike
• Nearest 3 players in a scrum (all players trained, late specialisation)
• Contest for the ball (2 players v 2 players)
• Introduction of tactical kicking and kicking restarts
a) The object of the game is to score a try by placing the ball with a downward pressure on or behind the opponents’ goal line. A penalty try will be awarded if a try would probably have been scored but for an infringement by the defending team.
b) Only infringements that affect the opposition’s play should be
sanctioned. If there is no effect, advantage should be played wherever
it is safe to do so.
a) Under 11 Rugby is played between teams of equal numbers of
players, containing a maximum of nine players from each team on
the pitch at any one time.
b) Rolling substitutions are permitted and substituted players can
return at any time. Substitutions can only take place when the ball is dead and always with the referee’s permission.
c) Coaches are not permitted on the pitch when the game is in play and the referee is encouraged to advise and guide the teams and players.
3. Pitch Size:
a) The maximum pitch size is 60 metres by 43 metres, plus 5 metres for
each in-goal area.
b) The referee and coaches may agree to reduce the pitch sizes provided that they agree it is safe to do so.
c) Adjacent pitches should be no closer than 5 metres.
d) Provision should be made to indicate the position of the place 15
metres from each goal line, serving a similar purpose to the 22 metre line in the World Rugby Laws of the Game.
4. Starts and Restarts:
a) A drop kick from the centre of the half way line will be used to start each half of the game, and for all restarts after a score. After a score, the opponents of the team who scored will have the option to receive the kick or kick off themselves.
b) The kicker’s team must be behind the ball until it has been kicked and the non-kicking team must be at least 7 metres back from the half way line.
c) If the ball does not travel 7 metres but is first played by an opponent, play continues.
d) If the ball does not travel 7 metres or is played by the kicking team before reaching 7 metres or is kicked directly into touch, the nonkicking team will have the choice of:
i. A throw in to a scrum at the centre of the half way line.
ii. The kick to be re-taken.
e) Where players of the kicking team are in front of the ball , the nonkicking
team shall have a throw in to a scrum at the centre of the half
f) If the ball is kicked into the opponents’ in-goal, without having
touched or been touched by a player and is then immediately
touched down or made dead, or the ball goes into touch in goal, the non-kicking team has the choice of:
i. A throw in to a scrum at the centre of the half way line.
ii. The kick to be re-taken.
5. Free kick:
a) After the following infringements, a free kick will be awarded to the non-offending team:
i. Foul Play
iii. When a fend off or hand off has been used
iv. When a ball carrier uses the “squeezeball” technique.
Note: ‘’Squeezeball” is a technique where the ball
carrier goes to ground, head forward (touching or close
to the ground), irrespective of immediate contact with
opponents, usually keeping parallel to the touchline,
holding and protecting the ball close to the chest and,
when on the ground, pushing the ball back between the
v. When a player voluntarily falls on or over a player lying on
the ground with the ball in their possession or voluntarily
falls on or over players lying on the ground with the ball
between them, or near them.
vi. When a player is prevented by the opposition from
passing the ball when the ball has gone to ground.
vii. When a team pushes in the scrum.
b) A free kick is a kick from the hand. This can either be a tap by the player to themself, or a kick to gain ground. Opponents must be 7 metres back, towards their own goal line.
a) The ball may only be passed sideways or backwards. If the ball is handed to another player who is in front of the ball carrier or passed or knocked forwards towards the opponents’ dead ball line, a scrum is awarded to the non-offending team. Referees should play advantage wherever it is safe to do so.
b) Where the ball has been ripped from the ball carrier, whether by the attacker or defender, the ball must be passed immediately away from the contact area.
7. Free Passes:
a) A free pass is awarded:
i. When the ball or ball carrier has gone into touch. The free
pass is 5 metres from touch, level with where the ball or
ball carrier went into touch.
ii. When a tackler makes contact above the armpits.
b) At a free pass, the opposition must be 7 metres back from the mark.
At a free pass, the passer must start with the ball in both hands and, when the referee calls “Play”, pass the ball backwards through the air to a member of their team. For safety reasons, no player from either team may run until the pass is made.
8. The Tackle, Maul and Ruck:
a) A “Tackle” occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more
opponents and is brought to ground. A ball carrier who is not held
is not a tackled player and a tackle has not taken place. Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and bring that player to ground, and who also go to ground, are known as tacklers. Opposition players who hold the ball carrier and do not go to ground are not tacklers.
The tackle must include the use of arms. Where the ball carrier is
taken to ground, the referee will call “Tackle-Release”.
b) A “maul” begins when a player carrying the ball is held by one or more opponents and one of the ball carrier’s team mates bind on
the ball carrier. A maul therefore consists, when it begins, of at least three players, all on their feet; the ball carrier and one player from each team. No more than 3 players from either team (including the ball carrier and tackler) can be involved in the maul. All the players involved must be caught in or bound to the maul and must be on their feet and moving towards a goal line. Open play has ended.
c) A “ruck” is a phase a play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground. Open play has ended. Players are rucking when they are in a ruck and using their feet to try to win or keep possession of the ball, without being guilty of foul play. No more than three players from either team (including the ball carrier and tackler) can be involved in the ruck.
d) Only the ball carrier can be tackled. The ball carrier can run and dodge potential tacklers but may not fend them off using their hands or the ball.
e) The tackler must grasp the ball carrier below the armpits, on the shirt, shorts or around the legs.
f) When the ball carrier grounds the ball on or over the opponents’ goal line, a try will be awarded.
g) When the ball carrier is held and remains on their feet they may continue to progress forward. Once forward momentum has been
stopped, the ball must be played away from the contact area.
h) When the ball carrier is not taken to ground, the tackler may contest the ball by grabbing it.
i) When the ball carrier is taken to ground, the tackler must immediately release the ball carrier and must get to their feet before contesting the ball or blocking the pass.
j) If the ball carrier is taken to ground and the referee calls “Tackle- Release”, the ball carrier must pass the ball immediately, or roll away or place the ball towards their own team.
k) When a maul is formed the ball must be made available within 5
seconds. The referee should call “Use it” and the ball should be
moved away from the contact area. If neither team can pass the ball
away, a scrum should be awarded to the team not in possession when
the maul began.
l) When the tackle is made the team in possession of the ball may only support from behind.
m) When the tackle is made and the ball carrier is on the ground, TWO supporting players from each team, who must remain on their feet,may:
i. rip the ball from the ball carrier but must then pass the
ball immediately to a team mate; or
ii. pick up the ball and pass away from the contact area; or
iii. if a ruck is not formed, pick up the ball and run; or
iv. up to TWO players may join to form a ruck but must do
so from their own side (i.e. from the direction of their own
goal line) and drive over the ball, in an attempt to take
their immediate opponents away from the ball.
n) If m)iv. above has taken place, the next arriving player must pass the ball to another player.
o) When the ball has been clearly won by a team at a ruck and the ball is available to be played the referee will call “Use it” after which the ball must be played within 5 seconds. If the ball is not played within 5 seconds the referee will award a scrum and the team not in possession of the ball at the ruck is awarded the throw-in.
p) Support players must not stand either side and in close proximity to
the ball carrier to prevent defenders from making the next tackle.
a) Kicking the ball when it is on the ground is prohibited (often referred to as a ‘fly-hack’).
b) If the ball is kicked from outside of the 22 metre line (15m) directly into touch, a free pass is awarded to opposing team in line with
where the ball was kicked and 5 metres in from the touchline, unless the non-kicking team elects to take a quick throw-in, in accordance with 9(g).
c) A mark may be made anywhere on the pitch, with a clean catch
direct from an opponent’s kick, other than from a restart or a free kick. For a successful mark, the referee will award a free kick to the catcher’s team.
d) Other than from a restart, a free kick or charge down, if from a kick
the ball is played in flight by a player of the non-kicking team and knocked forward, a scrum will be awarded to the non-kicking team from where the ball is touched.
e) If from a kick the non-kicking team plays the ball and it goes
backward, advantage can be played to the non-kicking team. Where
no advantage is gained a scrum should be awarded to the nonkicking
f) Drop goals are not permitted.
g) Where the kick goes into touch, the non-kicking team has the option to take a quick throw in, in preference to the free pass, unless it has been touched by a spectator (including coaches/replacements). It must be the same ball that was kicked into touch. For a quick throwin, the player may be anywhere outside the field of play between the line of touch and the player’s goal line. If the ball is brought back into the field of play, or players from the kicking team are in close proximity before the throw can be taken the referee should award a
free-kick in accordance with the rules above.
10. Actions Inside the 22 Metre Line (the “22”):
a) If the ball is kicked from within the 22 by the defending team and goes directly into touch, a free pass will be awarded to the nonkicking team 5 metres in from the touchline, level with where the ball crossed the touchline. If the ball had been passed back into the “22” by the defending team and there had been no subsequent ruck, maul, tackle or the ball had touched an opposition player, the free pass will be level with where the ball was kicked.
b) A drop out “22” will be awarded:
i. when the ball is kicked into in-goal by the attacking team
and made dead by a defender; or
ii. when the ball is kicked, sent or carried into in-goal by the
attacking team and the ball touches or crosses touch-ingoal
or dead ball line.
11. Ball to Ground:
a) Players must play rugby on their feet, with the ball in hand.
b) If the ball goes to ground, players should be encouraged to pick it up. If they dive to recover the ball they must either get up with the ball, pass the ball or release it immediately and be allowed to do so by the opposition.
c) If the ball is lost forward, a scrum is awarded to the non-offending team unless advantage occurs to the non-offending team.
d) If the ball is passed other than forward and goes to ground, play will continue and either team may pick up the ball. If the ball rolls into touch a free pass will be awarded 5 metres from the touchline level with where it crossed the touchline to the non-offending team.
a) A scrum will be awarded for:
i. a forward pass; or
ii. a knock on; or
iii. where the ball does not emerge from a maul or ruck; or
iv. where the ball becomes unplayable.
b) The scrum will consist of 3 players from each team, i.e. a prop on either side of the hooker. They will be the nearest 3 players from either side, with the fourth nearest acting as scrum half. All players should be encouraged to take part.
c) The referee will call “Crouch” and then “Bind”. The front rows crouch
and using their outside arm, each prop must bind onto the back or
side of their opponent. Following a pause, the referee will call “Set” only when the front rows are ready. The front rows may then engage.
d) Front rows must not charge at each other. If they start to set too close together and with their necks and backs bent, the scrum must be stopped and the scrum reformed. Props’ body positions must be parallel to the touchline, their head and shoulders must be no lower than the hips and there must be no downward pressure exerted. Shoulders must never be below the level of the hips at any stage of the scrum.
e) Only the hookers may strike for the ball. Neither team may push.
Note to referee: Referees and coaches MUST be aware of the following:
If the scrum collapses, the whistle must immediately be blown and
the appropriate sanction awarded or the scrum reset. If a player is persistently involved in collapsing or illegal binding, they must not take any further part in the scrum or if a player’s lack of technique or strength is a danger, they must be replaced. All players, including replacements, should be suitably trained and experienced.
f) Once the ball has been won, the scrum half must pass the ball from the base of the scrum. They cannot run with it.
g) The back line of both teams must remain 5 metres behind the scrum until the ball emerges or the opposing scrum half lifts the ball from the ground. Until this happens, the non-throwing scrum half must remain directly behind their scrum, in the pocket edged by the two props.
h) If a scrum is awarded within 5 metres of the goal line, the scrum is to be taken at a mark such that the middle line of the scrum is 5 metres from the goal line. In this case the backs of the defending team must stay on or behind the goal line until the scrum is completed.
Note : Referees should pay particular attention to ensure that the
scrum half throwing the ball into the scrum is not “feeding” their
own players: the scrum half must hold the ball with both hands, with its major axis parallel to the ground and to the touchline, midway between their knees and ankles. The scrum half must release the ball from outside the tunnel so that it lands midway between the two front rows and beyond the width of the nearer prop’s shoulders.
a) In general play, anyone who is in front of a team mate who has played the ball is liable to sanction unless they return to an onside position (i.e. behind the team mate who played the ball).
b) At the tackle, there are two offside lines at the hindmost part of the tackled player and tackler. All other players from either team must retire towards their own goal line until they are behind the hindmost
part of the tackled player and tackler.
c) At the maul, the offside lines are at the hindmost foot of the hindmost player in the maul.
d) At the ruck, the offside lines are at the hindmost foot of the hindmost player in the ruck.
e) At the scrum, a player is offside if they are less than 5 metres from the scrum before the ball is out of the scrum, unless the player is the scrum half or participating in the scrum.
f) When kicking, a player is offside if they are in front of the ball when it is kicked or within 7 metres of an opponent waiting to play the ball (or the place where the ball will land).
a) The ball carrier may run and dodge potential tacklers but cannot fend or hand them off with their hand or the ball.
b) The tackler must not make contact with the ball carrier above the armpits.
c) No player shall use the technique known or referred to as
“Squeezeball”. No person involved in the teaching or coaching of
rugby may teach or coach to encourage the use of the “Squeezeball”
d) No player shall fall on or over a player lying on the ground with the ball in their possession or fall on or over players lying on the ground with the ball between them, or near them.
e) Contact with players not in possession.
f) Foul play.
g) Pushing at the scrum.
Note to referee: No advantage shall be played:
A player is assumed to have fallen voluntarily unless the referee is absolutely certain the fall was accidental.
In the very rare instances when the fall is accidental, play must be stopped and a scrum awarded to the team previously in possession.
The object is to keep players on their feet and to prevent them from falling to the ground, thus removing a dangerous area of play. This will create proper rucks and mauls through encouraging players to remain on their feet.