RFU REGULATION 15 – AGE GRADE RUGBY Appendix 4 Under 10s
Effective from 1 August 2016
UNDER 10s 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 10.
These Under 10s Rules of Play set out below are mandatory for clubs and schools, and replace the previous Under 10s 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 10s Rules of Play are:
• Team numbers: a maximum of 8-a-side
• Maximum pitch size: 60 metres x 35 metres
• Ball Size: 4
• Maximum minutes each half: 15
• Introduction of uncontested scrum
• Nearest 3 players in a scrum (all players trained, late specialisation)
• Contest for the ball (1 player v 1 player)
• Introduction of Maul
• Introduction of Ruck
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 an opponent.
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 10 Rugby is played between teams of equal numbers of
players, containing a maximum of eight 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 35 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.
a) The ball may only be passed sideways or backwards. If the ball
is handed to another player who is in front or passed or knocked
forwards towards the opponents’ dead ball line then a scrum is
awarded to the non-offending team, unless advantage occurs to the
non-offending team. In order to keep the game flowing, referees
should play advantage wherever possible.
b) Where the ball has been ripped from the ball carrier, whether by a
team mate or opponent, the ball must be passed immediately away
from the contact area.
5. Free Passes:
a) A free pass is awarded:
i. To start the match at the beginning of each half and
following a score, from the centre of the pitch.
ii. After 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.
iii. Where there is offside and no advantage.
iv. Where a fend-off or hand-off has been used.
v. When there has been an infringement.
vi. Once forward momentum has been stopped and the ball
has not been played away from the contact area - tackle,
maul or ruck.
vii. When the tackler makes contact above the shoulder.
viii. When a team contests, pushes or strikes for the ball in the
ix. In the event that a ball carrier uses the “Squeezeball”
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
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.
6. 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.
b) Where the ball carrier is taken to ground, the referee will call “Tackle-
c) A “maul” begins when a player carrying the ball is held by one or two
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 two 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.
d) A “ruck” is a phase of play where one or two 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 two players from
either team (including the ball carrier and tackler) can be involved
in the ruck.
e) Only the ball carrier can be tackled. The ball carrier can run and
dodge potential tacklers but cannot fend them off using their hands
or the ball.
f) The tackler must grasp the ball carrier below the armpits, on the
shirt, shorts or around the legs.
g) When the ball carrier grounds the ball on or over the opponents’ goal
line, a try will be awarded.
h) When the ball carrier is held in contact 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
i) When the ball carrier has not been taken to ground, the tackler may
contest the ball by grabbing it.
j) When the ball carrier is taken to ground, the tackler must immediately
release the ball carrier and must get to their feet as soon as possible
before they are permitted to contest the ball or block the pass.
k) If the ball carrier is taken to ground and the referee calls “Tackle-
Release”, the ball carrier must pass the ball immediately, roll away or
place the ball towards their own team.
l) 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 pass the ball
away, a free pass should be awarded to the team not in possession
when the maul began.
m) When the tackle is made the team in possession of the ball may only
support from behind.
n) When the tackle is made and the ball carrier is on the ground, ONE
supporting player from each team, who must remain on their feet,
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. join to form a ruck but must do so from their own side (i.e.
from the direction of their own goal line) and attempt to
drive over the ball, in an attempt to take their immediate
opponents away from the ball.
o) If n)iv. above has taken place, the next arriving player must pass the
ball to another player.
p) 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 free pass to the team not in
possession of the ball at the ruck.
q) Support players must not stand either side and in close proximity to
the ball carrier to prevent defenders from making the next tackle.
a) A scrum will be awarded for:
i. a forward pass; or
ii. a knock on.
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 then call
“Set” 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.
e) The scrum is uncontested and the team awarded the scrum will
throw the ball into the scrum. Neither team may contest or push.
Only the team throwing the ball in may strike for the ball.
Note: 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 then they must be replaced. All players,
including replacements, should be suitably trained and experienced.
f) The scrum half must pass the ball from the base of the scrum. They
must not run with the ball.
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 scrum half of the non-throwing in
team 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
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, the offside line is the hindmost foot of the hindmost
player of each team. All the other players 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 line is the hindmost foot of the hindmost
player of each team in the maul.
d) At the ruck, the offside line is the hindmost foot of the hindmost
player of each team in the ruck. Defenders must stay between their
own goalline and the tackled player until the pass is made.
The following are not permitted
a) The ball carrier may run and dodge potential tacklers but cannot
fend or hand them off with their hand or the ball.
b) Contact above the arm pits: If contact is above the arm pits, the game
must be stopped, the offender spoken to, reminded of the contact
rules and a free pass awarded to the non-offending team.
c) Kicking of any kind.
d) Using the technique known or referred to as “Squeezeball” and no
person involved in the teaching or coaching of rugby may teach or
coach to encourage the use of the “Squeezeball” technique.
e) Foul play.
f) Pushing or competing at the scrum.
g) Contact with players not in possession.