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Playing Rugby Laws


The Small Blacks Development Model has been developed to ensure that there is a consistency of play, coaching and player welfare at all levels throughout the country, and is a great way of getting kids involved in team sports.

 Y7&8 - U12/13 COMMENTS
 Numbers on Field   15 Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn’t have enough players to start a game, it should then be played with equal numbers.
 Field Size Full  15s must be full field.
 Try 5pts  If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35= at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.
 Conversion  yes Conversions not to be taken further out than the 15m line.
 Ball Size 4 Balls should be colour coded for each size. Size 2 1/2 = orange, Size 3 = blue, Size 4 = green.
 Tackles  yes Tackle must be below the nipple. No fending to the head, face or neck regions.
 Subs 1/4 time  All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).  
 Rolling substitutions are not permitted.  
 Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.  
 Kick-off yes Normal
 Penalty yes Normal
 Kicking (general play)  yes Normal
 Length of Game 2 x 30 These are maximums.

Contest and pushing.

The push is limited to half a metre maximum.

Always 8 in scrum.Safety is paramount.
 Lineout  yes Always 8 in lineout. Lineouts can be contested. There is no lineout lifting at any level.


These laws complement laws outlined in the Small Blacks Development Model.


  1. A try is scored by grounding the ball on or over the goal line.
  2. The non-scoring team will restart play with a drop kick from halfway.
  3. The opposing team will be back 10 metres from halfway.


  1. A player must not tackle an opponent whose feet are off the ground.
  2. The tackled player must release the ball when either the player or the ball is grounded.


  1. The opposing team cannot advance until the halfback has run or played the ball. Note: A number 8 can also pick up the ball.
  2. The opposing halfback must not advance past the middle line i.e. tunnel.
  3. Under 11 only - The side throwing the ball in to the scrum wins the ball, i.e. no contest and no pushing.
  4. There is an offside line five metres behind the hindmost feet of the scrum.


  1. The two lines of players must be one metre apart.
  2. Backline must stand 10 metres from the centre line.
  3. If the throw isn’t straight, advantage applies to the non-offending team, otherwise normal law applies.

Ruck And Maul

  1. Players must not join from the side.
  2. Players must be bound to the maul or behind the last player.
  3. Players must not collapse a maul.


  1. The defending team will be 10 metres back from the infringement mark.

Rugby Laws

  • All other domestic safety law variations apply.

Appointment Of The Referee

  1. The home team will provide a referee or Playing Rugby referee to officiate.
  2. If no referee or Playing Rugby referee from the home team is available, then a referee or Playing Rugby referee from the visiting team will officiate.
  3. It is recommended that one referee will control the entire match.