Youth and Junior Updates

Update on New Rules by Darren Wright


It’s a very exciting time for all involved in junior rugby at the moment, as the RFU start to look at developing the rules of the game with a child centred approach.

No longer are they starting with the senior game and working their way down, shoehorning the minis in at the bottom. The new child centred approach sees us starting with the minis game, looking at the children’s needs, and developing the game at their pace, slowly progressing step by step into the youth/senior game.

The main principles of the project go side by side:

By putting the child first and maintaining rugby as a game for all shapes and sizes, we will increase involvement and enjoyment and hopefully retain young players

Myself and Reuben (Vice Chairman of Junior Rugby) were very fortunate to be invited by Eastern Counties RFU to discuss the new rules for the minis section along with representatives from most clubs in the ECRFU. We also watched a fantastic demonstration from the young boys and girls from Diss RFC.

The RFU have been trialling these new rules all season and have concluded that by increasing involvement and playing small sided games on smaller pitches, and gradually increasing new rules, elements and tactical situations, children will develop their understanding of the game.

Below are the main differences to the rules:

Under 7s

Current                                    Pilot

7-a-side                                    4-a-side Coach allowed on pitch Referee as coach Knock-on penalised Knock-on not penalised 60m x 30m pitch                        20m x 12m pitch

Under 8s

Current                                    Pilot

7-a-side                                    6-a-side Coach allowed on pitch Referee as coach No going to ground                    Can go to ground to score 60m x 30m pitch                       45m x 25m

Under 9s

The biggest changes are to the under 9s  which are as follows:

Current                                    pilot

9-a-side                                    7-a-side

Introduction of:                      Introduction of tackle only

  • Tackle                        60 x 30 pitch
  • Ruck
  • Maul
  • Scrum
  • Line-out

60 x 35 pitch

Making the step up from two years of playing tag to having four weeks at the start of the following season to learn Tackle, Ruck, Maul, Scrum and line-out is always a big ask for players, parents and  coaches. But by introducing the tackle only at this stage, it gives us time to coach this element properly, and give our children the encouragement and confidence they need. It also emphasizes evasion and handling and de-emphasizes contact. From what we witnessed at Diss, the under nines thoroughly enjoyed themselves playing under the new rules, and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.

In my opinion, never has junior rugby looked more appealing and exciting to be part of, and I know I speak for Reuben and all the coaches when I say, we are all very much looking forward to welcoming both new and old children back to Humber Doucy Lane for what promises to be a fun and enjoyable time for everyone involved in the great game of rugby at Ipswich Rugby Club.

Best Regards,

Darren Wright

Chairman of Junior Rugby