Sat 27 Mar 2021 15:48

Adapations to Age Grade Rugby for 2021-2022

Based on feedback the RFU have made changes to Age Grade Rugby for 2021-22. These enable teams to be combined either up or down one age in the teenage years, if there are not enough numbers to field full sides in a single age group. The RFU envisage this will be the exception, but the ability to do so could make the difference for these players who have been particularly disrupted by the pandemic; their safe transition to adult rugby is one the highest risks. The 17 year olds playing adult changes have been revised to support this.

The latest Age Grade changes document is here.



Coaching and Playing


  1. Treat all players fairly. No A and B teams. Play teams of mixed ability players.


  1. Develop all your players. Sometimes, less able players require more 1-to-1 development time from the Coaches. Rugby is a game for everyone, of all abilities. Do not favour your best players. It is tempting to play your best players all the time but the average players need your attention as well. In training sessions, differentiate to ensure that players of all abilities are challenged in a developmentally appropriate, fun and inclusive environment.


  1. Half Game Rule - Coaches and Team Managers must ensure that each player selected in every match day squad plays at least half of the Available Playing Time. This requirement is mandatory across the entire age grade game and in respect of all contact and non-contact age grade matches, including 7-a-side matches and festivals/tournament matches. Full details are available at Regulation 15.12.1.


  1. Do not allow any discrimination by players of other players, parents or supporters. Split up cliques and combine the more able players with the less able players. Encourage them to treat all their teammates equally, to help each other and to bond together as a squad. Remind, reward and role model the core values of Rugby Union.


  1. If any players are not taking part in your age group match (i.e. in cup games where the size of the squad is limited by the rules of the competition) try to offer them some other involvement so that they feel they are still important to the club. If they wish to come and support the team at such games, do not leave them on the side but get them involved (e.g. helping with pre-game warm up, holding a tackle bag, looking after the water bottles or carrying the kicking tee on during a match). Small things help to keep the squad together. These players should be the first to play at the next available opportunity.


  1. All Coaches should manage the standard of players’ behaviour on and off the pitch at all times. If there is a persistent problem with any of your players, report it to the Child Welfare Officer and/or CCC and together we can start to resolve the problem.


  1. All Coaches should endeavour to meet the minimum required level of practice and the club has an expectation for coaches to develop their coaching practice by undertaking the various continuous coach development (CCD) opportunities that are available via the RFU and other rugby related bodies to achieve Standard Practice. There are three levels of practice:


Required Practice

  • Hold a valid DBS.  It is mandatory that every Age Grade coach meets the Required Practice.

Standard Practice

  • Hold a valid DBS
  • Complete Play it Safe eLearning course (
  • Have committed to the RFU Age Grade Codes of Practice
  • Hold an RFU Coaching Award Qualification. The RFU recommends that contact rugby should only be introduced under the supervision of RFU coaches and referees who have achieved standard practice

Best Practice

  • Coach is a member of the English Rugby Coaching Association (ERCA – free to join)
  • Hold an RFU Coaching Award Qualification, Active and Engaging in annual CCD
  • Has completed the RFU ‘Play It Safe’ safeguarding training
  • Has completed a relevant first aid course

All those who work as a coach or referee should be qualified, up to date with current methods, confident in their knowledge of the rules and have completed safeguarding and first aid training. They can then best meet the needs of all players.  The following free and on demand e-learning opportunities will help coaches develop/refresh their coaching practice:


Headcase  (Note - Some competitions will not allow teams to enter if their coaches have not completed Headcase)

Coaching E-learning modules

Referee E-learning modules

Introduction to Safeguarding (Mandatory for completion of DBS)




  1. Please do not arrange matches for your age group without informing the Fixtures Secretary and, if a home game, the Club Steward as pitch/changing room availability may be an issue. This is to ensure the overall management of the clubs facilities (i.e. kitchen, pitches and training areas) on a Sunday morning, which is for the whole club and not just for your age group.


  1. If you have to call the Emergency Services, please send someone to the main entrance of the club to meet the Emergency Services on arrival, so they can be directed to the right location. Make sure that all Emergency access areas are clear of cars and people at all times. Inform any member of the Club Committee (many are on site on a Sunday) and the Clubhouse Staff that you have called the Emergency Services so they can help you.


  1. It is your players who matter – not your won/lost record as a coach. Invest your time in their well-being. Keep yourself informed on the principles of sound coaching.  Understand the way children grow and develop.  Remember they are not small adults.


  1. Teach your players that victory is not everything – playing as well as you can is just as important. Remember it is not the winning; it is the taking part that counts.


Child Protection and Safety


  1. Protection not only applies to the children, it also applies to you and your helpers.


  1. Ensure that the duration of Matches, Coaching and Training sessions is in accordance with Regulation 15.11.1.


Age Grade

Maximum Minutes Each Half

Maximum Minutes Per Day

U7s & U8s



U9s & U10s



U11s & U12s



U13s & U14s






U16s & above





  1. If you see anyone acting in an inappropriate, unsafe or an aggressive manner towards any of the following: a Child,

the Referee, a Coach or a Parent, you are in your rights as a Referee, Coach or Welfare Officer to ask them to refrain from this course of action and if they continue, you can ask them to leave the club.


  1. If you hear of an alleged incident that has taken place during training or at a match that you are unhappy about, check the facts with the child and / or their parent. You must take notes at the time, so the facts of the incident do not change. Once you are happy with the details, inform a club official who can pass the details onto the relevant person to deal with the issue.


  1. Combining of Age Groups / Playing Up / Playing Down Certain age grades are permitted to combine for training and playing.  Certain age grades are permitted to play up and play down.  Full details are available at Regulations 15.2 to 15.4.  If you think that you need to combine age grades or play some players up or down, please check the regulations as the conditions that allow this are quite specific.  If in doubt, contact the CCC who will be able to assist.

Some clubs may play unauthorised mixed age groups.   If you suspect that this is the case in your match, ask the referee to check and/or ask the opposition coach/team manager to provide a copy of any dispensations held. If the opposition are playing any over age players it could potentially be unsafe for your players, so ask them not play those players or do not play the match and report the incident to the club who will take any action required.


  1. Remember that coaches are not permitted to train or play contact rugby with children, nor should they hold a tackle bag or shield for children to run into.


  1. Please be aware of who may be listening when discussing details of any player or a parent. Do so in private and maintain confidentiality wherever possible.


  1. Make sure all your team of helpers hold a valid DBS. In order to process a DBS, volunteers will be required to complete an online Introduction to Safeguarding e-learning course.




  1. Remember all players must be registered on the RFU’s Game Management System (GMS) within 45 days of them first joining the club and annually thereafter. They must also be a paid up member of Yeovil Rugby Club before they can play in any match for the club. All membership fees should be paid within 6 - 8 weeks of the start of the season. If any player is having problems paying their membership due to financial issues please contact the Junior Chairman who will be able to help.


  1. Communicate with your parents. They will be happier if they fully understand your plans for your squad. If they want to discuss any matter, encourage them to talk with you or the Junior Players Representative or the relevant club official.


  1. Focus on the positive points in any match report submitted to the website or forwarded to local media. Highlight the positive points during the after match debrief not just the negative. The squad will know it was a poor performance, forget it and move on.


  1. Touring – If squads are considering touring please contact the Club before any planning or agreements are made.




We are here for the children’s enjoyment, not ours, so relax and enjoy the rugby. Remember that your

Club officials are here to help you at all times. Remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry. As long as you have operated in accordance with RFU Regulations and Yeovil Rugby Club policies and protocols, the club will always support you.