Rugby is a team sport that delivers significant social and health benefits. It can also be a physically demanding sport and players should be physically and mentally prepared, and understand how to play safely. It is the responsibility of all – players, coaches and parents – to ensure that a positive, safe, enjoyable environment is created where ALL players will be able to reach their fullest potential, and that – whatever form of the game you play – the training and education materials and equipment are there to support everyone in creating that environment.
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In the traditional form of the game, players are introduced to the full game of Rugby, the core of the sport. Now they can enjoy all the intricacies of the game and try out different positions in the team. Depending on factors such as age and experience, a player may play in several positions before they settle in one that suits best, and coaches should be prepared to allow this. Hopefully, other clubs nearby will be able to offer fixtures and the steps outlined below offer advice about how to arrange a league.
Rugby Sevens is now an Olympic sport which will be played at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games in Rio and Tokyo. ‘Sevens’ is played increasingly at the grass roots level, but at the elite end of the game are the (men’s) HSBC Sevens World Series and (women’s) World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series for national teams, both of which are staged in multiple countries around the world, like a grand prix format. Both are also direct qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Olympic Games, with the top four-ranked nations in 2014/15 booking their place in Rio.
Because Sevens is played on a full-sized rugby pitch but with less than half the normal number of players (seven against seven, instead of 15 against 15), there is a large amount of space to run in. This makes it a very fast and exciting variation of the game demanding huge levels of fitness.
Touch rugby is a version of rugby in which players do not tackle in the traditional, highly physical way, but instead touch their opponents using their hands on any part of the body, clothing, or the ball.
Touch rugby is widely played as a training activity for rugby union and as a non-contact variant in schools and junior clubs, and as an informal social sport in leagues or tournaments.
Each team of six players attacks the other team’s try-line and keeps the ball for a total of six ‘touches’ (tackles). At the end of these six touches, if the team has not scored possession passes to the opposition.
Touch rugby is often played informally. In addition to tackles being replaced by touches, laws are simplified to remove elements such as scrums, rucks, mauls, line-outs and kicks. To view the World Rugby Leisure Rugby Laws, click here
Beach Rugby is a fun game that be played with a minimal amount of resources and equipment. The game is a fast-moving one suitable for boys and girls of all ages to play together, in which tags are worn and removed for the ‘tackle’. The game is fast-paced and exciting, but because it is played on sand, there are some differences to the conventional game of Tag Rugby:
- Can be played as a 5 or 7-a-side game
- Both genders, all abilities and all ages welcome
- Common to use a size 4 ball rather than the traditional size 5
- Non-contact, Tag Rugby Laws apply
10-a-side Rugby is also played and is usually called ‘tens’. Like in Sevens, there is more space available than in 15-a-side rugby, but there are two extra forwards and one added back. The game uses the same Laws as the 15-a-side Game but with some slight variations:
In 12-a-side rugby a ‘number 8’ (hindmost player in the scrum) and a full-back are further added as another step in the progression from 7-a-side to 15-a-side. This variation can be useful to a coach who has a squad of 16 or 17 players. With a number 8, the players can be introduced to the idea of having a back row player to provide, for the first time, a link between the forwards and backs.
Tag rugby is a non-contact, fast-moving game that is suitable for adults or children, and for boys and girls to play together. Its safe, non-contact nature makes it ideal for youngsters coming into the game. Tag belts or tag shorts replace tackling. Teams are seven-a-side with a preferred gender mix of at least three men and women playing at one time. The basic rules include:
- No contact, but gumshield advisable
- No kicking of any kind
- When a tag is made, the tagger stops running, holds the tag above their head and shouts “TAG!”
- When the ball-carrier is tagged, the ball must be passed to a team mate within three seconds
- Competitive matches should not be more than seven-a-side
Wheelchair Rugby is a mixed team sport for male and female quadriplegic athletes invented in Winnipeg, Canada in 1977. It combines elements of rugby, basketball and handball. Players compete in teams of four to carry the ball across the opposing team’s goal line. Contact between wheelchairs is permitted, and is in fact an integral part of the sport as players use their chairs to block and hold opponents.
Wheelchair Rugby players compete in manual wheelchairs that are specifically designed for the sport to ensure safety and fairness. To begin playing, any manual wheelchair may be used, although the game is easier when played in a lightweight sports wheelchair mandatory for international competition.
The game is played with a white ball, similar to a volleyball and is played indoors on a regulation sized basketball court. Four cones, pylons, or markers are used to mark the goal lines. A game clock is also required; any clock used for basketball, handball, or other similar sports will be sufficient.
To be eligible to play Wheelchair Rugby, individuals must have a disability which affects the arms and legs. Most players have spinal cord injuries with full or partial paralysis of the legs and partial paralysis of the arms. Other disability groups who play include cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, amputations, polio, and other neurological conditions. Men and women compete on the same teams and in the same competitions. Players are assigned a sport classification based on their level of disability; teams must field players with a mix of classification values, allowing players with different functional abilities to compete together.
Wheelchair Rugby is a Paralympic Sport currently played in more than 40 countries and presided over by the IWRF [link], which includes three zones: the Americas, with six active countries; Europe, with 14 active countries; and Asia-Oceania, with six active countries.