Under 8s and Under 9s

Management

Playing area               60-70m (touch line to touch line) x 35m*
Player numbers         10 per side*
Ball                              Mini (size 3)
Tackle                          Yes
Time                            20 minutes each way (5 minutes half-time)
Scoring                       Try 5 points; conversion (in front) 2 points. By agreement, the numbers of conversions may be limited to free up playing time in the U8’s.

Kick

Start game                   Punt or drop-kick*
Restart                          Punt or drop-kick. Try scorer kicks off.
Penalty                         Tap or kick for touch*
Drop-out                      Drop-kick from mid-point of 15m line (mostly N/A)
General play               No kicking, no toeing through
Kick for goal              Drop-kick in front* (By agreement, limit conversions in the U8’s)

Scrum

Features                      Non-contested (team who put in wins the ball)
Numbers                     5 players (3-2)*
Push                            Non-push
Scrum-half – A        Attacking scrum-half must pass the ball
Scrum-half – D        Defending scrum-half cannot go past mid-line
No. 8                           N/A
Offside line               5m from last feet (rucks and mauls offside is last feet)

Lineout

Features                     Non-contested (team who throws in wins the ball)
Numbers                    Hooker + 4 players
Length                         4m-10m
Spacing                       1m between teams
Throw                         Down the line of touch (but non-contested, so OK if not straight)
Not straight              Have 1 more attempt
Beginning                  Ball leaves thrower’s hands
End                              Scrum-half has passed the ball or play is stopped
Offside                        5m from line of touch
Support                      No supporting or lifting

Management

Playing Area
60-70m x 35m (ie. 2 minis fields across full-size field but 3 fields may fit).

Player Numbers
10 per team. Must match numbers, so if one team only has 7 players, opposition can only field 7.

Rucks
ELV – If ball unplayable, free kick to team not in possession at start of ruck (ie. use it or lose it).

Mauls
ELV – If ball unplayable, free kick to team not in possession at start of maul (ie. use it or lose it).

Rucks & Mauls – Gateway
Preferable for players to enter ‘through the gate’, but latitude required. In diagram below, only penalise Team A for entering in the shaded zone. Slightly less latitude allowed for U9. Be generous to allow a free-flowing game.

Rucks & Mauls – Playing the Ball
Players not to handle the ball when off their feet.

Kicks
Kick-off / Restart. Try scorers team kicks off.  5m ‘free zone’ for receiver.  If ball goes over try line or sideline, kick off again.

Penalty and Free Kicks
Under ELVs selected offences will be reduced from penalty kicks to free kicks.  Penalty – options are tap restart (preferred) or scrum.  Discourage kicks for touch (since line outs take too long). No kicks for goal.  Free kicks – options are tap restart (preferred) or scrum.

Conversion
Encourage drop-kick. Punt also permitted (since drop-kick difficult for many players).

Scrums & Lineouts
Offside

ELV – Offside line for attacking players not in the scrum is now 5metres behind the hindmost foot of the scrum.
ELV – Scrum-half must be 2 metres back from line out.
ELV – The defending players not in line out must retire 5 metres.
Defence cannot move up until 5/8th has caught the ball.
(Referee or coach to hold up one arm and shout “Hold”, then “OK” when defence can move up).

Numbers   If teams short in numbers, second row to drop out of scrum.

Other         If one team takes too long to set, penalty to opposition. “A fast game is a good game.”

Tackle
When tackled – must present the ball immediately. Player to roll away after making a tackle. Players must be on their feet to play at the ball. ELV – all offences at the tackle are free kicks.

Etiquette
All players to shake hands before and after the game. 3 cheers for opposition and 3 cheers for ref after the game.

Refereeing
Who?                           Each team to preferably supply a referee for half the game.
High tackles              Penalise any contact above the shoulders.
Shoulder charge     Penalise any pushing – arms must come in contact when making a tackle
Pushing                      Penalise any pushing – arms must come in contact when making a tackle
Fending                      Penalise any contact above the shoulders. Fend must be a push, not a hit.
Back-chat                  Penalise any dissent.
Off the ball  infraction                  5 minute “time out”
Dirty/rough play   5 minute “time out”
Knock-ons               Allow generous discretion. (Less discretion allowed for multiple knock-ons).
Do not pack down a scrum unless an obvious immediate advantage to the
attacking team. Knock-on from a kick-off is always “Play on”.
Lineouts                   Non-contested lineouts are especially boring! Be lenient on players running out.
                                   If only marginal, call “Play on”. Coaches encourage all players to avoid sideline.
Mouthguards           Encourage the use of mouthguards.
Coaches                    U9 Coaches off the field from Round 9.  

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