Under 8s and Under 9s
Playing area 60-70m (touch line to touch line) x 35m*
Player numbers 10 per side*
Ball Mini (size 3)
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.
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)
Features Non-contested (team who put in wins the ball)
Numbers 5 players (3-2)*
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)
Features Non-contested (team who throws in wins the ball)
Numbers Hooker + 4 players
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
60-70m x 35m (ie. 2 minis fields across full-size field but 3 fields may fit).
10 per team. Must match numbers, so if one team only has 7 players, opposition can only field 7.
ELV – If ball unplayable, free kick to team not in possession at start of ruck (ie. use it or lose it).
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.
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.
Encourage drop-kick. Punt also permitted (since drop-kick difficult for many players).
Scrums & Lineouts
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.”
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.
All players to shake hands before and after the game. 3 cheers for opposition and 3 cheers for ref after the game.
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.