The Juniors competition is governed by strict SJRU rules. All coaches and managers should be familiar with these rules.
U-10 Rule Changes vs U-9
The move from U-9 to U-10 involves considerable changes for players and their parents. Details below set out the changes so that everyone is aware of them before the season starts and can plan accordingly.
The main changes are that the rugby laws change to more closely approximate senior rugby and the competition is run by the Sydney Junior Rugby Union (SJRU).
The changes reflect the continuation of the rugby pathway in recognition of the boys’ physical development and their increasing ability to handle more complex laws of the game.
Maximum number of Players allowed to be signed-on and used in a match:
- 18 players for a 12-a-side Competition
- Unlimited rolling substitutions
- Players replaced due to serious injury are not allowed to return
- Must be sufficient front row players to play at hooker, LHP and THP to ensure that on the first occasion that a replacement prop is required and a replacement hooker is required one is available and play can safely continue
- Any team which plays uncontested scrums in more than 2 Matches during the regular season, of which a maximum of 1 can occur in the last seven rounds, shall be deemed ineligible to participate in Finals Series
- If the difference in score between two Teams reaches 50 points or more then the losing Team may call to stop the Match, irrespective of time remaining
- Team Officials, in conjunction with the Referee, are expected to encourage the development and enjoyment of the game using ‘friendly game’ initiatives
The key differences in U-10 (vs U-9) are:
- There are 12 players on the field (rather than 10) being an extra forward and an extra back.
- The field is nearly 3 times larger (being the same as a full size field except the sidelines are 5m inside the normal sidelines).
- Scrums are contested (rather than uncontested) with a limit of a 1m push.
- Lineouts are contested (rather than uncontested) but no lifting is allowed.
- Kick offs and restarts are contested (rather than uncontested).
- The defence can move when the ball is out of the scrum or lineout (rather than needing to wait for the halfback to pass before defending).
- Kicking is allowed in general play (rather than prohibited).
The overall impact of these changes in the laws is that U10 rugby games are tougher – they are played on a much larger field by bigger boys with more aspects of the game contested. The boys will adapt quickly to the challenge of new rules. However, to ensure that they learn safely, training generally starts in early March.
A primary focus will be to ensure that the forwards who will be playing in contested scrums and lineouts learn how to do so effectively and safely. SJRU competition The SJRU organises Sydney-wide competitions from U10s to Opens.
Sunday U-10 Competition
Most teams from Sydney play in the Sunday competition which provides by far the strongest and deepest opportunity to play competitive club rugby in Sydney against well-matched opposition teams. The Sunday competition has the following features:
- The majority of clubs are based on the north shore or the northern beaches, the competition is played across Sydney and also includes clubs from eastern, southern and western suburbs. As a result, participation in the competition involves a fair amount of travel for away games.
- Teams in each age group are graded into one of up to 8 divisions, subject to the overall number of teams, from A division through to H division. There can be ~ 65 teams in 7 divisions in the U10s. The divisional grading by SJRU of U10 teams is difficult because the teams have not played in a SJRU competition previously. Teams are therefore “graded” on a preliminary basis into divisions based on input from the local districts according to their prior year’s 3 performance.
- After the first four rounds of the competition, divisional grading is reviewed and teams may be moved up or down divisions to even out the competition depending on results from Rounds 1 to 4. The purpose of grading teams into different divisions is to ensure a fair competition between evenly matched teams. Overall, it works very effectively.
- Under the competition rules, where a club enters two or more teams from the same age group into the competition, all players in that age group must be graded based on their ability, experience and playing position. This involves a process of trial and selection during the pre-season. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that boys play in teams commensurate with their ability and experience, which enhances their development, enjoyment and safety.
- There is limited interchange between teams in the same age group i.e. under the competition rules, some players per team are considered non-transferable to a lower grade. The purpose of this rule is to prevent the stacking of players in a team competing in a finals series to gain an unfair advantage
- Scores are recorded and a table of results is maintained. A finals series is played at the end of the season. The competition rules have strict eligibility criteria as to who can play in the finals series based on the number of games played during the season.
- Independent referees are appointed for each game.
- Each team must provide a qualified assistant referee (touch judge).