U8 and U9


Playing area          60-70m (touch line to touch line) x 35m*
Player numbers    10 per side* (If teams short in numbers, second row to drop out of scrum.)
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.


Start game               Punt or drop-kick*
Restart                      Punt or drop-kick (try scorers kicks off–note this is a change for 2010 season)
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)*
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)


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


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 (new for 2010).
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).


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” (new for 2010)
Dirty/rough play   5 minute “time out” (new for 2010)
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 to encourage all players to avoid the sideline.
Mouthguards            Encourage the use of mouthguards.

Coaches – U9

Off the field from round 9.

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