Age Differential Playing Guideline

This guideline applies to all junior/school age grade (contact Rugby) competitions/matches up to and including U19.

Best practise is for players to play within a one year “age window”. This tends to be driven by calendar year, e.g born in 1997 or in some Unions by academic year. A good example of this is the RFU’s policy.

Acceptable practise is for players to play within a two year “age window”. A good example of this is the ARU’s two year policy.

In exceptional circumstances a player may play within a three year “age window”. As an example, a player participating in an Under 12 match must be turning 10, 11 or 12 years of age during the competition in which the match is played. In order to assess the suitability of players in such circumstances, the following criteria should be considered for inclusion within a Union’s Policy:

  • Written agreement from the player’s parents or guardians to play and acceptance of the associated risk with playing with people who may be stronger and more physically developed than them;
  • Written confirmation from a medical practitioner with an understanding of the demands of Rugby to whom the player is known that the player is in a physical condition to play Rugby at the desired level and that this view is supported by a musculo-skeletal evaluation and/or other appropriate assessments;
  • Written agreement from a medical officer with an understanding of the demands of Rugby employed or retained by the player’s home union that the player is in a physical condition to play Rugby at the desired level and that this view is supported by musculo-skeletal evaluation and/or other appropriate assessments;
  • Written confirmation from a coach with an appropriate understanding of the physical attributes required and of the risks to players in Rugby and to whom the player is known that the player has the requisite skills and experience to play Rugby at the desired level; and
  • Such other consents, agreements or confirmations (if any) as may be required by the player’s home Union or to comply with the local jurisdiction.

A player should not participate in an age grade competition more than three years above his or her age.

See detail here.