Red Cards – age grade rugby

Please find below an important message from Ian Skillen, National Age Grade Discipline Secretary, on Age Grade Discipline.

CHANGE TO RED CARD REPORTING REGULATIONS To ensure greater consistency in the application of the sanction table across the Age Grade Game, changes have been made to Red Card Reporting Regulations. This now means that in all cases, where the Referee has issued a Red Card to an Age Grade Player, the Referee must provide within 48 hours, a report to the CB Age Grade Discipline Secretary (CBAGDS) and either the player’s Head Teacher, Principal, Club or Academy.
The revised regulations are:-7. Reporting
7.1 In all cases where the Referee has ordered-off an Age Grade Player the Referee shall as soon as practicable, and in any event within 48 hours of the end of the match, provide a copy of his/her report to the CBAGDS and either the Age Grade Player’s coach, Club, head teacher or principal as appropriate
7.2 Any rugby disciplinary incident including red cards, that arises in a School, College, Club or Regional Academy match shall be reported to the CBAGDS within 48 hours by the school, college, Club disciplinary officer, Coach or person(s) with delegated authority.
7.3 Thereafter, any finding and/or sanction imposed in relation to the disciplinary incident shall be reported to the CBAGDS within 48 hours.
7.4 The CBAGDS or the RFU Head of Discipline shall have the power to review any finding and/or sanction imposed by a Club, College, School, Academy or coach and, if he/she is of the view that the finding and/or sanction imposed was unreasonable in all the circumstances, will refer the matter to the NAGDS for consideration. The NAGDS may direct that the club, school, college or coach review the matter and report back to the NAGDS, who, if it is still necessary may convene a suitably qualified disciplinary panel to deal with the matter and it may vary the sanction imposed if considered appropriate to do so.

Please address any supplementary questions to Ian at

This message is also being sent to the other key CBs in the implementation of this change.
Ian Woodgate

latest guidelines

Return To Play & Off Field Activity Guidance 2 December 2020

We have today shared further guidance for community rugby in England, after The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS] issued updated guidelines on the return to recreational team sport from Wednesday 2 December.

This includes all friendly fixtures and training for males and females, Age Grade and adult, for all contact and non-contact rugby below the Greene King IPA Championship and Allianz Premier 15s. This includes Education institutions however the ultimate decision remains at the discretion of the individual institution.

Organised outdoor rugby activity with approved adaptations for both match play and training is permitted across all three tiers from Wednesday 2 December.

However, it is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers continue to strictly follow both the UK Government’s latest COVID-19 guidance and RFU guidance to ensure we can continue our phased return to play. Clubs should limit the time spent congregating at a venue before and after rugby activity, so please consider having strict meeting times or staggering start times.

Changing rooms and showers

• Changing rooms and showers can be used across all tiers.

• Clubs must identify a maximum capacity for each changing room based on its size and the

requirement to manage usage to ensure social distancing is achieved at all times.

• The amount of time each person spends in a changing room must be kept to a minimum and restricted solely to changing (no team talks or celebrations etc).

• Good hygiene must be promoted and facilitated and enhanced cleaning practices must be in place in all changing rooms.

• Participants should still be encouraged to arrive changed, and shower at home where possible.

Travel to participate in rugby activity

• Adult players living in Tier 1 or Tier 2 can travel within and between Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas to train or play.

• Adult players living in Tier 1 or Tier 2 cannot travel into a Tier 3 area to train or play.

• Adult players living in Tier 3 can travel within their own specific Tier 3 area to train or play.

• Adult players living in Tier 3 cannot travel into another Tier 3 area, nor into a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area, to train or play.

• Age Grade players may, due to Government exemptions for U18s, travel across all tiers to train or play. However, to protect all involved, we strongly recommend that wherever possible training and match play follows adult guidelines.

• Age Grade players can be accompanied by one parent or carer from, or into, a Tier 3 area to train or play.

• Volunteers (including coaches and match officials) may travel across all tiers where necessary to enable participation to take place. However, to protect all involved, we strongly recommend this is kept to an absolute minimum.

• Additional exemptions are in place for people with disabilities.


• Clubs in Tier 1 and 2 are permitted to accommodate a limited return of socially distanced

spectators but must follow the rule of six.

• In Tier 1, the number of outdoor spectators allowed is limited to whichever is lower in a socially distanced and groups of six environment: 50% capacity, or 4,000 people.

• In Tier 2, this number is limited to whichever is lower in a socially distanced and groups of six environment: 50% capacity, or 2,000 people.

• In Tier 3, no spectators are permitted.

• For the avoidance of doubt, people must not travel out of a Tier 3 area to spectate in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area.


• In Tier 1, bars and social spaces can operate but must do so by table service (ordered and

consumed at the table) and observing the rule of six. Six people from different households are allowed at the same table.

• In Tier 2, bars and social spaces can only operate as if they were a restaurant. This means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal and all food and drink is to be ordered and consumed at the table. Tables can only be same household/support bubble and must be two metres apart from each other. Takeaway must be consumed off the club premises.

• In Tiers 1 and 2, last orders must be at 10pm and bars and social spaces should be fully closed by 11pm. Takeaway service can continue past 10pm, if it is via delivery or click-and-collect.  

• In Tier 3, bars and social spaces must be closed except for takeaway or click-and collect services.

• Clubs should contact their local authority licensing department for any queries.

• All clubs must display a QR code at each entrance to the clubhouse, complete and publish

bespoke risk assessments and action plans for their members; and keep records of all visitors for 21 days to continue to support the Test and Trace efforts.

• Clubs should complete this Covid-19 Positive Test RFU notification form in the case of a player having attended training or an individual having visited the club in the 48 hours prior to the date of onset of symptoms/date the positive test was taken.

We ask everyone to strictly follow the UK Government’s national COVID-19 restrictions and encourage any incidents of non-compliance to be reported to the RFU. If any club or member is found to have breached either RFU or Government restrictions, then disciplinary action may be considered. Please report any concerns to

We would like to thank everyone in the community game once again for the incredible commitment, resilience and patience you have shown during the most challenging of times for our sport and the wider community. We hope you are excited about our return to rugby. Please be safe in everything you do and enjoy being back.


More details can be found at our Coronavirus Hub at

FAQs can be found here and will continue to be updated.

Summary of law variations can be found here

We are now at Stage E on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.

return to play update

Following yesterday’s Government approval for adapted contact rugby to resume in the Community Game, we’ve compiled Return to Play guidance, for the new game and law variations which will come into effect for match play. This guidance below is designed to help clubs resume adapted contact training from Wednesday 2 December to give players time to prepare ahead of the permitted return to local friendly fixtures from Friday 18 December.

Please note, there is no obligation for players and clubs to play 15-a-side adaptations. Clubs can still play Ready4Rugby matches up until and beyond 18 December. This simply provides clubs with an opportunity to play adapted contact rugby should they wish.

Adapted Stage E rules/laws for Age Grade Rugby have also been approved for U7-13 and U14-18. The move to Stage E will allow the restart of Tag Rugby for U7s and U8s. The Department for Education (DfE) has confirmed schools/colleges can return to playing sport in line with approved NGB action plans. Universities will need to align rugby with their planning for student engagement, testing and return home in December. It remains an education institution decision whether playing rugby is possible within their own requirements and measures.

These law variations will be reviewed as the season progresses and as restrictions are changed.

We understand our return to play is a huge moment for our sport and for you as clubs and CBs. We all share a collective desire and responsibility to get this right. Now, we really need to be as safe as we can be so that we can continue the phased return to rugby for our local communities without further interruptions.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) welcomes the news that Government has given its approval for 15-a-side contact rugby union to return at grassroots level, subject to adaptations.

This comes after extensive research and consultations with Government into mitigating the risks of close contact. By using law variations, this will limit the risk of prolonged face-to-face contact, allowing the community game to resume (everything below the Greene King IPA Championship and Allianz Premier 15s).

Clubs will be able to begin adapted training from Wednesday 2 December in preparation for local friendly fixtures recommencing from Friday 18 December when the following law variations will come into effect:

  • There will be no scrums or mauls in the game.
  • Instead of a scrum, the game will begin with a free kick. This free kick cannot be taken quickly.
  • A minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout.
  • A team awarded a penalty or free kick will no longer be able to choose a scrum option.
  • A team awarded a penalty or free kick at a lineout can instead choose another lineout at the same mark.

COVID-19 Law Variations 2020/21


The principal changes are to:

1. Suspend Law 19 (other than the amended Law 19.1 below) in its entirety.

2. Suspend Law 16 in its entirety.

Law 16: The Maul is suspended in its entirety

Players must not bind onto a team-mate who is in possession of the ball. Sanction: Penalty kick.

When one or more players come into contact with an opposing ball carrier and do not bring that player to ground, those players may attempt to gain possession of the ball if done immediately, but thereafter must not prevent the ball carrier from playing the ball. Sanction: Penalty kick to the team in possession of the ball.

No other player may join these players in contact. Sanction: Penalty kick against arriving players.

The ball carrier must play the ball immediately. Sanction: Penalty kick to the team not in possession.

Law 18 Lineout

18.11 – Forming a Lineout. The throwing team must, when forming the lineout, have a minimum of five players and maximum of seven players. Sanction: Free-kick to the non-throwing team.

18.14 – Amend to ‘The non-throwing team must match the number of players in the lineout with the throwing team. Sanction: Free-kick to the throwing team.

The player winning the ball in the lineout must either pass the ball immediately, release it to a teammate or leave the lineout as soon as they land on the ground. Sanction: Free-kick.

NB: Law 18.3 & 4 (quick throw) have not been varied.

Law 19 Scrum

19.1 – Principle. Amend to ‘Where the game would restart play with a scrum, is replaced with a Free-kick in all circumstances.’

Law 5 Time

5.7 a: Delete ‘scrum’.

5.7 b: Amend to ‘The referee awards a Penalty or Free-kick, other than a Free-kick for which a scrum would have been awarded previously.’ (This will end the half or full-time.)

5.9 – Irrespective of the weather conditions, the referee has the discretion to allow water breaks at any stage of the match.

Law 20 Penalty and Free-Kick

20.3 – Amend to ‘A team awarded a Penalty or Free-kick may not choose a scrum.’

20.4 – Amend to ‘A team awarded a Penalty or Free-kick at a lineout may instead choose another lineout at the same mark.’

20.11 – Amend to ‘Taking a Penalty or Free-Kick. The ball must be kicked a visible distance. If the kicker is holding it, it must clearly leave the hands. If it is on the ground, it must clearly leave the mark. Other than on either of the five metre from goal lines, once the free kick has been taken legally, the kicker may not run with the ball. Sanction: Free-Kick

NB: There is no change to taking a penalty kick quickly

a form of rugby is back

Following Government’s announcement last week that outdoor team sport can resume from Wednesday 2 December, we are delighted to confirm that Government has today approved our submission to return to 15-a-side contact rugby, with some adaptations.

Further detail on these adaptations and associated laws will follow tomorrow. However, they are briefly summarised below:

• There will be no scrums or mauls in the game
• Where the game would restart with a scrum, this will be replaced with a free kick
• A minimum of five and a maximum of seven players from each team are required to form a lineout

What does this mean clubs can now do?

• Clubs can resume adapted training for 15-a-side contact rugby again from this Wednesday. Further detail to follow tomorrow.

• Clubs can resume friendly fixtures from Friday 18 December – this is to allow players to prepare properly and safely, having not been training over the past month.

• Clubs can still play Ready4Rugby if they have matches coming up from 2 December to 18 December and beyond. There is no obligation to play adapted 15-a-side contact fixtures.

Further detail to follow

Further Government guidance is expected today on travel, changing, spectators and clubhouses.

We will be working overnight to interpret this information and will provide a detailed briefing in tomorrow’s CGU, on the Coronavirus Hub and Club Support Centre, together with more information about adaptations to the game.

rfu update re tiers

Following Thursday’s tier announcement, we know clubs have a number of questions to address and we want to reassure you that we are working hard with Government to clarify outstanding areas so that we can provide you with answers and clear guidance.

As you will appreciate, the return to grassroots sport in the covid landscape is a complex and fast-moving world for Government to manage. We will continue to support their efforts to provide clarity for clubs as quickly as possible.

As soon as we are in a position to do so, we will provide Clubs and CBs with on field and off field guidance for each tier, so you are confident about returning to play safely and excited about rugby restarting.

Guidance for each tier will include:
• Which stage on The Return to Community Rugby Roadmap clubs will be able to play.
• Equipment that will be permitted.
• Facilities guidance (for clubhouses, bars, changing rooms, showers, toilets)
• Travel implications
• Spectators management
• Group mixing rules

Until Wednesday 2 December, we remain in national lockdown and at Stage A on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap. This means that no competitive or formal rugby activities can be undertaken.

Please keep an eye out for communications in the coming days. We will share an update with you as soon as we have received and interpreted Government guidance around sporting facilities, so that we can provide clarity on what it means for clubs in each area.