The NZRU Small Black to All Black model for Junior Rugby is adopted as the framework for all rules of the Wellington Junior Club Rugby Development.

These rules are detailed in the 2016 WRFU Junior Rugby Convenors Manual.  Click here

General Rules

Excessive score policy.  Click here

Number of players on field.  Click here

Conduct and procedures.  Click here


  • Rolling subs are not permitted. All players must play at least half of each game with substitutes coming on at half time and playing for the rest of the game.
  • Over the season, all players must play an equal number of full games as long as they have attended trainings and behaved appropriately.
  • Having met the coaches expectations as far as behaviour and attendance at training, all players can expect to:
    • Start as many games as everyone else in the team
    • Play as many full games as everyone else in the team


  • A quick throw may be thrown in straight or back towards the throwing team’s own goal line
  • Shortened Lineouts are not permitted in Wellington Junior Rugby
  • The player who is in opposition to the player throwing in the ball, must stand in the area between the 5 metre line and touch line and must be 2 metres away from the Lineout.
  • Lifting of Lineout players is not permitted in Wellington Junior Rugby


  • The offside line for backs (except the halfback) remains as five metres behind the hindmost foot/player of each team in the scrum
  • The NZ Domestic Law does not allow the halfback that did not feed the scrum, to follow the ball through the scrum. He/she must not pass the halfway point of the tunnel i.e., the shoulders of the props. The NZ Domestic law defines this as the halfback having to keep one foot behind that line.If the halfback that did not feed the scrum, moves to or stands in a place other than adjacent to the side of the scrum where the ball was put in, then the normal offside rule will apply to him/her i.e., they must be behind the last foot of the scrum.
  • The scrum engagement law remains applicable to junior rugby
  • Teams must have even numbers in the scrum.
  • The Number 8 must bind directly behind the two locks

Tap Kick

  • When a ‘tap kick’ is taken the ball must leave the hand.
  • The ball must move – this can be in any direction. In the lower grades where players are likely to knock the ball on, the ball should be placed on the ground and then tapped with the foot

Corner Post

  • The corner posts are no longer considered to be in touch in-goal except when the ball is grounded against the post. If the ball hits the corner post and bounces back into the playing area, play continues. A try will still be disallowed if the ball is grounded against the corner post. A try will no longer be disallowed if the ball carrier or the ball touches the corner post before grounding the ball as long as that player or the ball has not otherwise been in touch.

Fair Catch / Mark

  • Fair catch/mark is allowed only in U13 and U12 grades


  • While children will tend to naturally develop an instinct to fend the impact of taking a fend and a child’s ability to  fend safely must at all times be considered.
  • Players should be taught alternative skills to evade being tackled.
  • Head-on fending by a running player should be considered as dangerous play.
  • Any fends above the shoulder must be treated as dangerous play.

The following notes have been written to help coaches and administrators to understand why certain rules are in place, why it important that the rules are adhered to by all and what it is hoped will be gained by these rules.

  1. Ball size are matched to the hand size and strength of pass of players at that age.
  2. Player numbers are calculated to allow all players to become involved, as much as possible, in a game and to match the field size. Having fewer players on the field and using ensuring substitutions come on at half time and play the whole second half allows coaches to better control the amount that players are able to contribute to, or dominate their team. One of the largest causes of junior players leaving Rugby is not being given enough or a fair share of the time on the field. This has led to the rule change where subs must now come on at half time and play the whole 2nd half (substitutions are only allowed at half time).
  3. Game time is based on the understood concentration span for players at the age and level of maturity. It is also important that you stick to these times in order to allow for maximum utilisation of our fields.
  4. Field sizes are based on the number of players on the field. Playing on larger size fields than those stated allows faster players to unfairly dominate a game. When playing across a full size field, goalposts must still be protected accordingly.
  5. Kick-off distances are calculated according to a percentage of the field size and the ability and maturity of players.
  6. Which team is to restart play and how the restart is to be taken varies from grade-to-grade to ensure a fair amount of position for both teams.
  7. For safety reasons and a desire to focus on basic scrum technique at these early ages it is illegal to deliberately rotate a scrum.
  8. The ball is not handed over to the other team when a scrum is reset (after rotating, collapsing or when the ball is not hooked properly) because of the same desire to focus on scrum and discourage adult team “tricks“ of the scrum.
  9. In order to keep the scrum safe and stable, and to allow the hooker to practice his/her skill without interference, only the hooker may strike for the ball where scrums are contested. The props must keep their feet down, planted on the ground.
  10. To allow all forwards to learn and develop their lineout skills, no shortened lineouts are permitted in Junior club Rugby.
  11. At all times the running and passing game is to be promoted and used ahead of kicking. In the younger grades this is to maximise the involvement of all players in the game, maintain the focus on the running and passing skills and to keep the game moving. From there kicking Is gradually introduced through the grades.
  12. In order to protect younger players from the situation of being tackled in mid-air, or standing under a high ball and being tackled while in a vulnerable situation, the use of the up-and-under/ midfield bomb is discouraged in grades other than under 12 and under 13. Similarly, the Fair Catch / Mark is not allowed in Grades other no advantage is offered to a team from taking a mark.
  13. While children will tend to naturally develop an instinct to fend, the impact of taking a fend and a child’s ability to fend safely must at all times be considered. Therefore fending is Is not permitted in Under 6, 7 and 8 grades. Fending below the line of the armpits is permitted in Under 9 and 10 grades. However coaches are reminded that children must be coached to fend safely and to take a fend safely and given other options for preventing being tackled, e.g. side-step, swerve etc. Any fends above the shoulder (neck and head) must be treated as dangerous play. February 2014 WRFU Junior Rugby Convenors Manual Page 55
  14. The WRFU recognises that the lifting of a player at any time (e.g. at kick-off, lineouts) is dangerous forbids lifting of any form in all grades. The NZRU also forbids lifting in all junior grades in accordance with its agreement with the ACC to provide insurance cover in case of injury to a player 15. Coach and Referee qualifications are set by the NRZU in accordance to its agreement with the ACC to provide insurance cover. Any person that knowingly violates any of the requirements of this agreement places themselves at risk of personal liability in the case of injury to or death of any player.
  15. The WRFU are required to set an age/weight criteria that meets NZRU requirements to ensure safety of junior players. Our policy has been developed with input from the ACC.
  16. Large children have as much a part to play in rugby, as any others. The overweight player policy is designed to allow every child from the very smallest to the largest to play the game in a safe and positive environment. In order to allow this to happen the WRFU relies very heavily on the integrity of coaches and managers. Unless a genuine issue of safety is present, large players must be permitted to play according to the set conditions. Coaches who violate these conditions are not only risking the safety of children but risk suspension and put in jeopardy the right of larger children to play rugby.
  17. If at any time you have real concern for the ability of a large player to play at a higher grade, you must, for the child’s sake, bring it to the attention of the WRFU through your club.
  18. The under 9 – 10 grade kick-off rule states that the scoring team will restart play after a score. The model also states that ALL players in the team should have a turn at taking the kick-off. This rule is designed to ensure a fair amount of possession for both teams; allowing them to practice the skills they are developing and keeping the game more competitive. Teams and coaches that use one or two of their ‘better’ kickers to kick-off and gain a territorial advantage are getting it wrong. Make sure that you include kicking as a part of your training and allow every child to practice the skill in a game situation, regardless of how successful the kicks are