Player Welfare

Any sport involving physical contact has inherent dangers and Scottish Rugby is committed to reducing the risks of serious injury through the implementation of its Are You Ready to Play Rugby? Policies.

It is the responsibility of those who coach or teach the game to ensure that players are prepared in a manner which ensures safe practices. It is also the responsibility of players to ensure that they participate in a manner which complies with the laws of the game and is safe and responsible.

Injury Management

Rugby is a physical contact sport. Injuries can and do occur as a result of playing rugby, either through isolated injuries or through continuous playing of the game over time. Participants should always consider their own fitness before commencing the playing of rugby and before any game. Participants should take their own medical advice before playing and especially following an injury (following concussion this is mandatory). More on injury management including injury prevention and injury reporting procedures.

Age Banding

Youth rugby begins at under 9s and ends at Under 18s. For safety and to allow young players to develop in the best environment within clubs and schools young players should be training and competing with others of the same age and physical maturity. The youth game is divided up by the age of the players involved (age-grade rugby) with associated law variations. Regulations specify the age grades within which children should be grouped for training and playing. More on age banding including male, female and schools and youth information and guidance for parents.

Age Grade Law Variations

As of 1 August 2018, a trial set of Age Grade Law Variations (AGLVs) will be in place to support a more enjoyable and inclusive game for all young players.

Age Grade Game Time Policy

The maximum game time that should be played for all age grade rugby players U9 – U18 should not exceed 90 minutes of game time in a 48 hour period. The Age Grade Game Time Policy applies to all schools and youth fixtures; national competitions, regional/local competitions and friendlies. Watch our video on the Age Grade Game Time Policy here.

Rugby Goggles

In May 2019, following a successful trial, World Rugby approved the use of a specific type of goggles in rugby (WR Regulation 12). These rugby goggles have undergone testing designed to ensure that they are as safe as possible for rugby use, including tests on:

  • High velocity impact resistance;
  • Anti-fogging;
  • Field of vision; and
  • Shape and size.

  • Rugby goggles are not designed to provide extra protection for the wearer, but to allow corrective lenses to be worn without causing any greater risk of injury to any player.

    In addition to the suitability of the rugby goggles for those requiring corrective lenses, they may also be used by people who suffer from chronic eye conditions (including monocular vision, restricted vision in one or both eyes and eye conditions putting players at greater risk of eye-damage). Whilst the goggles are not designed to provide extra protection, they may be worn for that purpose if the individual considers that it is beneficial to do so.

    Please note that only goggles bearing the World Rugby safety “kitemark” may be used in any form of contact rugby.

    To read WR Regulation 12 and to see pictures of the "kitemark" click here.

    Mouthguards

    Scottish Rugby recommends that mouth guards are worn for any rugby activity (both training and matches). The use of mouthguards can help to protect the teeth and face. There is currently no conclusive evidence that mouth guards reduce the risk of concussion. We recommend that mouthguards are custom-fitted. There are alternatives available, such as boil in the bag or pre-moulded mouth guards, which generally provide a reduced level of fit and protection, so this should be a consideration when making a decision on which type to buy.

    Dentists usually offer a custom-fit mouth guard provision and there are also a number of companies who provide this service. Individual clubs/schools should ensure that their players use a reputable dentist that provide an appropriate dental fitting service. Schools and clubs may choose to make the wearing of mouthguards by players compulsory. Where this is the case, they should have a clear policy around checking whether a player may participate if they don’t have one available. We recommend GRIT Mouthguards by Smile Plus Dental Care, the Official Dentist and Mouthguard Provider of Scottish Rugby. For more information, please visit http://gritmouthguards.co.uk.


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