Age Banding

Youth rugby begins at U9s and ends at U18s. For safety and to allow young players to develop in the best environment within clubs and schools, they should be training and competing with others of the same age and physical maturity.

Therefore, 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. The grades are selected to minimise disparities in physical maturity and experience, while allowing meaningful player development to take place.

Player Registration on SCRUMS

As part of the player registration process, players are required to register on Scottish Rugby's SCRUMS system. This allows us to maintain details of the player and enables the club to add the player to a match team sheet. For younger players a parent or guardian's input is required as part of the registration process.

Age Grade Time Policy

The maximum game time for all age grade rugby players U9 – U18 should not exceed 90 minutes 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.

Age Grade Law Variations

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

Age Banding Rules

All players under the age of 18, and all clubs, schools and teams participating at age grade levels, must follow Scottish Rugby's Age Banding Rules.

  • Male U18 – Adult Rugby Age Banding

    Medical research into boys' rugby strongly indicates that there is an increased risk of serious injury when U18 players play adult rugby.

    It is Scottish Rugby's policy that the age at which any player is permitted to play adult rugby is 18 years old. Players must only play contact rugby with players of their own age grade unless the player has been given permission by Scottish Rugby to play outside it.

    For season 2020-21, an U18 player must have been born on or between 1 September 2002 - 31 August 2004. That age grade applies for the whole season. National and regional representation cut off dates are 1 January.

    In exceptional cases, a player’s physical development, skill level and experience may be such that the player may be permitted by Scottish Rugby to participate in a higher age grade. An assessment must be carried out to assess whether a player should be permitted to play outside their age grade.

    Please note, U18 players who were granted dispensation for season 2019/20 must still apply for the 2020/21 season.

    Download Male U18 into Adult Rugby Policy Document

    Prerequisites

    Applications for Season 2020/21 open from Monday 28 September 2020 and close Monday 11 May 2021. Players must be a minimum of 17 years old to apply to play adult rugby.

    Players must complete the following World Rugby online RugbyReady and have a certificate from within the last 2 years.

    World Rugby online RugbyReady

    Pre-Application Assessments

    Players must complete the following pre-application assessments with a coach that has achieved (as a minimum) the UKCC Level 2: Coaching Youth & Adult Rugby. These assessments are demonstrated in the video below and also available on Scottish Rugby Training Hub, Hive.


    Application Procedures

    Email the completed application form and RugbyReady certificate to [email protected]

    Application Form

    Forms should be sent as ONE PDF file per applicant, with the form and the RugbyReady certificate together. Applications in other formats may take longer to process. This year, the form has been made into a fillable PDF and electronic signatures can be accepted.

    Scottish Rugby aims to have applications for U18 players in adult rugby turned around within 2 weeks of the application being sent to the regional panel. However, it should be noted that due to the reduced staffing levels currently in place, it may take longer. Ensure that the form is thoroughly completed as any missing information will delay the application. Applications are sent to the panel every Tuesday only.

    SCRUMS

    As part of the clearance process the player’s parents must register them on SCRUMS as this will allow us to update their player profile to enable the club to add them to the match team sheet.

    SCRUMS - https://scrums.scottishrugby.org

    Download guidance for parents on registering a youth player

    For Front Row Players

    Front row players applying to play adult rugby must complete the 2020-21 Male U18 into Adult Front Row Form, supplying as much detail as possible about their front row experience. Front row players are also required to complete a specialist neck strength test carried out by a Scottish Rugby designated practitioner.

    Application Form

    Please contact [email protected] should you have any questions.

  • Male U16 – U18 Rugby Age Banding

    Medical research into boys' rugby strongly indicates that there is an increased risk of serious injury when U16 players play U18 rugby. It is Scottish Rugby's policy that the age at which male players are allowed to play U18 rugby is 16 years old.

    An U16 player's age grade is determined by whether they were born on or between 1 September - 31 August at the beginning of each season. That age grade applies for the whole season. National and Regional Representation cut-off dates are 1 January.

    Players must only play contact rugby with players of their own age grade unless the player is permitted to play outside it. In exceptional cases, a player’s physical development, skill level and experience may be such that the player may be allowed to participate in a higher age grade. An application should be submitted to Scottish Rugby to assess whether a player should be permitted to play outside their age grade.

    Please note, U16 players who were granted dispensation for season 2019/20 do not need to re-apply for the 2020/21 season.

    Male U16 into U18 Rugby Policy Document

    Prerequisites

    Players must be 15 years old to apply to play U18 rugby and have completed World Rugby's online RugbyReady course, submitted a completed application form and undergone a physical maturity test.

    Application Procedures

    Applications for Season 2020/21 will be accepted between Monday 28 September 2020 and Monday 11 May 2021. IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT APPLICATIONS ARE SUBJECT TO THE PHYSICAL MATURITY TEST BEING ABLE TO BE CARRIED OUT – DUE TO COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS, THESE APPOINTMENTS MAY BE SUBJECT TO DELAY OR CANCELLATION DEPENDENT ON GOVERNMENTAL ADVICE AND INDIVIDUAL GP SURGERY PROTOCOLS.

    Application Form

    Completed application forms and a copy of the player's World Rugby online RugbyReady should be sent to [email protected].

    This year, the form has been made into a fillable PDF and electronic signatures can be accepted.

    Scottish Rugby aims to have applications for U16 players in U18 rugby turned around within 2 weeks of the physical maturity test date.

    As part of the clearance process the player’s parent/guardian should ensure the player is registered on SCRUMS - this will allow Scottish Rugby staff to update their player profile to enable the club/school to add them to the match team sheet.

    SCRUMS - https://scrums.scottishrugby.org

    Download guidance for parents on registering a youth player

    Front Row

    Male U16 players cannot play front row in U18 rugby until they turn 16 years old.

    Physical Maturity Assessments

    Download Physical Maturity Assessment Information Sheet

    Are You Ready to Play Rugby? Physical Maturity Assessments are conducted at an assessment centre arranged by Scottish Rugby and run by suitably qualified medical personnel. Dates will be set-up on an ad hoc basis by Scottish Rugby as the current situation permits.

    Please contact [email protected] should you have any questions.

  • Female Rugby Age Banding

    Mini Rugby

    Girls are permitted to play Mini rugby during all Primary school age groups.

    U12 Rugby

    Girls are permitted to participate in U12 rugby if they meet the criteria below:

    are born on or after 1st September 2008 AND;

    are at least 10 years old on 1st September 2020 OR;

    are in the Primary 6 year group at school

    U14 Rugby

    Girls are permitted to participate in U14 rugby if they meet the criteria below:

    • are born on or after 1st September 2006 AND;
    • are at least 12 years old on 1st September 2020 OR;
    • are 11 years old and are in the Secondary 1 year group at school.

    U16 Rugby

    Girls are permitted to participate in U16 rugby if they meet the criteria below:

    • are born on or after 1st September 2004 AND;
    • are at least 14 years old on the day of the match

    In exceptional cases, 15 year old females can apply to participate in Under18 rugby.

    Players younger than 16 are only permitted to participate in U18 rugby if each of the conditions set out in the U16 into U18 Dispensation Application Process have been satisfied before participation.

    U18 Rugby

    Girls are permitted to participate in U18 rugby if they meet the criteria below:

    • are born on or after 1st September 2002 AND;
    • are at least 16 years old on the day of the match

    On turning 18 years old, girls may elect to participate in adult rugby and/or remain within under-18 rugby for the remainder of the season.

    Women’s adult rugby

    Female players are only permitted to participate in adult rugby if they are at least 18 years old at the date of the game concerned, unless the exception below applies.

    Exception - In exceptional cases, a player’s physical development, skill level and experience may be such that the player may be allowed to participate in adult rugby at an age younger than 18.

    Players younger than 18 are only permitted to participate in adult rugby if each of the conditions set out in the U18 to Adult Dispensation Application Process have been satisfied before participation.

    Download Female Rugby Age Bands Policy Document

    Application to play up an age grade

    Players must only play contact rugby with players of their own age grade unless the player is permitted by Scottish Rugby to play outside it. In exceptional cases, a player’s physical development, skill level and experience may be such that the player may be allowed to participate in a higher age grade. An application should be submitted to Scottish Rugby to assess whether a player should be permitted to play outside their age grade.

    U16 into U18 rugby

    U16 players can play U18 rugby if the following criteria is met.

    Prerequisite

    Players must complete the following World Rugby online RugbyReady before their application is submitted.

    World Rugby RugbyReady

    Pre-Application Assessment

    Players must be assessed by a coach that has achieved (as a minimum) the UKCC Level 2: Coaching Youth & Adult Rugby and have played a minimum of 10 games of rugby since August 2019.

    Application Procedure

    Applications will be open between Monday 28 September 2020 and Monday 11 May 2021.

    Application Form

    Completed application forms must be emailed to [email protected] Scottish Rugby aims to have applications turned around within 2 weeks of receipt of the completed application. However, it should be noted that due to the reduced staffing levels currently in place, it may take longer.

    This year, the form has been made into a fillable PDF and electronic signatures can be accepted.

    Front Row Players

    An U16 player may not play in the front 3 positions of the scrum at U18 level rugby.

    U18 into adult rugby

    17 year olds can play adult rugby if the following criteria is met.

    Prerequisite

    Players must complete the following World Rugby online RugbyReady before presenting to their coach at the pre-application assessment.

    World Rugby RugbyReady

    Pre-Application Assessment

    Players must complete the following pre-application assessments with a coach that has achieved (as a minimum) the UKCC Level 2: Coaching Youth & Adult Rugby. These assessments are also available on Scottish Rugby Training Hub, Hive.

    Application Procedure

    Applications will be open between 28 September 2020 and 11 May 2021.

    Application Form

    Completed application forms must be emailed to [email protected]

    Scottish Rugby aims to have applications turned around within 2 weeks of receipt of the completed application. However, it should be noted that due to the reduced staffing levels currently in place, it may take longer.

    his year, the form has been made into a fillable PDF and electronic signatures can be accepted.

    Front Row Players

    Female U18 player's cannot play front 5 in adult rugby until they turn 18 years old.

    As part of the clearance process the players parent/guardian should ensure the player is registered on SCRUMS - this will allow Scottish Rugby staff to update their player profile to enable the club/school to add them to the match team sheet.

    SCRUMS - https://scrums.scottishrugby.org

    Download guidance for parents on registering a youth player

  • School & Youth Rugby Age Banding

    Scottish Rugby recommends that school and youth rugby is played in a maximum of two year age bandings.

    For example, players in S1 can play with the S2 year group, but not with the S3/U15s or S2/U14s can play with U15s, but not with U16s . Where clubs or schools need to combine age groupings (e.g. S1 and S2), the lower age grade law variation (S1) should be applied.

    Rugby Participation for Primary School Aged Children

    It is the policy of Scottish Rugby that children can begin their introduction to training and playing contact rugby from the age that they enter their 4th year of primary school. Children of Primary 1 to 3 years of age should participate in non-contact versions of the game like tag rugby, focusing on the development of basic movement and coordination skills.

    Further information on what to prioritise at each age and stage of a child and young person's development in rugby is available in Scottish Rugby's Long Term Development Strategy (LTPD).

    Please email [email protected] should you have any questions.

  • Dispensation to Play in a Younger Age Grade

    In exceptional cases a player may be given dispensation to participate in rugby at a level below their true age grade. This could be due to an existing or previous medical disability (physical or behavioural). Any dispensation, if granted, would only be valid for one season, and would only allow players to play down one age grade, in a specific team.

    If a club or school wishes to apply for such a dispensation for a player, they must complete the application form and email it to [email protected], including any supporting evidence of the player's condition. The coach must have completed the annual RugbyRight course and the 2020 E-learning Covid Course. The application form must be signed by the player's parent or guardian and coach.

    Submissions will be considered on a case-by-case basis by Scottish Rugby's medical team.

    2020/21 Application - Dispensation to play down

Contact details

If you can't find the information you're looking for or have a specific query in relation to Age Banding or related matters please contact the Rugby Development department: [email protected]

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