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.

On 17 May 2021, this guide was published to explain how age banding would work for the summer of 2021 until the end of 2021.


  • 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 2021-22, an U18 player must have been born on or between 1 September 2003- 31 August 2005. That age grade applies for the whole season. National and regional representation cut off dates are 1 January.

    Application Procedures

    Please note that the application process for U18s to play adult rugby is currently suspended. This position will be reviewed in December 2021 at which point, the actual amount of rugby played by schools and clubs in Scotland, as well as additional factors such as the national position on Covid-19 and latest medical advice will be considered before a decision is made as to whether to reinstate the application process for the remainder of season 2021-22.

    **Exception**

    The only exception to this rule, is for those players whose 18th birthday falls between 1 July 2021 and 31 August 2021 and who will therefore play adult rugby in season 2021-22. These players may apply for clearance over the summer to play in the age group they are due to move into, in order to prepare them for the season ahead. The application form for these players is available below:

    Application Form

    Prerequisites

    Players must complete the 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.



    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 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.

    Application Procedures

    Please note that the application process for U16s to play U18s rugby is currently suspended. This position will be reviewed in December 2021 at which point, the actual amount of rugby played by schools and clubs in Scotland, as well as additional factors such as the national position on Covid-19 and latest medical advice will be considered before a decision is made as to whether to reinstate the application process for the remainder of season 2021-22.

    **Exception**

    The only exception to this rule, is for those players whose 16thbirthday falls between 1 July 2021 and 31 August 2021 and who will therefore play U18 rugby in season 2021-22. These players may apply for clearance over the summer to play in the age group they are due to move into, in order to prepare them for the season ahead. The application form for these players is available below:

    Application Form

    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

    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.

    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.

    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 2009 AND;
    • are at least 10 years old on 1st September 2021 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 2007 AND;
    • are at least 12 years old on 1st September 2021 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 2005 AND;
    • are at least 14 years old on the day of the match

    U18 Rugby

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

    • are born on or after 1st September 2003 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.

    Application to play up an age grade

    Please note that the application process for U16s to play U18 rugby and U18s to play adult rugby is currently suspended. This position will be reviewed in December 2021 at which point, the actual amount of rugby played by schools and clubs in Scotland, as well as additional factors such as the national position on Covid-19 and latest medical advice will be considered before a decision is made as to whether to reinstate the application process for the remainder of season 2021-22.

    **Exception**

    The only exception to this rule, is for those players whose 16th(in the case of U16 players) or 18thbirthday (in the case of U18 players) falls between 1 July 2021 and 31 August 2021 and who will therefore play at the next age group in season 2021-22. These players may apply for clearance over the summer to play in the age group they are due to move into, in order to prepare them for the season ahead. The application forms for these players is available below:

    Download application form for U16 unto U18 rugby

    Download application form for U18 into adult rugby

    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 (U16 into U18 rugby)

    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.

    Front Row Players

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

    Pre-Application Assessment (U18 into adult rugby)

    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.

    Front Row Players

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

    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

  • 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.

    2021/22 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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