15 pages in 15 minutes for 15 players



A  running/tackling team game to keep a ball alive and to  enable their  side to score more tries than their opponents,  played  by players on their feet.


The first essential for a Captain is that he must get to know his players and command their confidence,  loyalty and respect on and off  the field.   Every player is important and the captain  must realise they are different in nature and temperament.  Psychology is important to lift and lead a team.

In  choosing  a  captain one must look  for  leadership,  a  good student of the game, patient, observant, understanding, and firm.

Lead  by example,  not by mouth,  and never expect any more  from your team members that you are prepared to give yourself.

Have  a  team game plan clearly in your mind and try to sum up  a game as it is played.   Don't be too stereotyped.   Be ever ready and awake to change tactics if necessary,  even though,  in  some instances,  it  might mean a deviation from your coach's original plan  - things  can change very rapidly during the  course  of  a game.

Praise   team  members  individually  for  good  efforts  at  the appropriate time by a hand smack on the shoulder,  accompanied by a word,  "Well done,  Jim; great work!"  Never knock or "roast" a player  during a game;  it tends to make him worse and upset  him completely.   Have your say strongly at the next team discussion; have a fair go and pull no punches.

Insist that everyone is stripped and ready 15 to 20 minutes prior to  the kick-off so that any last-minute loose ends may  be  tied up.

A captain must be tremendously enthusiastic at all times, whether it be in practice or games, and at no stage should he take short-cuts or shirk any training.

Be  absolutely  clear and concise on all team ploys and moves  so that  when  you  use your voice - which should  be  heard  fairly regularly during a game,  urging,  demanding,  lifting the team - there can be no misunderstanding.

At no time allow any team member to upset the referee or question him.   Questioning is the captain's prerogative and must only  be used judiciously and in a pleasant manner. 

Work  in complete harmony with the team coach and don't be afraid to discuss team plans and tactics with him;  not with the players before having done so with the coach.



1.   Ensure that you have a sound knowledge of the laws and basic skills of the game.

2.   By example,  command the confidence,  loyalty and respect of your players.

3.  Work in close harmony with your captain.

4.   Encourage  regular attendances at  practice  sessions.   One weekly session with a 100% attendance is preferable to two with a 75% attendance.

5.  Encourage players to take a pride in their appearance.

6.   Insist  on  sportsmanship  with a healthy respect  for  your opponents and an approach that will make for enjoyable rugby.

7.  Develop a will to win but only by hard, clean play.  There is great pleasure in Rugby; let us keep it that way.

8.   Endeavour  to maintain a good standard of behaviour by  your supporters on the sideline.   Barrack;  yes;  but don't abuse the players and/or the referee.


1.   Do not advocate playing outside the laws of the game or  the man rather than the ball.

2.   Do  not  question the referee's rulings from  the  sideline. Leave any points in dispute to a quiet discussion after the game.

3.  Do not allow your players to question the referee's decision. This  is the prerogative of the captain,  but then only sparingly and for points of clarification.

4.  Do not censure your players from the sideline; leave it until your next team discussion.


The  off-side  law for open play is not the same as  for  scrums, rucks,  mauls and lineouts.   In open play you are off-side  when  you are in front of a player on your own team who has the ball or who has last played it.

Being off-side means you're out of the game and you must not take part in it in any way until you are put on-side again.   There is nothing  wrong with being off-side.   Every player is bound to be off-side at some point in the game.   You get penalised only when you're off-side and you try to take part in the game.

REMEMBER:  simply  being in front of the ball does not  make  you off-side.   You are only off-side if you are in front of the ball when  your team has it (or in front of the last man in your  team to play it) and you haven't been put on-side again.


If  you're off-side when a player on your team kicks  ahead,  and you're within ten metres of an opponent waiting for the ball,  or where the ball pitches,  you must clear out fast until you're ten metres  from him,  or you'll be penalised.   Just by staying near him you are affecting the game.  You must retire at once: nothing he may do can put you on-side.



1.   Develop correct body position in scrums - head up, shoulders square,  back straight, feet back; bend from knees - overall body position low.

2.  Bind firmly and tightly on to the hooker.

3.  Follow the ball into the scrum with outside foot.

4.  Drive weight forward when the ball is put into the scrum.

5.    Specialise  in  scrum  position  and  practise  to  develop techniques.


1.   Specialise in position of No. 2 (jumper) or No. 4 (supporter and protector).

2.  Closely support the lineout jumper.

3.  Hold the lineout line to protect the half-back.

4.  Provide the thrust forward in "driven" lineouts.


1.   Be  as close to the ball as possible to provide the  driving power in second-phase rucking or broken play;  drive forward into rucks behind the ball.

2.  Remember first duties are solid scrummaging, lineout support, and forming the "body" of rucks - these must be performed first - the extra is to participate in running with the ball, etc.


1.   Do not neglect effective body position in  scrums,  lineouts and rucks - it is a common fault to pack too high.

2.  Do not linger at set pieces when the ball has gone.

3.  Do not be dominated in scrums or lineouts by your opponent.

4.  Do not forget to be a tight forward first.

5.  Do not enter rucks from the sides.


On-side means you are no longer off-side, so you can take part in the game again.

Any off-side player (including one off-side under the 'ten metre' law  and  retiring) can be put on-side by his own team  in  these four ways:

1.   A  team mate who kicked the ball when behind him now runs in front of him.

2.   Any other team mate who was on-side when the ball was kicked now runs in front of him.

3.  A team mate with the ball runs in front of him.

4.  He runs behind any of these team mates.

Any  off-side player (except one off-side under the  'ten  metre' law)  is  put  on-side  if an opponent does one  of  these  three things:

1.  carries the ball five metres,

2.  kicks or passes the ball,

3.  intentionally touches it but does not hold it.

Except where the 'ten metre' law applies,  any player who is off- side  in open play is ALWAYS put on-side the moment  an  opponent kicks, passes or deliberately touches the ball.



1.  Bind tightly and securely on to your props.

2.  Keep all your weight on your non-hooking foot.

3.   Keep your back straight,  with head up in scrums - bend from the waist.

4.  Experiment for style for quickest and most effective hook.

5.  Develop a complete understanding with the halfback and timing of scrum "push".

6.  Strike straight for the ball.

7.  Become adept in play from the front end of the lineout.

8.  Become involved as much as possible in general field play.

9.  Be first to scrums.


1.  Do not concede penalties for illegal methods.

2.   Do not allow the body position of straight back, head up, to be upset.

3.   Do  not be only a hooker in scrums - develop other phases of play.


FOR  PLAYERS  TAKING  PART IN  A  LINE-OUT:  (i.e.  all  forwards participating,  both scrum-halves, the player throwing in and his opposing  player)  - until the ball has touched a player  or  the ground,  the offside line is the line of touch.   After that, the offside line runs through the ball itself.   If you're in a line- out keep on your side of the line until the ball  arrives. Then keep on your side of the ball until the line-out ends.

 FOR  PLAYERS NOT TAKING PART IN A LINE-OUT:  (i.e.  all remaining players)  - the off-side line is a ten metres behind the line  of touch, or the goal-line, whichever is nearer.  Until the line-out ends, stay behind that line.


A  line-out starts when the ball leaves the throwers  hands.   It ends when one of four things happen:

1.  The ball leaves the line-out.

2.  A player carrying the ball leaves the line-out.

3.  The ball is thrown beyond the fifteen metre line.

4.   A  ruck or maul forms and the ENTIRE ruck or maul has  moved beyond the line of touch.

5.  The ball becomes unplayable.


    .    single parallel lines.

    .    at least one metre between players of the same team.

    .    clear space half a metre wide between lines.

    .     ball must be thrown in at least five metres along line-of-touch.

    .    thrower stands in touch at place marked by touch judge.

    .    nearest player is at least five metres in.

    .     a number of players must not exceed number used by team throwing in.



1.   Be the "power" men of the team in scrums, lineouts and rucks - to move scrums, lineouts and rucks forward.

2.   Scrum with correct body position - head up,  back  straight, knees bent, shoulders square - overall body position low.

3.  Bind tightly in scrums with lock partner.

4.  Specialise as lineout jumper at No. 3 or No. 5.

5.  Develop perfect understanding with wingers for lineout jump - height of ball, speed of throw, timing.

6.  Endeavour to catch lineout ball with two hands.

7.  Be the strength in driven lineouts.

8.   Enter  rucks from back with low body position - object is to drive forward and over the ball.


1.  Do not push in "some" scrums only.

2.   Do  not  allow body position to become high  in  scrums  and rucks.

3.   Do  not  indulge in loose forward roles - the lock  position demands the sacrifice to dominate the set pieces of play.


For everyone except scrum-halves,  the off-side line runs through the tail-end of the scrum.  Any player not in the scrum must stay behind this line until the ball comes out.   Players in the scrum (and  that means binding) can leave it before the ball  does,  as long as they retreat behind the off-side line.  Scrum-halves must stay behind the ball on the put-in side until the ball is out.


    .    front row of three - no more no less.

    .    heads interlock alternately.

    .     loose head to team putting in the ball on left side  of their scrum.

    .    front row players must bind firmly.

    .     all  forwards must bind with at least one arm around  a body.

    .     half-back  stands  a  metre back and  feeds  the  scrum straight, quickly and without feint.

    .     wing  forwards can pack at any angle but must not swing out to obstruct opponent.



1.  Specialise in lineout position (6,7 or 8) and packing on left or  right  sides  of scrums - then develop  abilities  in  chosen position to utmost.

2.   Be  first  to  a breakdown or in support of  own  attack  to command possession of the ball in second-phase play.

3.   Keep inside the ball when covering on defence or  supporting on attack.

4.   Develop  lineout ability from No.  7 to catch two-handed and flick off top of jump to halfback or supporting forward  ("Willie Away").

5.  Break quickly from set play when the ball has gone.

6.  Anticipate  play  and  developments,  and  position  yourself accordingly.

7.  Develop combination of skills with other loose forwards.

8.  Develop ability to tackle accurately.


1.   Do  not allow the opposing loose forwards to win the race to the loose ball.

2.   Do not "die" with the ball - promote play and keep  movement alive.

3.   Do  not  become  a "back" runner  on  defence  - concentrate abilities as close as possible to the ball.


In  a ruck (=loose scrum,  ball on ground) or a maul (ball  being carried)  the off-side line is like the one for a set  scrum;  it runs through the tail-end of the ruck or maul.   If you're not in a  ruck or maul,  you must either get stuck in on your own  side, behind the ball, or get back behind your off-side line.


Don't handle the ball in a scrum.  Don't make the scrum collapse.

Don't  kick the ball out of the tunnel.   Don't put the ball back into the scrum once it's out.

Do form a scrum quickly.   Form it where the referee  says.   Put the  ball in as soon as you can after the front rows meet.   Keep the tunnel clear and let the ball in.



1.   Be  the fittest player on the field - this position is  most demanding on attack and defence, and fitness is vital.

2.  Attack opposing backlines from No. 8 in lineout.

3.   Be  first  to  the breakdown and control  a  loose  ball  to advantage  of your team,  either breaking,  forward or setting up ruck.

4.   Keep  inside  the  ball on attack  and  defence  and  tackle accurately.

5.   Cover  from  scrums on defence in shallow position  (approx. five yards behind) and swing deep if break  anticipated.   Object is to keep close to the ball.

6.   Form a close liaison with the halfback on attack and defence from scrums.

7.   Support  any player who makes a break - especially close  to the scrum.


1.   Do  not  "hold  off" a loose ball - dive  in  and  establish control.

2.  Do not be left in set pieces when the ball has gone.

3.  Do not be beaten on the inside.

4.  Do not "die" with the ball.


Being tackled is not the same as being brought down.   You can be brought down without having been tackled.

To be tackled,  you must be held and on the ground on one knee or on another player on the ground.

When you've been tackled make the ball available to both teams at once, and leave it alone until you're on your feet.

When  you've  made a tackle let him make the ball  available  and leave it alone until you're on your feet, too.




1.   Practise  as  much  as  possible  with  hooker  and  lineout formation to gain maximum ball possession.

2.  It is essential to pass equally well to both left and right.

3.   Pass in front of your five-eighths so that he takes the ball at speed.

4.   Learn to position your fee and keep your eyes on the ball at all times of taking delivery.

5.   Learn  to  receive  and pass the ball on  in  one  movement, especially from the ground.

6.  Move from one phase of play to the next at top speed.


1.  Do not attempt to run from static rucks.

2.   Do  not  allow kicks to be charged down because of bad  body position.

3.   Do  not  stand  up to pass when receiving the  ball  on  the ground.

4.  Do not try and outwit the referee or abuse your own forwards.

5.  Do not pass too low; err on the high side.

6.   Do not position the first five-eighths so far away that  you have to strain your pass to reach him.


If  one  side  does something wrong and their opponents  gain  an advantage  from  it,  the game goes  on  without  stopping.   The advantage   can  be  tactical  (good  attacking  opportunity)  or territorial (a gain of ground).

Advantage covers 99% of rugby.  It covers all kinds of off-sides, as well as knock-ons, forward passes, scrums, rucks, mauls, line-outs, drop-outs, and in-goal play.





1.  Pass quickly.

2.  Kick accurately with BOTH feet.

3.  Back-up all the time.

4.   Make  sure you are in the correct position relative to  your halfback.

5.  Watch the ball into your hands.

6.  Be constantly thinking of the blindside for attack.


1.  Do not try to play the opposition on your own.

2.  Do not over kick.

3.  Do not creep up and be caught flatfooted.

4.  Do not run across field.

5.  Do not stand too far away from halfback.

 6.   Do  not  consider that your opponent should  be  tackled  by someone else.


Falling on the ball stops a foot rush and is all right.  Lying on the ball stops the entire game, and is all wrong.

When  you  fall on the ball,  you must immediately  do  something about it.   You must either play the ball in some way or get away from it.





1.  Run hard and straight.

2.  Remember that, in the main, you are a link and that there are equally capable men outside you.

3.  You must be in top gear when you receive your pass.

4.  When you have passed the ball swiftly and correctly make sure you get around and back up.

5.  Always keep inside your marker to force him across the field.

6.  Be proficient at kicking with both feet.


1.  Do not run across the field.

2.  Do  not  give  the ball to a man outside you who  is  already covered.

3.  Do  not move up too quickly on defence,  thereby creating  an inside gap.

4.  Do not run too far on attack.

5.  Do not kick unless you can kick accurately.

6.  Do not move ahead of your first five-eighths.



1.   An  outside  centre  must run his wings  into  position  for scoring opportunities.

2.  Pace  at  all times - particularly when going for a  gap  and receiving a pass.

3.  Swing in and straighten before passing.

4.  Run hard.

5.  Take the outside gap.

6.  Get up fast on defence and keep inside your opposite, forcing him towards the sideline.


1.  Do not be a selfish player.

2.  Do not crowd your wings into the sideline.

3.  Do not run too far on attack.

4.  Do not pass the ball only when trapped.

5.  Do not kick when you have team mates lined up outside you.

6.  Do not take up a shallow position on attack.


All laws apply to the in-goal,  except tackle,  scrum,  maul  and lineout,  which  only apply to the field of play.   If a defender breaks a law in his own in-goal, a five metre scrum is given.  If an attacker breaks a law in his opponents in-goal,  a drop-out is given.  If a defender puts the ball into his own in-goal and it's made  dead by any player,  a five metre scrum is  given.   If  an attacker puts the ball into his opponents in-goal, and it's there made dead by any player, a drop out is awarded. (Does not include scoring a try.).



1.  A wing's responsibility is to score tries.

2.  Chase all kicks relentlessly.

3.  On attack go outside, rather than inside your opponent.

4.  Come into the backline often.

5.  Cover-defend from the blind side.

6.  Learn to throw the ball accurately at line-outs.


1.  Do not kick before testing your opponent's tackling ability.

2.  Do not centre-kick excessively.

3.  Do not think the blindside means a rest for you.

4.   Do  not  submit to tackles meekly,  even when the  situation seems hopeless.

5.  Do not get ahead of your centre.

6.  Do not allow your opponent to move inside you on defence.


The  only  way to gain ground is to run or kick.   You  must  not throw or knock the ball forward.

When  you  give a pass the ball must go along or  behind  a  line parallel to the goal lines.

Forward does not mean in front of you,  but toward your opponents in-goal.  If you fumble the ball and it drops toward your own in-goal, this is not a knock-on.


    .    it is not a knock-on when charging down a kick.

    .     it  is not a knock-on when catching the ball or picking it up unless the ball touches the ground or another player.

Note:  A knock-on must not be intentional.   It is an offence  to knock the ball forward intentionally, even if you catch it before it touches the ground or a player.



1.  Safe fielding is the foundation for sound fullback play.

2.  Being able to kick well with both feet is essential.

3.  Join the backline as an extra man.

4.   Tackling take confidence.   Commit yourself to a tackle when sure of getting your man.

5.  Always try to drive the ball carrier into the sideline.

6.   If two or more opponents are approaching you, tackle the one with the ball.


1.  Never take your eyes off the ball.

2.  Do not hug the touchline.

3.  Do not take a high ball front on; stand side on.

4.  Do not tackle head on.

5.  Do  not  let any ball bounce if there is a chance of a  clean take.

6.   Do not consider this position to be a purely defensive one - think attack!


Rugby  is best enjoyed by players on their feet,  playing  within the laws and keeping the ball alive to enable their team to score


Enjoy your Rugby

Allan Steffensen   SARURA  Referee  1989.

Rugby Laws 2022

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