Under 9 - Transitional Contact
Players and match officials must endeavour to ensure the iRB Law of the Game, modified by the following playing rules, are observed when playing rugby at Under 9:
a) The object of the game is to score a try (5 points) by placing the ball with a downward
pressure on or behind the opponents' goal line. A penalty try will be awarded if a try would
probably have been scored but for foul play by the defending team.
b) When a try is scored, the game is restarted by a free pass from the centre of the pitch by the
a) Under 9 Transitional Rugby is played between teams of equal numbers of players, containing
not more than seven players and not less than six players. Each side can have an agreed
number of substitutes. Substituted players can be re-used at any time. Substitutions can only
take place when the ball is "dead" or at half time and always with the referee's knowledge.
3. Pitch size
The maximum pitch size is
a) 60 metres by 30 metres, plus 5 metres for each in-goal area.
b) Reduced pitch sizes are acceptable provided this is agreed between the officiating referee
and coaches, and the smaller pitches do not materially increase the risk of injury to
c) Adjacent pitches should be no closer than 5 metres
a) Fixture (2 Clubs/Schools are present): 15 minutes each way, 1 game = 30 minutes
b) Fixture (3 Clubs/Schools are present): 10 minutes each way, 2 games = 40 minutes
c) Festival: 6 minutes each way, maximum of 5 games = 60 minutes (total playing time)
a) The ball can only be passed sideways or backwards. If the ball is knocked forwards
(towards the opponents' goal-line) then a free pass is awarded to the non-offending side,
unless advantage occurs to the non-offending side. In order to keep the game flowing,
referees should play advantage wherever possible. 6. Free Passes:
A free pass is used:
a) to start the match at the beginning of each half from the centre of the pitch
b) when there has been foul play
c) for a forward pass
d) for a knock on
At a free pass, the opposition must be 7 metres back from the mark. They cannot start moving forward
until the ball leaves the hands of the passer. At a free pass, the player must start with the ball in both
hands and, when instructed by the referee who will call "PLAY", pass the ball backwards through the
air to a member of their team. For safety reasons, no player may run until the pass is made. The player
taking the free pass must pass the ball when the referee calls "PLAY".
7. The Tackle:
a) Only the ball carrier can be tackled. The ball carrier can run and dodge potential tacklers
but cannot fend them off using their hands (hand off) or the ball. The ball cannot be
pulled out of the ball carrier's hands at any time.
b) A "TACKLE" in the transitional game is deemed to be:
Any contact below the arm pits of the ball carrier which results in a grip by the opponent of
the ball carrier. Where the ball carrier remains on their feet the referee must call “TACKLE”
(allow approx 3 secs to establish whether ball carrier held). Where ball carrier is taken to
ground, the referee must call “TACKLE”
b) ACTIONS BY THE BALL CARRIER in the tackle:
a) The ball carrier, on hearing “tackle” from the referee must pass the ball to a supporting
player from their own team, either from standing or from the ground within 3 seconds of
b) Once “tackle” has been called the ball carrier can continue to go forward (if on their feet),
but must pass within the 3 seconds.
c) The ball carrier cannot score a try once “tackle” has been called and must pass to a
d) If the ball carrier is within a metre of their opponents try line the referee should allow the
3 seconds before calling “tackle”. If the player touches the ball down over the try-line
within that time, a try should be awarded
c) ACTIONS BY THE TACKLER:
a) The tackler must grasp the ball carrier below the arm pits, on the shirt, shorts or around
b) The tackler may not contest the ball (grabbing it, blocking the pass), but must simply
work to stop the ball carrier from gaining ground
c) More than one defender is allowed in the tackle, but must allow the ball carrier to pass
the balld) Once the referee has called “tackle”, the defender can continue to keep hold to prevent
further forward movement of the ball carrier, but must release and rejoin the game once
the pass has been made. If the tackle is made to ground, the tackler should get to their feet
as soon as possible, but cannot contest the ball or block the pass and must endeavour to
get in an on-side position (between their own try line and the tackled player)
e) If the ball carrier has not been held for 3 seconds and the referee has not called TACKLE,
The ball carrier is allowed to score a try after being tackled, or in one movement (if on the
ground) place the ball over the try line
ACTIONS BY THE ATTACKING TEAM:
f) When the tackle is made the ball carrier’s team should support from behind.
g) The supporting players may not assist the ball carrier in moving forward by either driving
with the shoulder or “binding” on
h) The supporting players should be in a position to receive a pass.
i) A supporting player may rip the ball from the ball carrier but must then pass the ball
immediately to a team mate.
j) Support players must not deliberately stand either side and in close proximity to the ball
carrier to prevent defenders from making the next tackle
k) A supporting play may pick the ball up from a tackled player to ground, but must then
pass the ball to a team mate
ACTIONS BY THE DEFENDING TEAM
l) When the tackle is made other defenders cannot join the tackle (i.e. it is a 1 v 1 tackle)
m) The tackled player represents the off side line and defenders must endeavour to retreat to
stay between their own try line and the tackled player until the pass is made (off side)
Transitional Rugby Variation (Under 9 ONLY).
TO BE AGREED BY BOTH COACHES & REFEREE PRIOR TO THE COMMENCEMENT
OF THE MATCH. Where the players are confident & proficient and to challenge them further:
To reward good defence and to promote the attacking side keeping the ball alive by passing the ball
before being tackled, the side in possession of a ball will only be allowed to be tackled a maximum of
6 times before scoring a try. At the 7th tackle, the referee will stop the game and give the ball to the
other side by awarding a free pass at the point that the tackle took place. If the 7th tackle takes place
one metre from the try line and the ball is grounded, the try will be disallowed and the opposition will
be given the ball for a free pass7 metres out from the goal line, in line with the point the goal line was
a) Offside only occurs at the time of the Tackle where the offside line is the hindmost part of
the tackled player. When a Tackle is made, all the other players from the tackler's team
must attempt to retire towards their own goal-line until they are behind the hindmost part
of the tackled player. If a player, in an offside position, intercepts, prevents or slows down
a pass from the tackled player to a team mate, a free pass will be awarded to the nonoffending side. A player can, however, run from an onside position to intercept a floated
pass before it reaches the intended receiver.
9. Obstruction: a) The ball carrier can run and dodge potential tacklers but cannot fend them off using their
hands (hand off).
b) The tackler can only make contact with the ball carrier below the arm pits.
c) If such contact is made the game must be stopped, the offender spoken to, reminded of
the contact rules and a free pass awarded to the non-offending side.
d) If the ball is pulled from the ball carrier's grasp, a free pass is awarded to the ball carrier's
a) There is no kicking of any kind.
11. Ball on the Ground:
a) Players play Rugby on their feet, with the ball in hand. If the ball goes to ground, players
should be encouraged to pick it up. If they dive to recover the ball they must either get up
or play the ball (pass) immediately & be allowed to do so by their opponents.
Penalty: free pass to non-offending side and the following rules will apply:
b) If the ball was lost forward, a free pass is awarded to the non-offending side unless
advantage occurs to the non-offending side.
c) If the ball is passed other than forward and goes to ground play will continue and either
side may pick up the ball. If the passed ball rolls into touch a free pass will commence at
one metre in from the touchline to the non-passing side.
12. Prohibited Play:
In Transitional Rugby, there is total emphasis for the attack; on running with the ball, evasion, running in
support of the ball carrier and passing; and for the defence: on running to tackle the ball carrier, prevent them
going forward, and to get back into the game. In Transitional Rugby :
a) no contact above the shoulder
b) no line-out;
c) no kicking;
d) no scrum
e) no hand off/fend off (a hand off being the placing of an open palmed hand by the ball
carrier against an opponent's face or body while a fend off is an outstretched arm by the ball
carrier towards an opponent to discourage that person making a tag);
f) no ripping of the ball by the defender.