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Mini rugby

mini rugby, mini rugby balls
Mini rugby, also known as New Image Rugby, is a form of rugby union designed to introduce the sport to children It uses a smaller ball and pitch than standard rugby, and has eight to ten players a side12

Invented in England in 1970, mini rugby was soon taken up by both the English Rugby Football Union RFU and the Welsh Rugby Union1

The original game had four backs, and five forwards There was no pushing in the scrum, which was made up of - two props, a hooker and a second row of two locks

The International Rugby Board does not directly govern very junior levels of rugby but rather leaves local bodies to do things as they see fit Consequently, different countries have different junior versions of rugby designed to appeal to, and be safe for, younger children


  • 1 Mini Rugby in England
    • 11 Continuum Stage 1: U7 & U8 Mini Tag Rugby
    • 12 Continuum Stage 2: U9 & U10 Mini Rugby
    • 13 Continuum Stage 3: U11 & U12 Midi Rugby
  • 2 Other names
  • 3 Famous mini rugby players
  • 4 Midi rugby
  • 5 See also
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Mini Rugby in Englandedit

Technically, the RFU's regulations for age-grade rugby under the age of 13 are collectively known as "the rugby continuum", and "mini rugby" is just one of the stages of that continuum However, "mini rugby" is much less of a mouthful and often used to refer to all age groups under the age of 13

The age grade of a player is determined by his or her age at the start of the junior season, which is midnight on 31 August An "under-8", for example, must start the season aged 7, but may turn 8 during the season and will carry on playing as an under-8 until the start of the next season This ties in with the school year and as a result, if you add 5 to their school year you will get their rugby age group For example, school year 2s are rugby Under-7s School year 7s first secondary year are rugby Under-12s

There are 3 stages to the rugby continuum

  • Continuum Stage 1: under-7 and under-8 school years 2&3 - Mini Tag Rugby
  • Continuum Stage 2: under-9 and under-10 school years 4&5 - Mini Rugby
  • Continuum Stage 3: under-11 and under-12 school years 6&7 - Midi Rugby

Ages under-13 to under-19 are then sometimes referred to as "youth rugby", and the game is only modified from the senior game in relatively minor ways

The rule changes are designed to make the game both safe and enjoyable for the level of physical and intellectual development expected in any given age group

Here is a summary of the modifications3 to the International Rugby Board IRB's Laws of the game:

Continuum Stage 1: U7 & U8 Mini Tag Rugbyedit

The game is played on a relatively small pitch with cloth strips tags that are attached to a belt with velcro Tackling is replaced by tagging Tagging is the removal of one of a players tags The game is simplified to consist only of running and passing

  • Pitch maximum size 60x30m
  • Ball: Size 3
  • 10 min each way
  • 5 to 7 a side
  • 5 points for a try No conversions
  • Not allowed: tackling just tagging, rucks, mauls, handing the ball to a team-mate, ripping, going to ground, lineouts, scrums, kicking, hand-offs
  • An under-8 team can only be tagged a maximum number of times before they lose the ball

Continuum Stage 2: U9 & U10 Mini Rugbyedit

This needs review as is no longer accurate - No scrums, lineouts or ripping for U9s Confusion over contested scrums for U10s

At this level tackling replaces tagging and the game becomes more physical Scrums are NOT allowed

  • Pitch maximum size 60x35m
  • Ball: Size 3 for U9s, Size 4 for U10s
  • 15 min each way
  • Up to 9 a side
  • 5 points for a try No conversions
  • Allowed: tackling, handing the ball to a team-mate, ripping, going to ground,
  • Not allowed: kicking or hand-offs

Continuum Stage 3: U11 & U12 Midi Rugbyedit

Scrums and lineouts gain 2 or 3 extra players and some kicking of the ball is allowed for the first time

  • Pitch maximum size 60x43m
  • Ball: Size 4
  • 20 mins each way
  • Up to 12 a sideU11 Up to 13 a sideU12
  • 5 points for a try 2 points for a conversion
  • Allowed: 5 player scrums and lineouts for U11s 6 for U12s Some limited kicking
  • Not allowed: fly-hacking, drop goals, penalty goals, hand-offs

Other namesedit

Mini rugby is known in Wales as "dragon rugby", and Australia as "walla rugby"1 In Ireland the under-7s version of mini rugby is a touch or tag game with no set pieces known as "leprechaun rugby"2

Famous mini rugby playersedit

Well-known English players who came up through the mini rugby system include Jeremy Guscott, Jeff Probyn and Ben Clarke1

Midi rugbyedit

Midi rugby is the "bridge" between mini rugby and the full game It is played twelve a-side1 For the under 12s this is altered to 13 a-side

See alsoedit

  • Tag Rugby
  • American Flag Rugby


  1. ^ a b c d e Rutherford, Don 1993 The Complete Book of Mini Rugby London: Partridge p 2 ISBN 1-85225-196-4 
  2. ^ a b Mini Rugby PDF, Irish Rugby Football Union, p 5, retrieved 3 February 2014 
  3. ^ "RFU - Governance" RFU 

External linksedit

  • mini rugby on the IRFU site
  • mini rugby on minirugbyit
  • The RFU's Regulations Site, including those for the Rugby Continuum

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