The following link provides a full listing of the laws of rugby union. The laws of the game are distinct from the RFU's rugby regulations.
Should you have any questions in relation to law clarifications or changes, please contact the RFU dedicated e-mail service: email@example.com
The principles upon which the laws of the game are based are:
A Sport for All
Maintaining the Identity
Enjoyment and Entertainment
There is an over-riding obligation on the players to observe the laws and to respect the principles of fair play. The Laws must be applied in such a way as to ensure that the game is played according to the principles of play. The referee and touch judges can achieve this through fairness, consistency, sensitivity and, at the highest levels, management. In return it is the responsibility of coaches, captains and players to respect the authority of the match officials.
- RFU Rules (80kB)
- RFU Regulation 1: Definitions (PDF 72kB)
- RFU Regulation 2: Application and Enforcement of Regulations (PDF 36kB)
- RFU Regulation 3: Membership of RFU (PDF 42kB)
- Appendix 1 (MS Word 88kB)
- Changing Club Name, Referee Society Name Or Team Name Guidance (PDF)
- Club Change of Name Request Form (MS Word 88kB)
- Team Change of Name Request Form (MS Word 96kB)
- RFU Regulation 4: Club Ownership, Mergers and Acquisitions (PDF 36kB)
- RFU Regulation 5: Financial (PDF 49kB)
- RFU Regulation 6: Disclosure of Information (PDF 28kB)
- RFU Regulation 7: Players (PDF 48kB)
- RFU Regulation 8: Agents (PDF 51kB)
- Appendix 1 - Key Mandatory Provisions (PDF 36kB)
- Premiership agent declaration form
- Championship agent declaration form
- Level 3 clubs and below agent declaration form
- Guidance for young players and their parents/guardians when dealing with RFU registered agents (PDF 114 kB)
- Agents Code of Conduct when dealing with children (PDF 110 kB)
- Academy Player Approaches and Academy Compensation Regulations
- RFU Regulation 9: Player Safety (PDF 40kB)
- RFU Regulation 10: Cross-Union Matches and Sevens (PDF 41kB)
- RFU Regulation 11: The Season (PDF 32kB)
- RFU Regulation 12: Match Officials (PDF 36kB)
- RFU Regulation 13: Adult Competitions (PDF 134kB)
- RFU Regulation 14: Registration of Adult Players (PDF 62kB)
- RFU Regulation 15: Age Grade Rugby (PDF 59kB)
- Appendix 1 Under 7s Rules of Play(PDF 54kB)
- Appendix 2 Under 8s Rules of Play (PDF 50kB)
- Appendix 3 Under 9s Rules of Play (68kB)
- Appendix 4 Under 10s Rules of Play (PDF 122kB)
- Appendix 5 Under 11s Rules of Play (PDF 62kB)
- Appendix 6 Under 12s Rules of Play - Boys only (PDF 144kB)
- Appendix 7 Under 13s Rules of Play - Boys only (PDF 66kB)
- Appendix 8 Under 14s Rules of Play - Boys only (PDF 72kB)
- Appendix 9 Under 15s to 18s Rules of Play - Boys only (PDF 50kB)
- Appendix 10 Under 13s Rules of Play - Girls only (PDF 56kB)
- Appendix 11 Under 15s to 18s Rules of Play - Girls only (PDF 56kB)
- Guidance to Regulation 15 (Age Grade Rugby) (PDF 336kB)
- Consent form for non-EAPs playing out of age grade (MS Word 64kB)
- Playing adult rugby form (MS Word 48kB)
- Consent form – U15 playing against U17 outside of England (MS Word 556kB)
- Guidance to non-contact invasion games (PDF 292kB)
- Summer activities (PDF 196kB)
- RFU goggles update (PDF 100kB)
- RFU Regulation 16: Adult Women Competitions (PDF 29kB)
- Appendix 1 - Adult Women Competitions(PDF 32kB)
- RFU Regulation 17: Anti-Corruption and Betting (PDF 64kB)
- RFU Regulation 18: IP and Media Rights (PDF 30kB)
- RFU Regulation 19: Discipline (PDF 91kB)
- Appendix 1 - Yellow Cards (PDF 28kB)
- Appendix 2 - Recommended Sanctions (PDF 52kB)
- Appendix 3 - Disciplinary Costs (PDF 33kB)
- Appendix 4 - Citing Procedures (PDF 40kB)
- Appendix 5 - Guidance Issued by the RFU Disciplinary Officer (PDF 47kB)
- Appendix 6 - Age Grade Rugby (PDF 67kB)
- Appendix 7 - Flow Chart for Procedure to be used in disciplinary hearings; Specimen Charge Sheet; Draft Discipline Judgment; CB Short Judgment Form (PDF 59kB)
- RFU Regulation 20: Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs (PDF 50kB)
- RFU Regulation 21: Safeguarding (PDF 44kB)
- Premiership regulations 2016-17
- Championship Regulations 2016-17
- British & Irish Cup Regulations 2016-17
- Anglo-Welsh Cup Regulations 2016-17
- AASE League Regulations 2016-17
Clubs playing in the South West Leagues of the English Clubs Championship are subject to the Laws of the Game and the Regulations laid down for the competition.
In addition Clubs are bound by the South West Administration Instructions which lays down procedures relating to the method of submitting registrations, reporting results/postponements, sending in result cards and the appeal procedure.
The Instructions can be viewed at http://www.swrugby.co.uk/laws/2016%20Admin%20Instructions.pdf
Rolling Subs can be viewed at http://www.swrugby.co.uk/subs.htm
Kit – Clash of Colours Regulation 13.6.3
Following requests from many clubs the SWDOC has agreed that regulation 13.6.3 (a) (i) will apply at ALL levels in the South West leagues. I.e. it is the responsibility of the AWAY team (NOT THE HOME TEAM) to change shirts if there is a clash of colours.
Please discuss with your opponents when confirming the match arrangements, kick-off times etc. prior to your league game. The reasoning for keeping the home club in their usual colours is for the benefit of match sponsors who expect to see their logos and branding being used.
It should be noted that the regulation as printed in the RFU handbook omitted part of the wording which gives the SW the discretion to make this ruling.
Clubs playing in the "deregulated leagues" have opted out of certain regulations - specific details can be viewed below. (all updated for 2016-2017) De-regulation for Dorset & Wilts RFU Leagues Levels 8 to 10 for the Season 2016/17
The RFU, through the South West Divisional Organising Committee (SW DOC), has delegated to constituent bodies the organization of leagues at Level 8 and below. Dorset & Wilts RFU, subject to the approval of SW DOC and the RFU may de-regulate those leagues. The de-regulation that will be applied in Dorset & Wilts Leagues is summarised in this Appendix. Clubs should refer to their appointed League Secretary for guidance who will administer in accordance with RFU Regulation, the administrative instructions issued by the SW DOC and the de-regulation set out in this Appendix.
2. Principles of Promotion and Relegation.
RFU Regulation governs the promotion of teams where two Leagues support one League. Although there are two leagues at Level 8 in the Dorset & Wilts Leagues they are not all composed of eligible teams and so promotion will be limited as if there were only one league, i.e. only two Club First XV’s will be eligible for promotion from Level 8. If a team at the top of a Level 8 league is eligible then it will be promoted, otherwise the Dorset & Wilts RFU Competitions Committee may nominate eligible teams for promotion taking into account the principles of RFU Regulation or order play offs in accordance with the RFU regulation to establish which eligible teams should be nominated for promotion.
3. Referees Touch Judges and Match Officials.
RFU Regulations cover the appointment of match officials. In the Dorset & Wilts Leagues at levels 9 and below, where a league fixture does not involve a 1st XV then the host club cannot rely upon the referee society to appoint a match official. The onus will be on the host club to arrange a suitably qualified referee and where this is not done, and where the League Secretary deems the host club has not made the necessary effort to appoint a referee, then a league fixture will be deemed to be forfeited and will not be postponed to a later date, if that is the only reason for postponement.
4. Eligibility and Player Registration.
4.1. Registered and Unregistered players.
RFU Regulation requires all players to be registered. In the Dorset & Wilts Leagues only players selected to represent Club 1st XV’s will be required to have effective registration subject to the latitude that the regulations permit selection of up to two players without Effective Registration at Level 9 or below, in accordance with the provisos in that Regulation. They cannot play a second time without having been registered. The unregistered players’ date of birth must be recorded against the players name on the result card.
Players registered for one club may not play for another at any level except where permitted under RFU Regulation or under the specific circumstances of a composite team as per paragraph 1 above. All teams are to list their team by name on the form provided for the match report and only bona fide members of the club may represent the club at any level. Students at FE College or University who are not Registered may play for their club during a break from their studies, subject to the limits in 4.1 above and dual registration is permitted in the circumstances specified in RFU Regulation.
4.3. Team Composition.
In the event that a significant number of players registered for a club are nominated to play for a 3rd or 4th XV at Level 9 or below then the League Secretary may request an explanation and award up to 2 penalty points if he is not satisfied with the answer.
4.4. Higher Level Team Not Fielded.
At Level 8 in the Dorset & Wilts Leagues RFU Regulation applies in respect of replacements but at Levels 9 & 10 there will be no requirements for replacements and there will be no limit to the number of interchanges allowed. Where the only XV in a club is in a Level 8 league then it may have unlimited replacements but is limited to 8 interchanges. At Levels 9 & 10 the following will apply:
5.1. Lowest Team.
The lowest or only team in a club, judged by the regular fixture list published for the club not by the circumstances of the day, does not have to have three replacements nor is it limited to three.
5.2. Front Row.
6. Concessions and Point Deductions.
Penalty points will be deducted if a team fails to fulfil a league fixture however if a team concedes a match but still enables a game to be played then no league points will be deducted. For example if a team is unable to field at least 12 players or contest the first scrum of a match before any injuries have occurred to a front row player - i.e. they started the match without a front row – then the match is forfeit but no league points will be deducted as long as a game takes place.
7. Limitation on Uncontested Wins.
In the event that a team has caused matches to be played with uncontested scrums continuing up to the final whistle and has gained more than two wins in such circumstances then the League Secretary can decide not to award any further points for that team as a consequence of winning subsequent matches played with uncontested scrums.
8. Player Numbers in League Levels 9 & 10.
At Levels 9 and 10 if a team is short of players the opposition is encouraged to loan players to the team that is short of numbers in an effort to enable the game to take place.
If they do not loan players then the match will be played with sides of equal numbers based on the lowest number fielded by one of the sides. The minimum number for a valid match will be 12 in a team. (Comment: If a team only has 12 players and none are loaned, then the game is to be played at 12-a-side. Less than 12 players and the match has to be conceded by the team short of players but if any kind of contested game is played then points are not deducted as per para 6 above.)
9. Maximum score.
At level 9 and below, when the scoring differential reaches 60 points the result will be recorded as at that time in the game. If mutually agreed, the match may continue to full time but further scores will not be recorded or reported.
- Players should be loaned to ensure a game is played or continued with contested scrums. The result will stand.
- Level 8 matches will require adherence to the usual Regulations for replacements and front row replacement, i.e. at least one front row replacement must be available in the nominated team.
- If a team at Level 8 has used all its permitted player interchanges and then suffers a FR injury, even though they may have a FR replacement still available, they would not be able to use him and would therefore cause the match to go to uncontested scrums and suffer any sanction imposed.
- Any issue that arises over whether a league match can/cannot be played – such as ground condition or lack of players – must be discussed urgently with the league secretary before any decision is made to cancel a game. Clubs should make every effort to play a game whenever possible.