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Version control: Original 1986 / Updated 1989 / Updated 1999 / Updated 2003 / Updated 2015/ Updated February 2023



You must refer to the Requirements for All Sport and Physical Activity (PDF 466KB) to understand your overall compliance responsibilities.

All students must have written parental permission to play at intra, inter-school and higher representative levels.

The sample parental permission note should be amended for students selected to play at zone, regional or state representative levels.

Primary schools conducting Rugby programs should be aware of the Australian Rugby Union (ARU) Junior Player Pathway.

The NSWPSSA State Championships and "The Bryan Palmer Shield" Knockout games are played using the Under 19 Laws in conjunction with the "SmartRugby" Program.

Up to Under 19 level, games must be played under the International Rugby Board Under 19 Laws with the Australian Under 19 Law variations and adhere to the "SmartRugby" Program as advocated by the Australian Rugby Union and New South Wales Rugby Union.

Attention is also drawn to the time rule which states:

  • Each half of an Under 19 match lasts no longer than 35 minutes playing time. Play in matches lasts no longer than 70 minutes. After a total of 70 minutes playing time, the referee must not allow extra time to be played in the case of a drawn game in a knockout competition.
  • The maximum playing time is to be 90 minutes in any one day no matter what the games are called (trials, knockout, carnival or tournaments).

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Teacher/Instructor Qualifications

The coach must have appropriate expertise, qualifications and/or training in the teaching/coaching of Rugby.

SmartRugby is the minimum compulsory requirement for every coach and match official participating in Rugby where there is a tackling component. Accreditation details of the coaches, should be recorded by the principal.

A teacher must be present who has recognised current training in emergency care.

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Where an adult other than a teacher is engaged to provide instruction, a teacher must be present to take overall responsibility.

It is recommended that qualified referees be used for inter-school competition.

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Appropriate padding must be used on goal posts.

Mouthguards must be worn in the following circumstances:

  • All selection trials and games organised for any occasion by the school, the school's sporting zone, regional and/or state school sport association.
  • All games or competitions organised by external organisations that are school endorsed activities.
  • All training sessions where skills training requires physical contact between participants.

Players should be encouraged to wear head gear designed primarily to protect the ears and head against abrasions. Shoulder pads and chest pads (females) can also be worn. All protective gears worn in competition must have the IRB Approved Mark.

Boots must conform to the Laws of the Game. Studs must not be longer than 21mm and must not have any ridges, burring or sharp edges.

A well-equipped medical kit must be readily available.

Principals and teachers are advised that when conducting individual activity based ‘training sessions’ and or skill sessions the use of safety equipment (eg shin guards, mouthguards, headgear, shoulder pads) may be optional after considering the level of risk involved and assessing any possible risk as minimal.

Students involved in “opposition based drills and contact games” must wear the specified safety equipment.

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Enclosed grounds are preferred for inter-school fixtures. Grounds must be free of obstructions and loose objects and marked avoiding the use of hydrated lime.

Spectators must be positioned at an appropriate distance from the field of play during play.

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All players are to be inserviced in the "SmartRugby" Program by their team coach. SmartRugby is designed to inform coaches and match officials of best practice techniques, to minimise the risk of injury to players. The three main areas that the "SmartRugby" Program focuses on are the Tackle, Scrum and Preparation for Contact.

Courses and coaching manuals which provide details of exercises specific to these requirements can be found at SMARTRUGBY.

Schools/coaches must consider the physical development, skill level and experience of the students when selecting teams. Sample Consent Form for Rugby (DOCX 27KB)

If students are being considered to play in competitions above their age cohort then the player's physical development, skill level and experience, as well as the playing environment and the standard of the opposition, must be assessed before a player is allowed to step up. In such circumstances parents must be aware of the age variation and provide additional written consent.

Each school is required to have a structured training and coaching program and an agreed selection procedure for teams participating in intra and inter-school programs. Training must be specific to the player’s position and physique.

Coaches of intra or inter-school teams must be aware of the specific strength and physical requirements of the activity. For example, the most desirable and suitable body build for a front row forward.

Students assessed as having an inappropriate physique for selection in the front row must not be allowed in any circumstances to play in this position. Particular care must be taken to prevent students with such physiques from playing in this position as a replacement or by positional change during the course of a game.

If a front row forward is replaced through injury or suspension, the coach must ensure the replacement player has the appropriate training and experience for the position to be filled and the physical requirements for the position.

If a suitable replacement for the front row position is not available, then non-contested scrums shall be played. Rugby coaches should note that they are required to have at least four players who can play in the front row.

Students must not be allowed to play or continue to play if they are injured. If a teacher has reason to believe that a student is injured, the student must be removed from the play. Coaches must not allow students to return to playing after injury until it is clear that the injury has healed. If there is any doubt, the student is not to play until medically cleared.

Where possible, but particularly for representative matches, there should be a person present at each sporting venue who has current first-aid qualifications. A well-equipped medical kit must be available at each venue.

Warm-up and cool-down are vital elements in preventing injury and should be included before and after all training and competition sessions. Stretching activities performed in the warm-up should move the muscles through the full range of movement to be performed during the training session or game.

The warm-up should be continuous and lead into the training session. It should include games/activities relevant to the session to be performed.

Students trialling for zone or regional teams must present to the organisers, a permission note (similar to the school rugby union/league note) signed by the parent or caregiver.

Students must remove jewellery and other ornaments likely to cause injury.

Should an injury occur involving bleeding these procedures should be followed

  • All clothing, equipment and surfaces contaminated by blood must be viewed as potentially infectious and treated accordingly
  • Participants who are bleeding must have the wound dressed and securely covered
  • Any blood covered body area (and surface area where appropriate), must be cleaned thoroughly and any blood covered clothing and equipment cleaned or removed prior to the participant recommencing the activity.

Where possible, ice should be available for the treatment of injuries.

Students are to be instructed to use adequate sun protection, e.g. an SPF50+, broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen reapplied regularly.

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