Mini rugby

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 side.[1][2]

Invented in England in 1970, mini rugby was soon taken up by both the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Welsh Rugby Union.[1]

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.

Mini Rugby in England

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 modifications[3] to the International Rugby Board (IRB)'s Laws of the game:

Continuum Stage 1: U7 & U8 (Mini Tag Rugby)

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 teammate, 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 Rugby)

[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 teammate, ripping, going to ground,
  • Not allowed: kicking or hand-offs.

Continuum Stage 3: U11 & U12 (Midi Rugby)

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 side(U11). Up to 13 a side(U12).
  • 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 names

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 players

Well-known English players who came up through the mini rugby system include Jeremy Guscott and Ben Clarke.[1]

Midi rugby

Midi rugby is the "bridge" between mini rugby and the full game. It is played twelve a-side.[1] For the under 12s this is altered to 13 a-side.

See also


  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, archived from the original (PDF) on 22 September 2013, retrieved 3 February 2014
  3. ^ "RFU - Governance". RFU.

External links

Ards RFC

Ards RFC (Ards Rugby Football Club) is a rugby club based in Newtownards, County Down, Northern Ireland, playing in the Ulster Qualifying League. It is affiliated to the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union. The club currently fields three adult teams. Three youth teams also play at under-18, under-16 and under-14 levels. There is also a very successful Mini rugby section of the club. The club works in close collaboration with local schools such as Regent House Grammar School who have provided much of the playing talent of which can be seen at the club to date. Players such as Johnny Harris, Stewart Paul and Davy Thompson all originate from the school.

Ballynahinch RFC

Ballynahinch Rugby Club is an Irish rugby union club based in the County Down town of Ballynahinch in Northern Ireland. Founded in 1954, the club is affiliated to the Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

The first team currently plays Senior rugby union in All-Ireland League, Division 1B and the club also fields six Junior standard adult teams. Youth teams (male and female) compete at under-16, under-14, under-12 and the mini-rugby levels.

Banbridge RFC

Banbridge RFC (Banbridge Rugby Football Club) is a rugby union club based in Banbridge, County Down, in the province of Ulster. It currently plays in Division 1B of the Ulster Bank All-Ireland League after gaining promotion in 2017 and Division 1 of the SONI Premiership. In addition to the senior team, the club fields another 4 adult junior-standard teams, and youth U18, U16 and U14 teams, as well as a large mini rugby section and a Ladies Committee which is the envy of the country.

Darlington RFC

Darlington RFC are a rugby union team that are situated in the North East town of Darlington, County Durham. They play at Blackwell Meadows on the south side of the town running parallel to the town's A66 by-pass. The first XV plays in Durham/Northumberland 2.

The club also runs a highly successful youth and mini rugby tournament every year Darlington Festival, traditionally on May Bank Holiday Weekend.This is attended by teams from across the north of England and Scotland of late.

Giulio Bisegni

Giulio Bisegni (born 4 April 1992) is an Italian rugby union player who plays as a Centre . He currently plays for Zebre in the Pro14.Born in Frascati he was coached at local mini team ASD Frascati Mini Rugby 2001, in 2010 season he moved to promoted side Lazio, a team based in Rome. In January 2014, he trained with Zebre as a permit player. In May 2014, it was announced that he joined Zebre.

Greenock Wanderers RFC

Greenock Wanderers R.F.C. is a rugby union team based in Greenock, Scotland. They currently compete in BT West League Division 1, the 4th tier of Scottish club rugby.

It consists of 1st XV, 2nd XV, Women's 1st XV, under-18, under-17, under-16, under-15, S2 and S1 plus a complete Mini section; a mini rugby tournament is organised every year. Greenock Wanderers was formed in 1873, making it one of the oldest clubs in Scotland. They won the 2009–10 Scottish National League Division Two losing only one game and thus being promoted to the Scottish National League Division One that year.

Greenock Wanderers Rugby Football Club is one of the oldest clubs in Scotland. It was formed in 1873, the same year in which Napoleon III of France abdicated, David Livingstone died in Africa and the American Civil War was still uppermost in people's minds.

Wanderers are extremely proud of the fact that they have been able to maintain the interest and enthusiasm within the local environments for more than 130 years, forging numerous links with the local community. They are currently going through an expansion program, to open the field of rugby football to a greater audience, hitherto untapped.

The 1st XV is once more competing successfully in the top 25% of clubs in Scotland, and, supported by a flourishing Youth Program spanning ages 7 to 17, they are the envy of many other clubs.

In 2014 a Women's section was formed, who have gone from strength to strength to now compete in the 2nd tier of Women's Rugby in Scotland, the BT National League Division 1. In 2018 the Women's section were BT Women's National Plate Finalists.

A new clubhouse was opened in 2008 after extensive work projects, providing top-notch hospitality to home and away supporters. The clubhouse was officially opened by The Princess Royal.

Malahide RFC

Malahide RFC is an Irish rugby club based in Malahide, Fingal County, playing in Division 2C of the All-Ireland League. The club was founded in 1922 but disbanded in 1944 because of a lack of members during World War II. The club was reformed in 1978 and in 2006 the club moved into its new grounds on Estuary Road. The club colours are black and amber, the same colours as Malahide Cricket Club and Malahide Yacht Club.

Malone RFC

Malone RFC (Malone Rugby Football Club) is a rugby union club based in Belfast, in Northern Ireland. It is currently in the Division 1B of the All-Ireland League. The club is affiliated with the Ulster Branch, itself part of the Irish Rugby Football Union. It is one of the last remaining Belfast rugby clubs not to have amalgamated and still plays at its original ground. As well as its successful Senior teams, it has a thriving Youth and Mini structure, and was the first Mini rugby team from Ireland to play in the renowned Fundacion Cisneros International rugby tournament in Madrid.

Matt Hopper

Matt Hopper (born 29 January 1985 in Exeter, England), is a rugby union player for Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. He primarily plays as a Centre but can also cover Fullback.

Hopper started playing mini rugby at age 10 and continued through school and in the junior teams of the Exeter Chiefs, following in the footsteps of his father Keith who captained Exeter during the 1960s. He also played for Wessex and, while studying, for Cardiff University. After graduation Matt spent a year in Australia and played for Manly, before returning to the UK and joining Plymouth Albion.

Following two years with Plymouth, Hopper joined Cornish Pirates in 2010. Pirates were defeated over the two legs of the 2010-11 RFU Championship Final by Worcester, but the team’s dynamic playing style had attracted attention from several Premiership clubs and Hopper was recruited to join Harlequins in April 2011.Hopper made his competitive debut for Quins against Sale Sharks in round 5 of the Aviva Premiership and gained his first start against Gloucester in the Heineken Cup, scoring a try. An injury to George Lowe gave Matt a run in the first XV and he played seven full matches during December 2011 and January 2012, including an away victory against French giants Toulouse. Hopper impressed many during this period and was rewarded with a call up to Stuart Lancaster’s Saxons squad to face the Irish Wolfhounds on 28 January 2012.He was a replacement for Harlequins in their 2011–12 Premiership final victory over Leicester Tigers.ON 13 April 2017, Hopper to leave Harlequins and join French club Oyonnax in the Top 14 from the 2017-18 season.

Melbourne Rugby Football Club

Melbourne Rugby Football Club is an English rugby union club that plays in Midlands 1 East following the club's promotion from Midlands 2 East (North) as champions at the end of the 2018-19 season. The club has a lot of teams including junior and mini rugby teams as well as a large opportunity for women to play rugby. England U18s' Will Allman's home club is Melbourne.

Monkstown Football Club

Monkstown Football Club is an Irish rugby club based in Dublin, playing in Division 1A of the Leinster League.

In addition to the First XV, they also have Second (J2), Third (J3) and Fourth (J4) XV's, a mini rugby section and a Golden Oldies team.

Monmouth RFC

Monmouth Rugby Football Club is a rugby union club, from Monmouth in South Wales. The club is a member of the Welsh Rugby Union and is a feeder club for the Newport Gwent Dragons.The Senior XV presently play in the Welsh Rugby Union Division Four East. The Second XV, known as the Druids, play in the Monmouthshire League. The club also runs a youth team, junior and mini rugby sections.

Nakuru RFC

Nakuru Rugby Football Club also known as 'Wanyore' is a Kenyan rugby club based in Nakuru. It has played for several years in the Kenya Cup and Eric Shirley Shield leagues run by the Kenya Rugby Football Union. Nakuru RFC operates and trains at the Nakuru Athletic Club Grounds in Nakuru. They play at the 2,000-capacity Nakuru Stadium.

Nakuru Rugby Football Club is the most successful club out of Nairobi and one of the upcountry rugby teams that participates in Kenya Cup (the league) alongside Kisumu, Eldoret, Western Bulls, Kabras and Mombasa. In addition to the senior team, Nakuru RFC has a second team 'Nakuru II which participates in the Eric Shirley Shield. The club also runs a mini rugby program, a development women’s team, and a scholarship program for talented underprivileged players. The management committee consists of the chairman and a nine-man sitting committee who run the affairs of the club.

The team finished second in the 2012 Kenya Cup (Premier Rugby League in Kenya) before being crowned champions in 2013. In 2014, the team is in the hunt for double honours yet again, qualifying for the finals of both the Kenya Cup, and Enterprise Cup.

The Team also boast of an elaborate youth development system, with Under 12, Under 14 and Under 16 sides.

Nakuru Rugby Football Club is host to the two international tournaments in the Kenya Rugby Union Calendar: The Great Rift 10-A-Side and The Prinsloo Sevens (named after a late supporter and member) part of the National Sevens Circuit.

In 2008, the club won its first major trophy for decades after winning the Enterprise Cup (the national cup competition). The club also won the Enterprise Cup in 1948, 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1963.Nakuru Rugby Football Club are joint winners of their own Great Rift 10-A-Side Tournament 2011 edition with Strathmore Leos. This came after a long dry spell of trophies in the 10-A-Side version of the game.

Monate Akuei

Mike Okombe

Gibson Weru

Oscar Ouma

Edwins Makori

Simon Wariuki

Nick Lang'o

Sammy Warui

Davis Yangah

Martin Mwita

Martin Owillah

Phillip Kwame

Dallo Chituyi

joseph Maina

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Edwin Shimenga

Rob Lyttle

Rob Lyttle (born 28 January 1997) is an Irish professional rugby union player who currently plays for Ulster.He played mini rugby at Dromore RFC before attending the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, where he competed in one Schools' Cup Finals, then moving to Methodist College Belfast, reaching the semi-finals, losing to Wallace High School, in which former school, Royal Belfast Academical Institution won overall. He made his Ulster debut in a Pro12 match against the Dragons scoring two tries.

Skerries RFC

Skerries RFC is an Irish rugby team based in Skerries, Fingal county in the province of Leinster. They play in Division 2B of the All-Ireland League.

The club was founded and became a member of the Leinster Branch of the IRFU in 1926. They played their first recorded match against Drogheda, and won by 9 points to 8.The club has a long-standing relationship with the local secondary school Skerries Community College, formerly De La Salle Secondary College Skerries, where many past and current players have attended. The college makes use of the grounds at Holmpatrick for training and home matches.

The club has an even longer relationship with Dunbar RFC located on the west coast of Scotland, who they have been playing since 1952. This associationis the longest continuous club fixture between any two Irish and Scottish clubs.The club is community based, and fields teams for adults (1st XV (AIL Div. 3), J1 XV, 3rd XV and at u19s level), and for mini-rugby and youths (both boys and girls) from age 6 up to 19 years.

UL Bohemians R.F.C.

UL Bohemian RFC is a rugby club based in Limerick, playing in Division 2A of the All-Ireland League. It is affiliated with the University of Limerick. UL Bohemains are sponsored by UL Sport, Canterbury of New Zealand and HOMS Solicitors. The symbol of the club is the Red Robin

Bohemians field four men's (1XV, 2XV, 3XV, U20's) and two women's senior teams along with youth and mini rugby teams from U6's - U19's, and play their home matches at Annacotty, the University's North Campus 4G pitches and Thomond Park.


USRC Tigers (三軍會猛虎欖球會) is a rugby football club based in King's Park, Hong Kong. It arose from the merger between Kai Tak Tigers and DeA Flamingo Rugby Football Club in 1990 to become "DeA Tigers". In 2014, DeA Tigers associated with the United Services Recreation Club (USRC) to become "USRC Tigers".

Wicklow RFC

Wicklow RFC is an Irish rugby team based in Wicklow, Leinster, playing in Division 1A of the Leinster League.

Apart from the First XV (Junior 1), the club also fields a Second XV (Junior 2), Third XV (Anderson Cup), U19, U17, U15, U14, U13, girls U18, girls U15 sides and a mini-rugby section.

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