Rules of the Game


The basic run down of the  rules of the game are as follows; if you want more in-depth explanation check out NRL Laws & Interpretations

There is also a Safe Play Code for Junior Rugby which I’ll cover in it’s own section.

Each team consists of 13 players on the field.

4 more players are allowed on the interchange bench. A total of 8 interchanges can be used during the game.

A team must have a minimum of 9 players on the field for the game to continue

The object of the game is to ground the ball in your opponents in-goal to score tries and to kick the ball over your opponents cross bar to score goals.

The game is played for 80 minutes (unless scores are level then the game goes into overtime aka Golden Point). After 40 minutes of play it is considered half time where each team go back to their sheds and take a break for 5 minutes.

After half time the team switch sides of the field that they were playing on initially.

End of the game is when the referee blows his whistle at 80 minutes. 

Coin toss – the captains of the two teams pick heads or tails at a coin toss in front of a referee. The winning captain chooses to either “kick off” or decide which end of the field they want to defend.

Kick Off – Each team line up on their nominated side of the field. Defending Team with ball kicks off to the attacking team from the middle of the ground.


The players start on their nominated side of the 40 meter line.

The ball must be passed backwards from the players hands to the next player. If kicking the ball is allowed to go forward.

The ball can be passed and kicked unlimited times to each player on the time until they are tackled.

When the attacking player has been tackled legally. They start the play of the ball again by placing it on the ground and rolling it backwards with their foot for their team mate to pick up.

You can be tackled 6 times before you must give up possession to the defending team.


There a few ways that a team can legally defend the attacking team to ensure that do not make an advance on the field.

A player can be tackled as long as there is no contact above the shoulders.



A try is worth 4 points.

A try conversion is worth 2 points.

A field goals is worth 1 point.

A penalty goal is worth 2 points.

10 Metre Law

Player Misconduct:

A player can be penalised is they do any of the following:

  • Trip, kick or strike another player.
  • Use offensive and/or obscene language.
  • Shoulder charge an opponent.
  • Dispute a decision by the referees.
  • When tackling an opponent makes contact with head and/or neck.
  • Drops knees into a player on the ground.
  • Uses a dangerous throw when tackling a player.
  • Deliberately and continuously breaks the rules of the game.
  • Behaves in any way contrary to the spirit of the game.
  • Reenters the field of play without permission from the referees.
  • Deliberately obstructing a player not in possession of the ball.
  • Apply unnecessary pressure or twists (grapples, crushers, chicken wings) to a player in possession of the ball.
  • Forcefully spears at the legs of a player in possession exposing them to unnecessary risk of injury.

Safe Play Code for Junior Rugby

Coming Soon