The format of Age Grade (AG) Rugby ensures that young players play the right rugby at the right time. These formats are supported by the regulations of the AG game and have been developed by scientific research and studies on player development in sport.
The principle behind the Rules of Play is to provide a playing format with building blocks to the 15-a-side game that allows players time to get to grips with the basics of running and catching the ball before contact and specialism is gradually introduced – which positively impacts on player safety.
AG Rugby is fast, muddy, inclusive and enormously good fun to play. It's a real team game where new players are quickly incorporated and where fun is more important than winning.
Many people watching rugby on TV find its tactics and rules complicated and difficult to understand. AG Rugby is a much simpler, safer and shorter game. As players develop over the years more components are added to this basic game.
Teamwork is an integral part of rugby and understanding its laws and tactics is a big part of the game. For some children this adds to the challenge and interest of the sport. Rugby is not just a physical sport, thinking and support play are as much a part of the game as running and ball carrying.
AG Rugby age groups are based on the same principle as school years. As a guide, a child in Y2 at school will play in the U7 age group (school year plus five).
While AG Rugby is officially recognised by the RFU as starting at U7 and finishing at U18, we include U5 and U6 age groups to enable the game to be open to as wide a group of children as possible. According to the RFU, U7 to U12 is classed as ‘Mini Rugby’. Once children progress from the U12 age group, they move into the first year of junior rugby: U13, which sees them through to U18.
Children in U7 & U8 play "Tag Rugby' (non-contact) which emphasises fun, fitness and the fundamentals of movement as much as rugby. From U9 upwards, contact is introduced, along with other aspects of the 15-a-side game, such as scrummaging, kicking, rucking and mauling being added at each new age group stage.
Who can play rugby?
Many people believe all rugby players are huge men, which is not the case. AG Rugby has a place for everyone, be they tall, short, slight, solid, boy or girl. Whatever their build there is a position in rugby for them. By the nature of the game, rugby asks players to take on specialist roles within the team and from U13 upwards there is a gradual increase in position-specific focus.
Can girls play?
They most certainly can! Girls and boys play AG Rugby as equals in mixed teams, up to U11 (from U11 and upwards, RFU rules dictate that boys and girls are split into separate, same-sex teams).
Girls have proved they are valuable members of the team and are more than capable of competing with boys on equal terms. While a game of rugby may not be every girl’s idea of fun, some love it.
Whether playing for or against Locks Heath Pumas RFC, girls are respected and valued in Mini Rugby by both coaches and players.
Please note that unfortunately there are no separate male and female toilet facilities at Hook-with-Warsash School.
We have a dedicated team of coaches whose purpose is to make rugby fun for everyone. They all undertake enhanced "Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks, a safeguarding course and receive training to at least RFU ‘Rugby Ready’ level.
All our coaches are volunteers, many are parents or carers, and we are always looking for new coaches and assistants.
For insurance purposes AG players are required to become members of Locks Heath Pumas RFC within 45 days of joining the club and parents are actively encouraged to become at least social members of the club. Our registration system ensures our database of players is up to date with a list of contact numbers and identification of any medical conditions we need to know about while your child is in our care.
Please note that in becoming a member of Locks Heath Pumas RFC you and any of the persons stated are agreeing to abide by the policies and Code of Conduct of the Club including payment of membership fees.
What to wear and bring
All equipment (balls, cones, etc) is provided for players but it is the players’ responsibility to ensure they are appropriately clothed for the conditions. When it does get cold and wet please make sure your child is suitably dressed, both for their comfort and to avoid interrupting training sessions.
As a guideline, players should dress in layers – boots and socks, shorts, T-shirt; tracksuit bottoms, rugby shirt; sweatshirt / tracksuit or waterproof top and woolly hat. We do sell a range of rugby clothing in our online kit shop
Layers can be removed to cool down but once players are cold their training or match experience becomes far less enjoyable.
It is best not to wear favourite sports gear, as it is liable to get dirty. We would always advise bringing a change of clothes for the end of the session.
We recommend that players wear boots that have aluminium (kite marked for Rugby) screw in studs or rubber moulded sole boots. The wearing of blades or plastic studs and boots which have an extra toe stud is not encouraged. If in doubt, check with your lead coach before you buy new boots.
Please send your child with water or a non-fizzy drink in a named water bottle.
Thermal undergarments Increasingly popular in cold weather, these ‘unders’ are not obligatory but often help as part of the layering.
Gloves intended for rugby, with ‘sticky’, silicone grips on the palms are available. These are allowed for playing in and are particularly effective in very cold weather when young hands can get cold. Ordinary gloves are discouraged as they can hinder ball control.
All players from U9 and upwards must wear a mouthguard / gumshield during matches and training. Your child will not be allowed to play unless they wear one. It may take some time for your child to get used to the feel of the guard in their mouth, but we would ask them to persist with it.
The wearing of mouthguards / gumshields is allowed in the younger age groups, up to U9, but is not compulsory.
A scrum cap is useful for keeping the head warm and preventing ‘Cauliflower Ear’ during scrummaging but, as evidence has shown and contrary to popular belief, does not prevent concussion.
All items of jewellery must be removed before training. This includes necklaces, rings and bracelets.