Matchday Regulations...

Issue 35 - 29th January 2023

1. Before the Game...

  1. Teams must ensure they know the Referee's Name and Mobile Number for emergency contact.
  2. If things go pear shaped on the day of the game, or before, your MUST advise your Referee.
  3. Sever Censure and Sanctions will apply if your Referee is not informed and has a wasted journey.
  4. Ensure you Meet & Greet your Referee, who should be welcomed and offered their expenses (on arrival).
  5. Show your Referee to their changing room.
  6. Referee changing and showering facilities should be separate from the players.
  7. If showering facilities are not separate Managers MUST ensure Referees can shower before players.
  8. Your Referee is a Guest of your Club and should be afforded the best courtesy and hospitality.
  9. Assigning a responsible adult helper to look after your Referee can pay dividends...
  10. Touch Judges should not be spare players; they should be responsible adults.
  11. It is helpful if Managers delegate one Adult each to act as Touch Judges.
  12. Touch Judges MUST have room to operate between the touchline and the spectators.
  13. Prior to the match, each team must advise the Referee of their front-row players and possible front-row replacements and which position(s) in the front row they can play. Only these players may play in the front row when the scrum is contested and only in their designated position(s).
  14. MatchCards should be handed to your Referee before the Game.

  15. Any Queries or Discrepancies should be resolved between Managers before a Match kicks-off.
  16. Refer to these Matchday Regulations.
  17. If you cannot agree then please contact your LeagueSec for help.


2. Pitch Preparation / Barriers / Technical Area / Coaches / Replacements...

  1. A Suitable Pitch-side Barrier fence or rope must be in place at all times.
  2. Barriers should prevent easy access by spectators & unauthorised persons to the playing enclosure.
  3. Spectators MUST be back from the field of play behind the barrier per the Code of Conduct. 
  4. If there is no suitable barrier Spectators MUST be 10 Metres back from touchlines, per RFU Reg's.
  5. If No Barrier is present Referees are at liberty to decline to proceed with a match.
  6. Referees are encouraged to impose the above No Barrier Regulation on safety grounds.
  7. In the above case the Home Team will be deemed to have forfeit.
  8. Touch Judges must have suitable space to work in as provided by these barriers.
  9. Suitably marked Technical Areas must be in place both on the same side of the pitch.
  10. If Technical Areas are not marked the Referee should insist at least 4 cones are used for each Area.
  11. Referees are at liberty to refuse to start a match if there are no Technical Areas.
  12. Coaches Managers & Replacements MUST remain within the marked Technical Area at all times, other than when replacing another player or bringing on water, and only then with the Referees permission.
  13. Replacements must wear HI-VIZ Tabards at all times per the Code of Conduct.
  14. These HI-VIZ Tabards are provided by the League at the AGM.
  15. Coaches MUST NOT tramp the touchlines inciting players with verbose coaching instruction.
  16. Referees should instruct Coaches to remain within the Technical Area.
  17. Referees should remove verbose Coaches to outside the playing enclosure behind the barrier.


3. Player Selection / Numbers...

  1. Players selected must be properly registered in accordance with the Squad Registration Regulations.
  2. Under a Duty of Care and RFU Regulations; Managers & Coaches must ensure no Youth Player participates in more than one game, or more than 70 minutes of rugby, per matchday (including School games).
  3. Number of Players... Any Number may be selected. All MUST be named on the Match Card.
  4. The RFU Half-Game Rule now applies to ALL Colts League or League Cup Games.
  5. For the benefit of your Referee... Shirts MUST have large sized distinctive numbers on the back.
  6. Letters or other markings as an alternative are not permitted.
  7. Clear numbering is important to our Society Referees, who insist on this regulation for good reason - to identify Miscreants.
  8. It is the Home Team’s responsibility to change kit in the event of a colour clash.
  9. Changes from your Club's normal kit colours MUST be advised to the HonSec so your Club Page on the Colts League Website can be updated.
  10. Teams should also notify their Opponents and the Referee.
  11. All Players MUST be listed on the Match Card which MUST be handed to the Referee before the game.
  12. RFU Photo I/D's Cards MUST be made up and carried by the Team Manager for every Player.
  13. RFU Photo I/D's MUST be available for inspection between Teams before each game.
  14. Checking of opponents RFU I/D Cards must be in line with RFU Guidelines.
  15. Card Checks should be done at least 30 minutes before the scheduled Kick Off time.
  16. Teams failing to make their RFU I/D Cards available are liable to sanction and may forfeit the game.
  17. Player Numbers should be Equal at the start of a game: See Reg 8. Shortage of Players (Game On) below.

4. Front Row Players...

  1. Team Managers & Coaches have a duty of care to the Players in their charge.
  2. Only players with suitable training and experience may play in a front row position.
  3. All Front Row Players must be clearly identified FR on the Match Card.
  4. If due to non-availability of suitably trained players at the start of or during a match the Referee has to order uncontested scrummages the match will continue as a competitive match save for the scrummages which when uncontested will simply be a method of restarting the game.
  5. In uncontested scrums the Team with the put-in must win the ball.
  6. Numbers in the Scrum - must be the same for both teams.
  7. Teams who know they will be short of the full compliment of 3 Front Row players for a match should have the courtesy to advise their opponents in advance.
  8. Uncontested Scrums - Matches may start or continue with uncontested scrums, however Law 3.17 (Man-Off Rule) is applcable...

5. Man-Off Rule: (World Rugby: Law 3.17)...

  1. If uncontested scrums are ordered by the Referee due to injury or a safeguarding issue, or consequent to a player being temporarily suspended or ordered off, and there being no trained Front Row Replacement available, then...
    1. On the first such occasion the team concerned shall shall play with one less player.
    2. On the return to the field of a front row player who has been temporarily excluded the Match shall continue with contested scrums provided it is safe to do so.
    3. On the second or subsequent occasions there will be no requirement to remove an additional player if no further front row replacements are available.
    4. In an uncontested scrum the Teams do not compete for the ball. The Team putting in the ball must win it. Neither Team is allowed to push the other team away from the mark.

6. Scrum...

  1. Law 20.1(f): In an 8 person scrum the formation must be 3-4-1 with the single player (normally the Number 8) shoving on the two locks. The locks must pack with their heads either side of the hooker.
  2. Exception: When either Team cannot field a complete Team or a player is sent off for Foul Play or a player leaves the field because of injury then numbers in the Scrum must be reduced.
  3. Even allowing for this exception each Team must always have at least five players in a scrum.
  4. Law 20: A team CANNOT opt to play 8 in the scrum if playing with 14 or less.
  5. If a Team is short their opponents should drop an equal number of players from their Scrum.
  6. Incomplete Scrum Formations must be as follows:~
    1. Teams with One player less - both teams must use the 3-4 formation (ie : No Number 8).
    2. Teams with two players less - both teams must use a 3-2-1 formation (ie : No Flankers).
    3. Teams with three players less - both teams must use a 3-2 formation (ie : Front Row & Locks).
    4. Numbers in the Scrum - must be the equal at all times.

7. Rolling Substitutions...

  1. Rolling Substitutions shall be permitted in all Colts League games.
  2. Interchanges must be through the Referee and only at a breakdown in play.
  3. Rolling Substitutions during a game are now unlimited as the Half-Game Rule applies.
  4. Other than Player Replacements made at half-time not more than two Player Interchanges per team may occur at any one time.
  5. Interchanges may only occur during a stoppage in play and with the knowledge of the Referee who is entitled in his sole opinion to refuse to allow or postpone a Player Interchange if he believes either that the Player Interchange would prevent the opposition from restarting the game quickly or where a player has been injured or that it would not be safe for the replacement player who has been previously injured to play in the match.
  6. A player who suffers two injuries in a match which has necessitated his being replaced on each occasion is not permitted to act as a replacement following his second injury.
  7. A player who is a replacement shall not be entitled to take a kick at goal until a passage of play has taken place since he has taken the field of play.


8. Shortage of Players (Game On)...

  1. The Colts League has adopted the RFU's Game-On principles.
  2. The priority is that Lads Play Rugby...
  3. Teams should make all attempts to ensure fixtures go ahead in spite of a shortage of Players.
  4. It is preferable that Teams help each other out by lending players to make a game of it.
  5. Games may be played with a minimum of 10 players per Team.
  6. Playing Time can be reduced by up to 15 minutes per half (resulting in 40 minutes total playing time); by mutual agreement.
  7. The Colts League's old Plus One Regulation is no longer in operation.
  8. Player Numbers should be equal at all times, other than when the Referee has issued a Card.
  9. Should a game not proceed through a Team having less than 10 players the game & points will be forfeit.
  10. Teams should have a copy of these MatchDay Regulations to hand at all times to enable them to clarify issues with the Referee.
  11. The Referee should be briefed prior to the start of the game.


9. Law...

  1. Temporary Suspension Sin Bin Protocol – Law 10:
    All Yellow Carded players in any Colts match will remain in the Sin Bin for seven minutes actual playing time, per RFU Regulation 15.
  2. Sin Binned Players will stand out of the field of play in the vicinity of the half way line at a place readily identifiable to the Referee. The Player must be under the control of his Manager or Coach should not be isolated and should be given warm clothing to wear whilst serving the temporary suspension.
  3. Squeeze Ball - Law 14 and 15 : No player involved in any Colts League Match shall use the technique known as Squeeze ball.
    Sanction : Penalty Kick.
  4. Time – Law 5 : Playing time must not exceed 35 minutes each way.
  5. The Referee is the sole judge of time.
  6. Injury time is permitted, however after 70 minutes actual playing time the Referee must not allow extra time to be played in the case of a drawn match on any occasion.
  7. Games Abandoned - due to the weather or any other reason; result shall stand provided half-time has been reached.
  8. No Wheel - A Team must not intentionally wheel a scrum.
    Sanction : Penalty Kick.
  9. Maximum Wheel - If a wheel reaches 45 degrees the Referee must stop play. If the wheel is unintentional the Referee orders another scrum at the place where the scrum is stopped.
  10. No Handover at Wheel - There is no handover following a wheeled scrum at Under 19. The original Team putting the ball in retains the put in.
  11. Maximum 1.5 metres push - A Team in a scrum must not push the scrum more than 1.5 metres towards their opponents’ goal line.
    Sanction : Free Kick.
  12. Ball Must Be Released from the Scrum - A Player must not intentionally keep the ball in the scrum once the Player’s Team has heeled the ball and controls it at the base of the scrum.
    Sanction : Penalty Kick


10. Post Match...

  1. Results must be reported by TEXT and Match Card per the Post-Match Regulations.
  2. Always look after your Referee who is a guest of your Club - You might meet him again !!
  3. Ask your Referee to complete & sign your Match Card per the Match Card Regulations.

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