Codes and Policies
The safety of all participants must be the primary consideration in all participation decisions, overriding all other considerations.
Rugby should be safe, inclusive and fair. Every effort must be made for Rugby participants with broadly compatible physical development in conjunction with ability and/or experience to play with and against each other.
The Participation Policy (and the associated dispensation procedures) cover age grade, senior rugby, mixed gender, gender identity and disability.
Age Grade Dispensation
Whilst the starting policy position is that a player may play in the age group he/she is turning in the relevant calendar year and in the age group one year above, the Size for Age Guidelines and Age Grade Dispensation Procedure allow players to play in the most suitable competition.
All of the relevant information for Size for Age and Age Grade Dispensation can be found here:
- Size for Age Guidelines
- Age Grade Dispensation Procedure
- Age Grade Dispensation Flowchart
- Age Grade Dispensation Parent Guardian Consent Form
- Age Grade Dispensation Assessing Coach Report
- Size for Age FAQs
Players turning 16 or 17 years of age in the calendar year generally should not compete in Senior Rugby due to their physical development, maturity and experience. However, there may be occasions where it is appropriate for a player under the age of 18 to participate in Senior Rugby. In these cases, the Senior Rugby Dispensation Procedure must be followed.
More information on Senior Rugby Dispensation can be found here:
- Senior Rugby Dispensation Procedure
- Senior Rugby Assessing Coach Report
- Senior Rugby Dispensation Flowchart
- Senior Rugby Dispensation Consent Form
Mixed Gender Dispensation
Rugby Australia supports boys and girls playing rugby together up to and including the year in which they turn 12 years of age. Rugby Australia is constantly seeking to grow the number of girls’ competitions throughout Australia so that both boys and girls have access to regular rugby. However, where that opportunity for regular rugby is not available, Rugby Australia wishes to ensure that these girls are afforded the opportunity to continue their participation in our game, so long as it is safe for them to do so, through the Mixed Gender Dispensation Procedure.
More information on Mixed Gender Dispensation can be found here:
- Mixed Gender Dispensation Procedure
- Mixed Gender Assessing Coach Report
- Mixed Gender Dispensation Flowchart
- Mixed Gender Consent Form
U7s Playing U8s Procedure
Rugby Australia's starting position is that players turning 7 in that calendar year should play in the Under 7 Age Grade, however there are rare occasions where individual players may apply to participate in the Under 8 Age Grade by undertaking the Under 7s Playing U8s Procedure.
Rugby Australia would like to provide the opportunity for players with a physical and/or intellectual disability to play in an age grade that is appropriate to their physical development, ability and experience so long as it is safe for them and others to do so through the Disability Dispensation Procedure.
Important documents for Disability Dispensation can be found here:
- Disability Dispensation Procedure
- Disability Dispensation Assessing Coach Report
- Disability Dispensation Consent Form
Gender Identity Dispensation
Rugby Australia is committed to supporting a player's participation in the gender with which they identify, provided that it is safe for them and other participants. In order to ensure safe participation the Gender Identity Dispensation Procedure must be followed.
Important documents for Gender Identity Dispensation can be found here:
- Community Guidelines: Transgender and Gender Diverse People in Rugby
- Gender Identity Dispensation Assessing Coach Report
- Gender Identity Dispensation Consent Form
- National Facility Guidelines
Common Documentation on Dispensation
The following documents are used in multiple dispensation procedures.
- Schedule B - Exception for Front Row Dispensation Form
- Junior Age Grade/Senior Rugby Guidelines Table
Assessing Coach Program
As player dispensations are based on an assessment of the players physical development and skill, safety and experience it is important that the Assessing Coach is appropriately trained and has access to the required information and resources for conducting the assessment.
Coaches can enrol in the Assessing Coach Program via the Rugby Learning Centre.
Key information on Assessing Coach Programs can be found here:
- Assessor Coach Checklist
- Peak Height Velocity - Maturity Offset Table
- Age Grade Dispensation Procedure Testing Protocols
- Skills and Drills Matrix
- Physical Fitness Tests Normative Data
- Mandatory Assessment Guidelines for Male and Female Players
- Peak Height Velocity Calculator*
*May assist you calculating the participants peak height velocity if you are not using the online version of the Assessor Coach Report.