Laws and Ethos for the 7th World Vintage Rugby Carnival

The emphasis at Vintage Rugby Carnivals is on enjoyment (on and off the field). Although participants, whose ages will vary from 35 to 80+, can ‘compete’ at the level they wish to play.

Regardless of the level of rugby a team wants to play it is important to remember that teams attending a Vintage Rugby Carnival come to play in a friendly environment where the outcome is enjoyed by all regardless of the result. Accordingly, aggressive and unsportsmanlike behaviour on or off the field is not acceptable.

Some of the laws of the game have been modified to ensure participants can have fun without causing unnecessary health risks or injury. The basic laws of Rugby as prescribed by World Rugby apply to Vintage Rugby games with the following variations:

  1. All 8 forwards must remain bound in the scrum until the ball has been cleared.
  2. The scrum half (number 9) must not follow the other scrum half around the scrum.
  3. There must be no pressure scrummaging.
    • Law can be waived if both captains and the referee agree to it before the game.
  4. There shall be no striking against the head by the hookers.
    • Law can be waived if both captains and the referee agree to it before the game.
  5. Kicking is confined to inside the 22.
  6. In lineouts all 8 forwards must take part.
  7. Teams lucky enough to score a try shall restart the game by kicking the ball to the non-scoring side.
  8. Unlimited substitution is allowed and players who are ‘subbed’ may return to the game at any time.
  9. Players must observe the offside rule, particularly that of remaining behind the hindmost foot rule at rucks, mauls and scrums. Backs should be 10 metres behind scrums (attacking side only) and both teams should be back 10 metres from lineouts.
  10. In a tackle situation, where a player in possession has gone to ground, the attacking team retains possession. No defensive player is to contest possession. However, if both team captains agree prior to the game, normal rules/laws of rugby shall apply around the ruck, maul and tackle area.
  11. There is no limitation on how far a player can run with the ball in hand unless both captains agree, prior to the game commencing, to a limitation of 25 metres. (See special laws/ rules for players wearing coloured vests).
  12. Tries will not be converted.
  13. The games usually consist of three x 20 minute spells.
  14. No over vigorous play.
  15. No lifting in lineouts.
  16. No charging at opponents with shoulder.
  17. Older players (65 and above) should not be tackled and must be treated with respect. These players are identified by a bright red vest. Younger players who are physically challenged or don’t want to be tackled can also decide to wear this vest (see special laws).

Mixed Gender Rugby: Women Playing in Teams

For Vintage Rugby Carnivals managed by Vintage Sport and Leisure Ltd (VSL) the following shall apply for teams wishing to include female player.

  1. Teams will be limited to 3 female players on the field at any one time during a game. Teams can have more than 3 women on their roster but no more than 3 on the field.
  2. Women members of teams will be required to have the same age qualifications as men team members.
  3. Women members of teams will be required to be registered as team members as required by the organisers.
  4. Women members of teams will have the same responsibilities as to their insurance and will be required to sign the usual team waivers.
  5. There is no formal mixed grade and the participation of women under these regulations is totally at the option of the teams concerned. The inclusion of women creates no liability on the organisers, their stakeholders or associates.
  6. Teams will be required to advise that their team will include women players at the time of entry or as soon after as possible. The organisers must be aware of the women inclusions in a team at the time a draw is completed and only those women registered at that time will be allowed to take part in games.
  7. Men only teams playing teams including women are not required to adjust their play and the rules and regulations of Vintage Rugby will apply as usual.
  8. No team is under any obligation to field women players if they are drawn to play teams including women.

Special Laws for the Coloured Bibs

  • Any player with the ball (wearing a brightly coloured bib to be supplied by the Carnival organisers) cannot be tackled but can be stopped from forward motion by being firmly held. In other words, he can be held (or “hugged”) but not tackled.
  • Players CANNOT under any circumstances be tackled to the ground.
  • Players must release the ball upon being held or after traveling 25 metres.
  • Players wearing these bibs are either older players or physically challenged younger players.
  • Whether they are respected elders or physically challenged it is important that they not abuse their status as Gentlemen of the Game.
  • All players wearing brightly coloured bibs MUST adhere to the above laws.

NOTE: The bibs should be worn prior to the game (during warm up) and pointed out by the respective captains to the referee during the coin toss.

Both captains and the referee must meet prior to the game to agree on the laws the game will be played to.

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