Mon 24 Feb 2020 13:53


 Revision Date: 15th October 2018


Spectators are encouraged to: 

  • Act as positive role models to all young players.
  • Be familiar with, and abide by, the RFU Safeguarding guidance in relation to verbal and emotional abuse.
  • Respect the Rugby Club with regards to spectator behaviour. 

Spectators should: 

  • Remember that young people play rugby for their own enjoyment, not yours.
  • Acknowledge good individual and team performance from all youngsters irrespective of the team for whom they play.
  • Respect match officials’ decisions. Remember, they are volunteers providing an opportunity for youngsters to play rugby.
  • Never verbally abuse young players, match officials, fellow spectators or coaches. Such behaviour can create a negative environment for young players and their behaviour will often reflect this.
  • Acknowledge effort and good performance rather than “win at all costs” ethic.
  • Verbally encourage all youngsters in a positive way. If you do wish to shout, make sure it is “for” the players, not “at” the players.
  • Encourage all youngsters irrespective of their ability. Never ridicule any individual player, regardless of the team for whom they play for.


 Players are encouraged to: 

  • Recognise and appreciate the efforts made by teachers, coaches, parents, match officials and administrators in providing the opportunity for you to play the game and enjoy the rugby environment.
  • Understand the values of loyalty and commitment to adults and team mates.
  • Recognise that every young player has a right to expect their involvement in rugby to be safe and free from all types of abuse.
  • Understand that if an individual or group of young players feel they are not being treated in a manner that is acceptable, then you have a right to tell an adult either at the rugby club or outside of the game.


Players should: 

  • Play because you want to do so, not to please coaches or parents.
  • Remember that skill development, fun and enjoyment are the most important parts of the game.
  • Be attentive at all training and coaching sessions.
  • Work equally hard for yourself and your team - both will then benefit.
  • Recognise good play by all players on your team and by your opponents.
  • Be a sportsman - win or lose.
  • Play to the Laws of the Game and accept, without question, all referees’ decisions.
  • Control your emotions. Verbal or physical abuse of team mates, opponents, or match officials is not acceptable.
  • Treat all players, as you would like to be treated. Do not interfere with, bully or take advantage of any player.


 Parents are encouraged to: 

  • Be familiar with the coaching and training programme in order that you can ensure that your child is fully involved and the coaches are aware of their availability.
  • Be familiar with the teaching and coaching methods used, by observing the sessions in which your child participates.
  • Be aware that the club has a duty of care and therefore, where appropriate, assist coaches with the supervision of the young players, particularly where numbers are large and there is a need to transport youngsters to away games.
  • Be involved with club activities and share your expertise.
  • Share concerns, if you have them with club officials.
  • Be familiar with the RFU Coaches Code of Conduct. In particular: “Coaches should recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players” and “Coaches should keep winning and losing in perspective and encourage young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances”.


Parents should: 

  • Remember that young people play rugby for their own enjoyment, not that of their parents.
  • Encourage young people to play - do not force them.
  • Focus on the young player’s efforts, rather than winning or losing.
  • Be realistic about the young player’s abilities – do not push them towards a level that they are not capable of achieving.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback, both in training and during games.
  • Remember that persistent, negative messages will adversely affect the players’ and referee’s performance and attitude.
  • Always support the rugby club in their efforts to eradicate loud, course and abusive behaviour from the game.
  • Remember that young people learn much by example.
  • Always show appreciation of good play by all young players both from your own club and the opposition.
  • Respect decisions made by the match officials and encourage the young players to do likewise.


 Match officials should: 

  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when officiating young players.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback, in a constructive and encouraging manner during games.
  • Emphasise the spirit of the game.
  • Appreciate the needs of the young players before the needs of the sport.
  • Understand the physical, social and psychological development of young players.
  • Be a positive role model. You set an example, and as such, comments you make and receive should be positive and supportive.
  • Look to self-improvement e.g. participation in the Entry Level Referee Award or Referee Education Evenings.


Match officials must: 

  • Recognise that the safety of young players is paramount.
  • Explain decisions - all young players are still learning.
  • Always penalise foul play.
  • Play advantage whenever possible in order to let the game flow.
  • Show empathy for the age and ability of young players.
  • Be consistent and objective.
  • Ensure that verbal abuse from players, coaches or spectators is not tolerated and is dealt with by club officials immediately.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the RFU Safeguarding policies and procedures.


In rugby union, coaches of young players should: 

  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when coaching young players. Most learning is achieved through doing.
  • Appreciate the needs of the players before the needs of the sport.
  • Be a positive role model – think what this implies.
  • Keep winning and losing in perspective – encourage young players to behave with dignity in all circumstances.
  • Respect all referees and the decisions they make (remember it could be you refereeing next week) and ensure that the players recognise that they must do the same.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner to all young players, both during coaching sessions and games.


In rugby union, coaches of young players must: 

  • Provide experiences, which are matched to the young players’ ages and abilities, as well as their physical and mental development.
  • Ensure all youngsters are coached in a safe environment, with adequate first aid readily to hand.
  • Avoid the overplaying of the best players, by using a squad system, which gives everybody a satisfactory amount of playing time.
  • Never allow a player to train or play when injured.
  • Ensure good supervision of young players, both on and off the field.
  • Recognise that young players should never be exposed to extremes of heat, cold, or unacceptable risk of injury.
  • Develop an awareness of nutrition as part of an overall education in lifestyle management.
  • Recognise that it is illegal for young players under 18 to drink alcohol.
  • Ensure that your knowledge and coaching strategies are up to date and in line with RFU philosophy.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the policies and procedures outlined in the RFU Safeguarding guidance.


Important note: 

Coaches working with young players up to the age of 18 must follow the guidelines laid down by the RFU Rugby Age Grade regulations.