Half Game Rule will become mandatory from September

10 Apr 2019 13:54 | Sara Raine

THE ‘Half Game Rule’ for under-18 players which has been voluntarily implemented in Devon this season will become mandatory for all clubs in England from September.

The ruling, which guarantees all players in a junior matchday squad at least half match, has been brought in following feedback and due to the fact that playing is linked to retention.

It has been common practice in New Zealand for years.

The regulation was piloted in four areas in 2017/18, and voluntarily implemented in 2018/19 across the country, including Devon, who were used for consultation by a University of Essex review.

The review carried out by the University of Essex found:-

  • No impact on result
  • Players who play half game 6x more likely to enjoy than those who don’t
  • No reported impact on injury
  • Support from coaches, parents
  • However not applied at specific age groups and environments which is why it will be regulation.

The ruling was approved by RFU Council, who found that good coaching practice negates many of the perceived issues – ie large squad sizes (good coaches would play smaller games).

Breaches in ANY Age Grade regulation will go through process with CB, CSU, Colleges Union being first port of call.

More information on the Half Game Rule can be found  at