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2020 Regular Season

Youth (u8-u14)

Player and Parent Handbook

Table of Contents

What is Rugby? 4

Temecula Mountain Lions Rugby Club 5

Code of Conduct 6

The Pitch, Time, and the Ball 7

Scoring, Set Pieces, and Open Play 8

Positions 9

Offense: Wing 10

Offense: Passing 11

Offense: Rucking 12-13

Offense: Mauling 14

Defense: On-Line 15

Defense: Tackling 16

Defense: Stripping 17

Defense: Rucking and Mauling 18

Set Piece: Scrum 19

Set Piece: Lineout 20

Kicking 21

Penalties 22-23

Team Strategy 24

Team Administration and Logistics 25

Resources 26


Dear Parents and Players,

We are excited and honored to be the coaches for your boys and girls this year. Rugby is an
amazing sport, as much for its culture of respect and hard work as for it’s athleticism.
Throughout the season we will work hard to ensure that your child will:

● Be safe
● Have fun
● Develop more self-confidence
● Develop greater respect for others, to include opponents
● Develop a more intense work ethic overall
● Learn rugby
● Win a few games (at least)

Those goals are in priority order for you to see that the main goal is to be safe and have
fun...winning is much less of a concern that self-development. That said, we hope that we can
have the icing on the cake and win our games in addition to the more important outcomes.

Please know that we are all Level 200 certified with USA Rugby as well as current on our
SafeSport and Concussion Management Certifications.

We want to thank you for trusting us to coach and mentor your children. Go Lions!


Coach Cameron (u8)

Coach Jason (u10)
Coach Garry (u12)
Coaches Andrew and Oz (u14)

The Mission Statement of the Temecula Mountain Lions Rugby Club is to Promote, Manage and teach
the game of Rugby, while developing a nationally renowned Club with members that have a Pride,
Passion and the Highest Ethical Standards both on and off the field. Members will know that personal
ability can get you to the top, but personal character is what keeps you there. To build a foundation of
excellence and tradition for the many who will follow​.


This Handbook is designed to provide you with an introduction to the fundamentals of

rugby, some information about our Club, and most information and
reference links to assist you as you inevitably have questions this season.

The Handbook covers multiple subjects but here are the most important things to know:

● Rugby is a fast-paced contact sport. It is the child of soccer and the father of
American football.
● Rugby is counter-intuitively safe. The lack of pads and the specific tackling
techniques in rugby actually encourage smarter and safer contact.
● Rugby has a unique ethos of camaraderie. The spirit of rugby is cooperative not
tribal. While the competition is tough on the pitch, there is no room for negativity
or animosity in the sport. It may be a hooligan’s game, but it is played by
● To that end, Temecula Youth Rugby has a stringent Code of Conduct and
Disciplinary Policy for players and parents.
● Temecula Youth Rugby is part of a larger organization...the Temecula Mountain
Lions Rugby Club - which also fields men’s and women’s team.
● Our vision for the 2020 Season is ABC
● Athleticism
● Basic Rugby
● Commitment
● As such, we need commitment from parents and players. Commitment to be
on-time and prepared for practices and matches.
● We also need commitment from players that they are engaging in athletic training
outside of our practices each week.
● Our coach staff will impart the basic skills of rugby but we need players and
parents who take the sport seriously in order to make the season a success.
● We need volunteers to help with Team Mom, Team Photographer, Sponsorship
Advocate, and Assistant Coaching.

We hope you find this Handbook helpful. Please provide feedback to Coach Jason at:


A commemorative stone at the Rugby school in Warwickshire, England (dated 1823)

claims that 16-year-old student William Webb Ellis, ​"with a fine disregard for the rules of
football (soccer)...first took the ball in his arms and ran with it, thus originating the
distinctive feature of the rugby game."

Rugby is a very popular sport across the world and it is growing in popularity very
quickly here in the United States. It is one of the most physical, fast-paced, and
team-oriented sports ever created.

You can think of rugby as having both some aspects of soccer and some aspects of
gridiron football. If your child has had any exposure to either sport, they will catch on to
rugby quickly.

From the school playground to the Rugby World Cup final, rugby offers a truly unique
and thoroughly rewarding experience for all involved in the Game. We are dedicated to
preserving that tradition here in Temecula, CA.

Additionally, rugby is a safe game. Compared to the head trauma associated with
gridiron football, rugby is quite safe - particularly for youth.

We might be biased but we think rugby is the greatest sport in the world and we hope
that you have fun playing the game with us this year!


The TMLRC was founded in 2010. The Club is the parent organization of the Youth
Mountain Lions.

The club webpage is:

The current President of the Club is Jason Glover

The current CFO is Rua Petty

The Club address and telephone are:

PO Box 891777
TEMECULA CA 92589-1777
(951) 541-7496

The Club has a Facebook at:

The Youth have their own Facebook at:

Each age group has a private Facebook page that you will be invited to as a player/

The Youth also have a Instagram at:


The thing that makes rugby so unique is the culture that surrounds the sport. Rugby is
grounded in a culture of respect, fair play, hard work, and humility. No one is “the star”
of a rugby team, all players must truly work together to play a good game. At the heart
of rugby is this unique ethos which it has retained over the years. Not only is the game
played to the Laws, but within the spirit of the Laws. Through discipline, control and
mutual self-respect, a fellowship and sense of fair play are forged, defining rugby as the
game it is.

Players Code of Conduct

● Play for enjoyment
● Play hard, but fair
● Play by the laws of the game
● Be committed to your team and attend all matches
● Never argue with the referee’s decisions and control your temper
● Work equally hard for yourself and your team
● Be a good sport and applaud all good play, whether by your team or by your opponent
● Remember that the goals of the game are to have fun, improve your skills, and play
● Be HUMBLE in victory and GRACIOUS in defeat

Spectators Code of Conduct

● Applaud the performance of both teams
● Be positive with the referees
● Acknowledge the effort of the referees
● Let children play their game, this is not a parent’s game
● Praise effort not just results
● Set an example of the children
● Do not criticize, belittle, or question the ability of any official, coach, or volunteer
● Control your emotions at games and events. Do not yell at or criticize players, coaches,
parents, or officials

● These are kids
● This is a game
● The coaches are volunteers
● The referees are human
● This is not professional rugby

The full Code is at: ​


The field (pitch) above is an adult sized pitch. In adult matches, the game is played in
(2) 40 minute halves with a 5 minute halftime. Adults use a size 5 ball.

For u8 games, the field will be scaled down to (40-50m) x (25m) and the halves will be
15 minutes each with a 5 minute halftime. U8 uses a size 3 ball.

For u10 games, the field will be scaled down to (50-70m) x (30-35m) and the halves will
be 20 minutes each with a 5 minute halftime. U10 uses a size 3 ball.

For u12 games, the field will be scaled down to either (50-70m) x (40m) or (90-100m) x
(60-70m) and the halves will be 20 minutes each with a 5 minute halftime. U12 uses a
size 4 ball.

For u14 games, the field will be adult sized as above and the halves will be 25 minutes
each with a 5 minute halftime. U14 uses a size 4 ball.


Rugby is a game in which the object is to carry the ball over the opponents’ goal line
and force it to the ground to score.

In rugby, the ball MUST touch the ground, sandwiched between it and your hand, with
downward force in order to score.

Try - 5 points​: A try is scored when the ball is grounded over the opponents’ goal line in
the in-goal area. A penalty try can be awarded if a player would have scored a try but
for foul play by the opposition.

Conversion - 2 points:​ After scoring a try, that team can attempt to add two further
points by kicking the ball over the crossbar and between the posts from a place in line
with where the try was scored. ​ (Not used at the u8, u10, or u12 levels)

Penalty - 3 points​: When awarded a penalty after an infringement by the opposition, a

team may choose to kick at goal. ​(Not used at the u8, u10, or u12 levels)

Drop goal - 3 points:​ A drop goal is scored when a player kicks for goal in open play by
dropping the ball onto the ground and kicking it on the half-volley. ​(Not used at the u8,
u10, or u12 levels)

Sometimes, in youth rugby, scoring is kept via a simple system of 1 try = 1 point, since
no conversions, penalty, or drop kicks occur.

“Set Pieces” refers to scrums and lineouts. These are parts of play where there is a
temporary slowdown of play, one team has been awarded the ball, and a restart of play
occurs through a specific set of rules.

“Open Play” refers to the bulk of the rugby match, when the two teams are contesting
for possession of the ball through passing, rucking, mauling, tackling, etc.

With a nod to equestrian lingo, the set pieces are sometimes referred to as “the stables”
and open play as” the paddock.”


There are (15) positions on an adult Rugby Union team. Uniquely, each position
requires a different set of physical and technical attributes and it is this diversity which
makes the game so accessible to all. From the power of the forwards to the speed of
the backs, there’s a place in a Rugby team for anyone who wants a slice of the action.

Youth teams typically have smaller numbers of players at the younger ages, working up
to a full squad.

U8: 7 players per side 7 players per side minimum

U10: 10 players per side 7 players per side minimum
U12: 12 players per side 10 players per side minimum
U14: 15 players per side 12 players per side minimum

Position names for a full team are below. Positions are modified with less than 15

The Forwards
1 and 3 Props
2 Hooker
4 Lock
5 Lock
6 Flanker
7 Flanker
8 Wing

The Backs
9 Scrum-Half
10 Fly-Half
11 Wing
12 Inside Center
13 Outside Center
14 Wing
15 Full-Back

We expect that there will be some shuffling of the kids around the various positions until
we can figure out what works best. Numbers may also fluctuate as we see what jerseys
fit who. Please be flexible.


The position of most players on the field should be in a staggered diagonal

direction...called “The Wing.”

This positioning allows for the maximum amount of maneuvering room and momentum
as the ball is passed out to the players further on the wing.

It is EXTREMELY important that players hold a Wing formation on the field while
engaged in offensive play.

In our experience, kids often want to bunch up behind the ball, thereby destroying their
ability to maneuver with agility and run with momentum when they receive the ball.

Players will often hear coaches yell “Get a Wing!” That is a que to the players that they
are bunched up or flat and that they need to move into a Wing formation.


A player may pass (throw the ball) to a teammate who is in a better position to continue
the attack, but the pass must not travel towards the opposing team’s goal line.

A pass must travel either directly across the field, or backwards in the direction of the
passer’s own goal line.

By carrying the ball forwards and passing backwards, territory is gained.

If a forward pass is made, the referee will stop the game and award a scrum (more on
this later) with the throw-in going to the team which was not in possession at the time of
the pass.

Rugby passes are made with (2) hands and generally fall into the categories of:

Spin passes ​- these passes are used when the teammate is not super close and
accuracy over distance is needed. Like an American football or a bullet, the rugby ball
will spiral through the air as you swing your hands across the front of your body at table
top height turning your wrist in the process.

Push passes ​- these passes are made in close range when a teammate is nearby and
easy pass to. The push pass is executed by extending the arms out towards the
recipient and “pushing,” causing the ball to travel a short distance without spinning.

There are also several more advanced passed that the coaches will teach the players
as the season progresses...including the loop pass, the pop pass, the switch pass, and
the dummy pass.



A ruck is formed when a player is tackled, the ball is on the ground, and one or more
players from each team who are on their feet close around it.

Players must not handle the ball in the ruck, and must use their feet to move the ball or
bind to each other and drive over it so that the ball emerges at the team’s hindmost foot,
at which point it can be picked up and put back into play.

The goal is to PROTECT THE BALL and retain possession!

The u8 level plays “flag rugby” and does not ruck


Players must come through “The Gate” when entering a ruck.


A maul occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and one or more
of the ball carrier’s team mates holds on (binds) on as well.

The ball must be off the ground. The team in possession of the ball can attempt to gain
territory by driving their opponents back towards the opponents’ goal line.

The ball can then be passed backwards between players in the maul and eventually
passed to a player who is not in the maul, or a player can leave the maul carrying the
ball and run with it.

When in a maul, note that the ball is always susceptible to being stripped away by
the other team. Maintain possession!

The u8 level plays “flag rugby” and does not maul


The position of most players on the field in defensive play is a straight line across called

In the image above, the white line drawn on the picture shows how the defense is

This is extremely important because being on-line as a team will close up the gaps that
an offensive player is looking to run through. It will allow you and your teammates to
better support each other during defensive play.

It is our experience that kids tend to get drawn in to the offensive player who has the
ball. If many of our players get sucked in towards that one player, they can easily be
taken out of play when the offensive player passes the ball.

We must stay “On-Line” when playing defensively.


Only the ball carrier can be tackled by an opposing player.

A tackle occurs when the ball carrier is held by one or more opponents and is brought to
ground, i.e. has one or both knees on the ground, is sitting on the ground or is on top of
another player who is on the ground.

To maintain the continuity of the game, the ball carrier must release the ball immediately
after the tackle, the tackler must release the ball carrier and both players must roll away
from the ball.

This allows other players to come in and contest for the ball, thereby starting a new
phase of play.

When tackling we want to hit low, cheek to cheek, and wrap up.

When being tackled, we want to shrimp towards our team and present the ball back to
our players.

The u8 level plays “flag rugby” and does not tackle


Anytime that the ball is being carried by another player, and the ball is not on the
ground, the ball is open to being stripped.

That is, our players can reach in and ”steal” the ball from the player from the opposing
team who has possession.

Stripping the ball will result in a turnover and we will get to go back on offense!

That said, we must be careful to hold the ball tight when we have it. The other team will
be looking to take it from us.

Two hands on the ball as our players go into contact.

Better to retain possession than to look like the Heisman trophy


In a defensive ruck, someone from the other team has been tackled by someone on our
team. The other team will likely have one of their players already providing an offensive
ruck to protect the ball.

Our job is to send (1) player into that ruck to try and “clear” the ruck.

Clearing the ruck is the only time that a player can tackle someone who DOES NOT
have the ball.

One of our players can run through The Gate and tackle the opponent who is providing
the protection of the ball. If that is successful, another one of our players can step in
over the ball and pick it up for a turnover.

Defensive rucking is hard due to timing. We may not do much clearing and that is ok.
What we want to avoid is committing too many players to a defensive ruck and reducing
the number of players out on the pitch who are on-line and looking for a tackle.


The scrum is a means of restarting play after a stoppage which has been caused by a
minor infringement of the Laws (for example, a forward pass or knock on) or the ball
becoming unplayable in a ruck or maul. The scrum serves to concentrate all the
forwards and the scrum halves in one place on the field, providing the opportunity for
the backs to mount an attack using the space created elsewhere.

The ball is thrown into the middle of the tunnel between the two front rows, at which
point the two hookers can compete for the ball, attempting to hook the ball back in the
direction of their teammates. The team who throws the ball into the scrum usually
retains possession, because the hooker and scrum half can synchronise their actions.
Once possession has been secured, a team can keep the ball on the ground and in the
scrum and attempt to drive the opposition down field. Alternatively, they can bring the
ball to the hindmost foot of the scrum, where the ball is then passed into the back line
and open play resumes again.

The key player at the scrum is the scrum half. This player throws the ball into the scrum,
moves to the hindmost foot of the scrum, and is usually the player who picks the ball up
and passes out to the fly half who then distributes the ball to the back line. As soon as
the scrum half picks the ball up, the opposition may contest for the ball and attempt to
tackle whichever player is in possession.

In u8 rugby, there is no scrum

In u10 rugby, the scrum will be 3 on 3 and typically it will be uncontested.
In u12 rugby, the scrum will be 5 on 5 and typically it will be contested.
In u14 rugby, the scrum will be 8 on 8 and typically it will be contested.


The lineout is a means of restarting play after the ball has gone into touch (off the field
of play at the side). The lineout concentrates all the forwards in one place near to the
touch line, so the backs have the rest of the width of the field in which to mount an

The key for the forwards is to win possession and distribute the ball
effectively to the back line.

The forwards assemble in two lines, perpendicular to the touch line, between 5 and 15
meters from the touch line, and one meter apart. The hooker throws the ball down the
corridor between these two lines of players.

Because the thrower’s teammates know where the throw is likely to go, that team has
an advantage in retaining possession. However, with speed of thought and movement,
the opposition can contest for the ball and the lineout frequently results in a turnover of

The player who successfully catches the ball can keep it and set up a maul, or can pass
to the receiver (a player who stands next to the lineout to wait for such a pass) who then

At the u8 level, there is no line-out

At the u10 level, our (2-4) players will simply “jump” for the ball.
At the u12 level, our (2-4) players will simply “jump” for the ball.
At the u14 level, our (2-7) players may “lift” for the ball.


Each half of the match is started with a drop kick from the centre of the halfway line.
The non kicking team must be 10 metres back from the ball when it is kicked and the
kick must travel 10m towards the opposition goal line before hitting the ground.

The ball is also kicked to restart play after a team has scored and to resume play after a

Kicking plays an important part in offensive rugby but not at the u8, u10, or u12 levels.

In u14 rugby, the ball can be advanced down the field through a variety of short and
long range kicking techniques. Additionally, the ball shall be kicked for a conversion
after each try and may be kicked for penalty and drop kick points.

We will probably determine the best kicker(s) on the team and designate them to do
most of the kicking.


In rugby, the referee is the embodiment of the Laws of the Game. He or she will be
shown the utmost respect. You never argue with a referee. In fact, you never talk to
them unless you are a coach or team captain. If they talk to you, respond with “Yes Sir/
No Sir” or “Yes Ma'am/ No Ma'am.”

Common penalties include:


When a penalty is awarded the referee will explain what happened and what the
choices are for restart of play. It is important to listen to the referee and do exactly what
they say.



The focus this year will be on basic rugby skills.

On offense we will focus on:

Making sure that we are positioned in a good wing formation and not bunched up
around the ball

We want to advance the ball. That means gooding look-passing. If we can’t pass, hold
tight and make contact.

We want to protect the ball when our players are tackled so that we keep it. A strong 3
person ruck will be essential to that.

Coming out of a ruck is an opportunity to reset. The scrum-half will make sure that the
team is positioned and then advance to the next set of play.

On defense we will focus on:

Making sure that we are spread out on-line and not bunched around the player with the

Looking to strip the ball from the other team when we make physical contact up high
(maul and failed tackles)

Hitting low...cheek to that we can get the other player down quick with as
little effort as possible.


Youth dues vary by age group. Registration includes a performance tee, rugby shorts,
and orange socks. Registration also pays for field lights, equipment, supplemental
insurance, membership with USA Rugby, as well as local registration with SoCal Youth

u8 - $175 (players younger than 8 on August 31st, 2019) - at this level, players engage
in FLAG rather than tackle rugby

u10 - $200 (players 8 and 9 on August 31st, 2019) - maximum weight cap of 120 lbs,
above that must play u12

u12 - $225 (players 10 and 11 on August 31st, 2019) - maximum weight cap of 145lbs,
above that must play u14

u14 - $250 (players 12 and 13 on August 31st, 2019) - maximum weight cap of 180lbs,
above that contact Jason at before registering

Register here:

Please note, youth registration requires you to upload a good photocopy of the player’s
birth certificate AND a clear headshot of them against a PLAIN cream background.

Practice is on Tuesday and Thursday at 6:45pm at Birdsall Park in Temecula.

Games are typically Saturday mornings and begin in mid-January.

We need a “Team Mom” who can coordinate washing jerseys, providing water, and
providing snacks.

We also need a team photographer. If you have AV skills and are willing to help, let
Coach Jason know.

We need sponsors. If you know someone who is willing to sponsor the Club, please let
Coach Jason know.


World Rugby

Laws of the Game

USA Rugby

Rugby 101 Handout

Rugby Spectators Guide

Southern CA Youth Rugby

SCYR Competition Calendar for 2020

SCYR Changes to the 2020 Season

Southern CA Rugby Football Union

Rugby World Cup

Olympic Rugby



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