The Good Coaches Code

Young people come into Rugby Union for a variety of reasons; it is the duty of the Coach to recognise this and stimulate continued participation. Coaches have a responsibility to ensure that all youngsters are given the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations in a caring environment where the emphasis is on:

  • Fun
  • Enjoyment &
  • Skill development

In Rugby Union Coaches 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.
  • Avoid the overplaying of the best players by using a squad system, which gives ALL players a satisfactory amount of playing time (Half Game Rule).
  • Be aware of the RFU legislation & policies for their particular Age Grade Team
  • 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’ age and ability, as well as their physical and mental development.
  • Ensure all youngsters are coached in a safe environment – ensure there is adequate first aid readily to hand.
  • Avoid the overplaying of the best players by using a squad system & following the RFU Half Game rule, 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 purchase alcohol. Ensure that their knowledge and coaching strategies are up to date and in line with the RFU philosophy.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the RFU recommended procedures for taking young people on residential tours at home and abroad.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the policies and procedures outlined in the RFU Safeguarding Policy Booklet
  • To view please go to


  • Coaches working with young players up to the age of 12 must follow the guidelines laid down by the RFU continuum.
  • Coaches working with young players age 13 must be aware of the under 19 and under 15 Law variations, including those that apply to cross border matches.