Code of Conduct

Please read, follow and promote our Codes of Conduct.

Introduction & Purpose

Also see the RFU’s “Safeguarding Children” Webpages

Rugby is a game of long traditions which have developed over time into a number of values that guide the way the game is played and how players, coaches, officials and supporters conduct themselves.

At its core, rugby is a physical game and a fundamental value is one of respect – for opponents, teammates and officials. Rugby for the vast majority, remains a sport played for enjoyment. You will find these values embedded in the codes of conduct below.

These codes are written for players, coaches, match officials, parents and spectators. They are designed to ensure that all adults involved with the Club appreciate their role and responsibilities and understand the behaviour expected in Mini, Junior and Colts rugby. The Club wants our players to find enjoyment in their sport and fulfilment of their aspirations in the safe and positive environment which these codes seek to foster. Further information on these topics can be found at: The RFU Rules and Regulations website:

Child Protection and Safeguarding Vulnerable People

All adults working with children and young players in a rugby environment must:

  • Respect the rights, dignity and worth of every young person with whom they work and treat them equally in the rugby context.
  • Place their physical and emotional well-being above all other considerations, including the development of performance.
  • Ensure the relationship that a rugby coach develops with them is based on mutual trust and respect.
  • Ensure that all activities are appropriate to the age, maturity, experience and ability of young players.
  • Encourage them to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and performance.
  • Clarify with the young players (and their parents/guardians) what is expected of them both on and off the rugby field and also what they are entitled to expect from the coach.
  • Work in partnership with others within the game (officials, doctors, physiotherapists, sports scientists) to ensure the well-being, safety and enjoyment of all young players.
  • Promote positive aspects of the sport such as fair play. Violations of the Laws of the Game, behaviour contrary to the spirit of the Laws of the Game or relevant regulations and the use of prohibited techniques or substances must never be condoned.

Players Code of Conduct

As a player you 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 focussed and attentive at all training and coaching sessions.
  • Work as hard for your team as for yourself – both will then benefit.
  • Be a sportsman – win or lose – and recognise good play by all players on both teams
  • Play to the IRB 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 unacceptable.
  • Treat all players as you would like to be treated. Do not abuse, bully or take advantage of any player.

As a player you are encouraged to:

  • Recognise and appreciate the efforts of 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 your team, team mates and adults who contribute to it.
  • Recognise that every other player is entitled to play in a safe and abuse-free rugby environment.
  • Understand that if any individual or group of young players is not being treated acceptably, then you have a right to tell an adult either at the Club or outside of the game.

Spectators Code of Conduct

As a spectator you should:

  • Remember children play rugby for their enjoyment not yours.
  • Acknowledge good individual and team performance from young players of all teams.
  • Respect match officials decisions. Remember these volunteers provide the opportunity for youngsters to play rugby.
  • Acknowledge effort and performance rather than the win at all costs ethic; never ridicule any player on any team and verbally encourage all players, irrespective of ability, in a positive way when supporting your team.
  • Never verbally abuse young players, match officials, other spectators or coaches. Such behaviour creates a negative environment for young players and presents an unacceptable example for them.

As a spectator you are encouraged to:

  • Act as a positive role model to all young players, showing respect for your Club and for the game in your behaviour as a spectator.
  • Be familiar with, and abide by, the RFU Child Protection and Safety of Young Players guidance in relation to abuse of all kinds.

Coaches Code of Conduct

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

As a coach you MUST:

  • Ensure all youngsters are coached in a safe environment, with adequate first aid readily to hand.
  • Recognise that young players should never be exposed to unacceptable risk of injury, nor allowed to train or play when injured nor to face extremes of heat or cold.
  • Ensure safe and proper supervision of young players, on and off the field.
  • Develop an awareness of nutrition as part of players education in lifestyle management.
  • Recognise that it is illegal for players under 18 to drink alcohol or for those under 16 to smoke. By your conduct and example, actively discourage both.
  • Ensure that your knowledge and coaching techniques are up to date and in line with RFU philosophy.
  • Avoid overplaying any player; use a squad system to give every player satisfactory playing time.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the policies and procedures which the RFU require for Child Protection, the Safety of Young People in Rugby and for young players tours.

As a coach you SHOULD:

  • Recognise when coaching the importance of enjoyment for young players and treat all fairly.
  • Understand that most learning is achieved through doing.
  • Appreciate the needs of the players before the needs of the sport.
  • Be a positive role model, encourage young players to behave in all circumstances with dignity and in accordance with the laws and to keep winning and losing in perspective.
  • Respect referees and their decisions; ensure your players recognise that they must do the same.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner, to all young players in both coaching sessions and games

Match Officials Code of Conduct

As a Match Official you should:

  • Recognise that the safety of players is paramount; before starting play check that the home team has provided a qualified first aider, ambulance access has not been obstructed and that appropriate equipment is available along with someone trained in its use.
  • Check before training sessions and matches that studs and other clothing are in accordance with the IRB Laws of the Game.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the RFU Child Protection and Safety of Young Players policies and procedures.
  • Officiate to the rules of the Rugby Continuum and keep yourself updated on rule changes.
  • Be a positive role model; be consistent and objective and always penalise foul play.
  • Play advantage whenever possible in order to let the game flow.
  • Explain decisions – young players are still learning and spectators will understand the game better.
  • Be familiar with the Good Spectators Code and ensure that verbal abuse from players, coaches or spectators is not tolerated and is dealt with appropriately.
  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when officiating players, appreciating their needs before those of the sport.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner during games, emphasising the spirit of the game.
  • Understand the physical and behavioural development of players and show empathy for the age and ability of players.
  • Look to self-improvement through participation in training courses.

Code of Conduct for Parents, Guardians and Carers

As a parent, guardian or carer you should:

  • Recognise that the safety of players is paramount.
  • Remember that young people play rugby for their own enjoyment not that of their parents and they learn much, both good and bad, by example.
  • Encourage but do not force young people to play. Focus on their efforts and be realistic about their abilities; do not push them beyond the level they can achieve.
  • Respect match officials and encourage young players to do so.
  • Provide positive support at training and during games; show appreciation of good play by players from every team.
  • Stay positive: negative messages adversely affect the performance and attitude of players, officials and coaches.
  • Support the Clubs efforts to rid the game of unacceptable, abusive and violent behaviour.

As a parent, guardian or carer you are encouraged to:

  • Be familiar with the coaching and training programme so that you can ensure that your child is fully involved and that coaches are aware of your childs availability.
  • Understand 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 with the supervision of sessions; particularly where numbers are large or where players need transport to away games.
  • Be involved with Club activities and share your time and expertise.
  • Share concerns, if you have them, with Club officials.
  • Be familiar with the Good Coaches Code and support coaches in instilling the virtues it advocates.

Video & Photography Guidelines

  • Also see the RFU’s Child Protection Policy
  • While the RFU/RFUW recognises that publicity and pictures of young people enjoying rugby are essential to promote the sport and a healthy lifestyle, the following rules should be observed:
    1. Ensure parents/guardians/young people have granted their consent for the taking and publication of photographic images and have signed and returned the Parent/Guardian and Young Person Permission Form;
    2. All young people must be appropriately dressed for the activity taking place;
    3. Photography or recording should focus on the activity rather than a particular young person and personal details which might make a young person vulnerable, such as their exact address, should never be revealed;
    4. Where an individual has achieved success in the game (e.g. when selected for representative side or showing triumph over adversity), permission must be gained from a parent/guardian and the young person to use photographs/recordings and relevant details;
    5. Where possible, to reflect the RFU/RFUW Equity Policy, photographs/recordings should represent the diverse range of young people participating in rugby;
    6. Anyone taking photographs or recording at any rugby event must have a valid reason for doing so and seek the permission of the organisers/persons in charge;
    7. They should make themselves known to the event organisers/persons in charge and be able to identify themselves if requested during the course of the event;
    8. All concerns regarding inappropriate or intrusive photography should be reported in confidence to the RFU Equity and Ethics Manager via the rugby club or Constituent Body Welfare Manager.