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U9 minis - ball carriers and contact

Dobbs


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Hi All, I am not a referee. Currently coaching U8s, with an eye on next season.
I have a question regarding ball carriers at U9. I understand that at this stage the intention is that the game remains about evasion. However, is there any reason that a ball carrier can't look for contact (the bump off or whatever you call it)? I can find nothing in the laws about it, which suggests that it's allowed but I do wonder how a ref might react to it?
We have some larger kids, who are clearly somewhat disadvantaged when it comes to the running game. Tackling will level this up somewhat, but I think they'd love to be as effective in attack as the slightly built flyers.
Thanks!
 

chbg


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What grade referee are you currently?
Level 8
RFU Under 8s play Tag Rugby.
RFU Under 9 Regulations introduce tackling:
https://www.englandrugby.com//dxdam/cb/cb30da4a-6bb8-4e90-8a67-9b0bd8cc68b0/Regulation%2015%20Appendix_3.pdf
The seemingly relevant parts of these Regulations state: "The ball carrier can run and dodge potential tacklers but cannot fend off or hand off using their hands or the ball" and "The supporting players may not assist the ball carrier in moving forward by either driving with the shoulder or binding on".

In my mind, the ball carrier forcing contact with the opposition is not the intent. But you'll be best advised to talk to current U9 coaches, in your own and/or other clubs, mainly because most referees of adult rugby (including me) do not referee below U14/U15 age groups.
 

Flish


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What grade referee are you currently?
Level 9
Having been there, the natural instincts for players is to protect themselves, this can mean pushing players away with the ball, hand, arm and can be from the innocuous to the dangerous, almost certainly not deliberate.

We used to strongly discourage it in training as that’s the primary opportunity, and my reaction in a game would vary from penalising to a chat, just like anything on pitch depending on the seriousness and context, but it should be discouraged. I can’t speak for other refs (and remember it’s volunteer coaches at U9) most of whom haven’t read the age grade NROP in detail so you will get a mixed bag.

Best suggestion, pre-match, whoever’s the ‘ref’ have the ‘last week we had a lot of …..’ chat, puts the focus in his / her head and knows it’s something you’re concerned about. Then thank him afterwards regardless :)
 

Dobbs


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To be fair, we have been firm on the fend (hand/arm and ball) and our kids just don't do it. You are bang on that others don't seem very hot on it at all and we have been victims of others getting away with it; I have told mine that if someone sticks a ball in their face or gut, take it off them and run! Also outside the rules but would hopefully prompt the ref to do something about it.

I am more talking about at U9s, a ball carrier using a shoulder to move a potential tackler. A fairly standard bump off (as they call it) Can a ball carrier look to achieve contact and accept the tackle/impact on their terms?
Not looking for an advantage or worried about winning and I'm certainly not wanting to cause any harm to any kids. I just want to promote behaviours which will prep them for their future in rugby which is the entire point of minis, and juniors for that matter.
 

didds

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itsa a while since I coached U9s now...

is it still tackle/scrag, with a pass away from the tackle area?

is the ethos however still evasion rather than contact?

If the latyter just dont even mention it in coaching and continue to coach evasion.

If the onus on evasion isnt there now, then persoally I feel continuin to coach evasion is key, but at some time contact skills do need introducing which includes the abgility to take contact on ones own terms by working off defenders hips and seeking to always get past the tackle (and not smash up the chest!) which may involve leading shoulders and quarter turns in close proximity to the tackler. id still at U9 be very wary of coaching contact skiils per se though.

I think _I_ would take the view of if the kids do it without me coaching them theres not much you can do - other than continuing to work on evasion.

didds
 

Dobbs


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itsa a while since I coached U9s now...

is it still tackle/scrag, with a pass away from the tackle area?

is the ethos however still evasion rather than contact?

If the latyter just dont even mention it in coaching and continue to coach evasion.

If the onus on evasion isnt there now, then persoally I feel continuin to coach evasion is key, but at some time contact skills do need introducing which includes the abgility to take contact on ones own terms by working off defenders hips and seeking to always get past the tackle (and not smash up the chest!) which may involve leading shoulders and quarter turns in close proximity to the tackler. id still at U9 be very wary of coaching contact skiils per se though.

I think _I_ would take the view of if the kids do it without me coaching them theres not much you can do - other than continuing to work on evasion.

didds

That's actually really great advice, appreciate it.
 
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