England Rugby introducing compulsory 'half game' rule
Written by Simon Austin — April 22, 2019
ENGLAND Rugby is introducing a mandatory 'Half Game' rule requiring all clubs, schools and colleges to give every player in a matchday squad at least 50% playing time.
‘Half Game Rugby’ was piloted in England in 2017/18 and the University of Essex found it often meant players were six times more likely to enjoy playing the sport than when it was not in place.
The rule has been voluntary this season, but will become compulsory for all ages from Under-8s to U19s from September 2019 in England, including at the RFU’s Regional Academies. New Zealand and Scotland already operate their own half game rule and Scotland will follow suit next season.
“This is about getting young players to play more rugby, not just training and sitting on the bench,” England Rugby said. “After all, match play is there best way for players to improve.”
They recommend measures such as rolling subs and playing in quarters instead of halves in order to achieve 50% playing time for every player.