The main objective of rugby is to obtain possession of the ball and score as many points as possible by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding the ball.

The game is started by a player kicking the ball from the 50m (halfway) line. The team in possession of the ball advances towards the try line by running forward and passing the ball from one player to another. The ball must be passed laterally or behind, never forward. The opposition team will try and prevent the team in possession from moving the ball down the field and scoring a try.

The opposition team is able to grab the ball-carrier and pull them to the ground. This is known as a tackle. The ball-carrier must then pass or release the ball allowing both teams to contest possession.

If the ball goes out of the field of play there will be a lineout to restart the game. When there is an infringement, the game will be restarted with a scrum, free kick or penalty kick depending on the severity of the infringement.


The New Zealand Rugby Union has developed the Small Blacks Development Programme specifically designed for children's rugby under the age of 13. The programme is designed to ensure that our children develop their rugby skills as their physical ability develops, making the game as simple and safe as possible for all kiwi children, regardless of their age, shape or size.

The Small Blacks Development Programme is made up of the SmallBlacks Development Model and Rippa Rugby.  The link below has the rules and field layouts.


The SmallBlacks Development Model was developed to ensure that there is a consistency of playing, coaching and player welfare at all levels throughout the country.

It contains easy to follow guidelines for those involved in junior rugby on how the game is to be played at each age grade. It defines the skills that the players will learn at each stage of their development and promotes rugby as a fun and enjoyable sport. The model is aimed to help give players the very best grounding in our national game.

There is a Small Blacks Development Model for various age ranges:

Click here


Rippa Rugby is the new game for rugby players under the age of 13. It is a very safe, non-contact, easy-to-play game for both boys and girls.

While the rules are simple and the game easy to learn, Rippa Rugby promotes excellent ball-handling and running skills, and gives children a chance to participate in our national game. The New Zealand Rugby Union recommends Rippa Rugby as it will give children a fun, safe and enjoyable sporting experience.

More details on Rippa Rugby Click Here