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Small Blacks<br />Development Model

The way to play

Rugby is a dynamic and exciting sport that is a whole lot of fun, and helps develop friendships that can last a lifetime. Small Blacks Rugby has been designed to help players develop their rugby skills as their physical ability develops, making the game as simple and safe as possible for all Kiwi kids, regardless of their age, shape or size. The Small Blacks Development Model has been developed to ensure that there is a consistency of play, coaching and player welfare at all levels throughout the country, and is a great way of getting kids involved in a team sport.

Different ages, different stages

This diagram clearly explains the Small Blacks Development model for coaches, parents and Small Blacks players. It contains easy to follow guidelines on how the game is to be played at each age. The Model has been designed to ensure that all kids who graduate from the Small Blacks programme have the best possible skill set to take them through their rugby career.


Field Size

Field Size

Goal to 10m (across the field).
Portable goalposts recommended.
Full size posts on sideline need bolsters.

Goal to 10m (across the field).
Portable goalposts recommended.
Full size posts on sideline need bolsters.

Goal to 10m (across the field).
Portable goalposts recommended.
Full size posts on sideline need bolsters.

15s must be full field.

15s must be full field.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2 U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Goal to 10m (across the field).
Portable goalposts recommended.
Full size posts on sideline need bolsters.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

15s must be full field.

Game Length
Game Length
Game Length

Game Length

2 x 20 minutes maximum

2 x 25 minutes maximum

2 x 25 minutes maximum

2 x 25 minutes maximum

2 x 30 minutes maximum

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

2 x 20 minutes maximum

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5 U11Year 6

2 x 25 minutes maximum

U12/U13Year 7 & 8

2 x 30 minutes maximum

Ball Size

Ball Size

Size 2.5 or 3 balls.

Size 3

Size 3

Size 3

Size 4

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

Size 2.5 or 3 balls.

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5 U11Year 6

Size 3

U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Size 4

Numbers Per Team
Numbers Per Team
Numbers Per Team
Numbers Per Team

Numbers Per Team

7-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

10-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

10-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

15-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

15-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

7-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

10-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

15-a-side.
Numbers are maximum. If a team doesn't have enough players to start a game, they lose the game, but a game should then be played with equal numbers.

Try

Try

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2 U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5 U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

If score blow-outs are occurring (ie 35+ at halftime), both coaches MUST meet and come to an agreement as to how they can generate a more even contest.

Try = 5 pts.

Referee

Referee

Beginning Coach.

If no Learning Rugby referee, no tackling.

If no Learning Rugby referee, no tackling.

If no Playing Rugby referee, no tackling.

If no Playing Rugby referee, no tackling.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

Beginning Coach.

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

If no Learning Rugby referee, no tackling.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

If no Playing Rugby referee, no tackling.

Conversion

Conversion

No Conversions.

Conversions taken from in front of posts either drop goal or punt. Points don't count.

Conversions taken from in front of posts either drop goal or punt. Points don't count.

Conversions not to be taken further out than the 15m line.

Conversions not to be taken further out than the 15m line.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

No Conversions.

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Conversions taken from in front of posts either drop goal or punt. Points don't count.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Conversions not to be taken further out than the 15m line.

Kick-off

Kick-off

Free pass.

Tap and pass. Kick-offs to be rotated through all players.

Punt or drop kick by scoring side. Kick offs to be rotated through all players.

Normal

Normal

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

Free pass.

U8Year 3

Tap and pass. Kick-offs to be rotated through all players.

U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Punt or drop kick by scoring side. Kick offs to be rotated through all players.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Normal

Lineout
Lineout
Lineout

Lineout

None

Always 5 in lineout.
Lineouts not to be contested. There is to be no lineout lifting at any level.

Always 5 in lineout.
Lineouts not to be contested. There is to be no lineout lifting at any level.

Always 8 in lineout.
Lineouts can be contested. There is no lineout lifting at any level.

Always 8 in lineout.
Lineouts can be contested. There is no lineout lifting at any level.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

None

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Always 5 in lineout.
Lineouts not to be contested. There is to be no lineout lifting at any level.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Always 8 in lineout.
Lineouts can be contested. There is no lineout lifting at any level.

Scrums

Scrums

None

Always 5 in a scrum.
No contest and no pushing.

Always 5 in a scrum.
No contest and no pushing.

Always 8 in a scrum.
No contest and no pushing.

Always 8 in a scrum.
Contest and pushing. The push is limited to half a metre maximum. Safety is paramount.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

None

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Always 5 in a scrum.
No contest and no pushing.

U11Year 6

Always 8 in a scrum.
No contest and no pushing.

U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Always 8 in a scrum.
Contest and pushing. The push is limited to half a metre maximum. Safety is paramount.

Tackle

Tackle

(RIP) When 'rip' is made, player passes the ball.

Two 'tackle box' sessions must be carried out by all U8 coaches before the season kicks off. No fending.

Tackle must be below the nipple. No fending to the head, face or neck regions.

Tackle must be below the nipple. No fending to the head, face or neck regions.

Tackle must be below the nipple. No fending to the head, face or neck regions.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

(RIP) When 'rip' is made, player passes the ball.

U8Year 3

Two 'tackle box' sessions must be carried out by all U8 coaches before the season kicks off. No fending.

U9/U10Year 4 & 5 U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Tackle must be below the nipple. No fending to the head, face or neck regions.

Kicking
Kicking
Kicking

Kicking

No kicking in general play.

Encourage running and passing.

Encourage running and passing.

Yes

Yes

U6/U7Year 1 & 2

No kicking in general play.

U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Encourage running and passing.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Yes

Penalty

Penalty

Tap and Pass.

Tap and Pass.

Tap and Pass.

Normal

Normal

U6/U7Year 1 & 2 U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5

Tap and Pass.

U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

Normal

Subs

Subs

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.

U6/U7Year 1 & 2 U8Year 3 U9/U10Year 4 & 5 U11Year 6 U12/U13Year 7 & 8

All players must play a minimum of half a game (this is to include at least two full quarters).
Rolling substitutions are not permitted.
Substitutions may be made at half time or approximately half way through each half when the referee will allow and signal a Substitution Break.
This applies to representative games.