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Championship Competition Rules


1. The Army Rugby Union (ARU) Community Leagues shall be played under the IRB Laws of the game of Rugby Football Union and shall comply with the Rules and Regulations of the ARU.


2. The ARU community leagues are about playing rugby for the benefit of the individual and the team. To bond units, provide leadership challenges and mental and physical fitness. Fixtures are arranged well in advance; it is up to units to honour them. It takes constant monitoring of the Unit F.O.E. by Rugby Officers (RO) to ensure that rugby is played, but there is flexibility in the system. The ARU funds participation and administrates the competition. Playing equipment, medical kit, travel, fixtures and referees are all provided or organised.

3. The Competition shall be called the Army Rugby Union (ARU) Premiership (Prem) & Championship (Champ) Competition, hereafter referred to as the ARU Prem & Champ. Participation in the ARU Prem & Champ will be for Regular and Reserve Unit XVs, usually Regimental or Battalion sides, but also ARTD establishments and HQs of Army formations. Garrison or multi unit XVs are not entitled to play. The aim of the ARU Prem & Champ is to promote a higher level of rugby union and provide a stepping-stone for players into Army representational teams.

4. The ARU Community Leagues take their place within the ARU Structured Season (SS). As such, every week within the SS has a priority for play. On these days, players will know who they must play for if selected. It is not within the gift of the unit CO to deny individuals within their command these opportunities. The SS is carefully balanced to allow all levels of play and all competitions a fair allocation of playing days. Invariably there are not enough and clashes occur. The first POC in all instances must be the Chairman ARU Community leagues.

5. The Community Leagues will be split into 4 levels of play. The most senior league is Premiership 1, the best 8 unit XVs in the British Army. It has 2 subservient leagues, Premiership 2 North and Premiership 2 South of 8 teams. Below each Premiership league 2 is a subservient Championship league 1 and Championship league 2. The distribution of leagues at Champ 1 & 2 may not be equal, but instead reflects the regional laydown of Army units. Teams based in NI, Cyprus and Germany take their place in the respective leagues. The more senior the league the more national it becomes, while the junior leagues are relatively regional.

6. The ARU community leagues will start with a Xs competition in September each year and will finish with the Community 7s in Aldershot in May.

7. Veolia sponsors the ARU Prem, whilst the Royal British Legion (RBL) sponsors the ARU Champ. The ARU is sponsored and supported for all playing equipment and clothing by an exclusive contract with Samurai Sportswear.

8. The competition is open to units affiliated to the ARU, who have registered on the RFU Rugby First web and paid the annual fee of £50 tot eh ARU, which pays for unit playing insurance. Units must agree to be bound by the RFU disciplinary procedures and that its players recognise and agree to be bound by the RFU disciplinary procedures. The Committee shall have the power at any time to impose conditions upon the membership or continued participation of any unit in the competition. Any unit failing to comply with such conditions shall not be entitled to enter the competitions or to continue to participate in them.

9. The Rules of the ARU Prem & Champ are those published on the ARU web page at the time. They are updated usually at the beginning and end of each season. They can be found at:

Organising Committee

10. The Chairman ARU Community, Lt Col James Cook RA and a team of league secretaries administer the ARU Community leagues. The Secretary of the ARU, Mr Chris Fowke, assists them. The Chairman ARU Community leagues reports to the Director of Community rugby, Lt Col Jason Gunning Royal Signals.

11. The Chairman has the power to amend these regulations; subject to endorsement by Director Community Rugby in writing prior to their introduction. Amended regulations must be published electronically on the ARU web page and all units informed by email.

12. Their league secretaries on behalf of the Chairman run individual leagues. The league secretaries will be responsible for:

a. Staffing their league fixture list, keeping it up to date and informing the ARU of any changes.

b. Liaising between rugby officers and referees to ensure that match officials are content with match administration.

c. Offer advice on the specifics of ARU laws and rules for the smooth running of the competition.

d. Maintain their league tables with scores and bonus points. Act as the first port of call for any disputes or complaints.

e. Keep their league rugby officers up to date on the competition status.

f. Attend some league matches to ensure the laws and rules are being complied with.

g. Monitor the performance of match officials and liaise with the Chairman ARU Comps if there are any issues.

h. Act in the best interests of the competition at all times and promote the game of rugby.

i. Post scores and updates on the Facebook page.

j. Update the ARU Web page.


13. A team in the competition may only play or select as a replacement, players who are on the unit establishment and occupy a JPA position ID. There is to be a clear 7 (seven) days gap between a player arriving in a unit and being eligible to play. Players attached to a unit on War Establishment for operations are not eligible to play for the new unit, but may continue playing for their old unit. Playing an ineligible player will result in the unit being disqualified from the competition.

14. In some Army 2020 establishments units share a common G4 spine. In such circumstances these support sub units will be affiliated to a single unit for rugby union, details of which will be held by the Chairman ARU Comps.

15. No player may play in the front row of the scrum during contested scrummages until he has reached his eighteenth birthday.

16. Any player that has been suspended from playing civilian rugby; and is currently banned or not allowed to play civilian rugby must not participate in the competition; failure to comply with this regulation will result in disqualification from the competition.

17. Each team playing in the Prem competition must have sufficient front row players, aged at least eighteen years, to play at hooker, tight head prop and loose head prop. They must be suitably trained and experienced to ensure that on the first and second occasions (whether due to injury or consequent to a player(s) being temporarily suspended or ordered off) that a replacement in any front row position is required the team can continue to play safely with contested scrums. (i.e. they must start the match with two front row replacements). If on any occasion a front row player requires to be replaced and his team cannot provide a suitably trained and experienced player, aged at least eighteen years, the referee, having checked with the captain of the team, will order uncontested scrums. From that point on the team will play with 14 players for the duration of the match. The result of the match will stand. In other words, teams need two front row replacements at the beginning of the match or they will play with 14 players if one is yellow carded or injured. If they start with just one front row replacement, who is subsequently used, but then another front row replacement is needed, they will again reduce to 14 players for the remainder of the match.

18. In the Champ comp there is no need to have replacement front row. A team must start with a competitive front row but if injury prevents competitive scrums the game moves to uncontested scrums but with 15 players remaining on the pitch.

19. Where a player(s) is/are temporarily suspended from the field of play, which creates an occasion that a front row forward requires to be replaced, and his team cannot provide a qualified replacement, the match will continue with uncontested scrums until the player retakes the field.

20. When reinforcing a regular XV, reservists, FTRS, & NRPS are entitled to play but are limited to three individuals on the pitch at any time.

21. If a reserve unit enters the competition then there is no limit on regular or reserve players on the pitch at any one time.

22. Units may register up to two players per season to play for their team who are not on a unit JPA position ID if these players have a strong and tangible connection with the unit and have no other opportunity of playing week-day ARU rugby union. For example, a Royal Welsh staff officer within a Bde HQ may elect to play for his home Bn if the Bde HQ does not play rugby. Or, a medical officer attached to a N.H.S. hospital may elect to play for any proximal unit that is both willing and able to support their rugby. This rule is not to be used to “fish” for talent and affiliate players. There must be a strong link to the home unit. All applications are to be made by email to the Chairman ARU community 7 days before they are required. There may be one change per season.

23. If a player is posted from one team to another during the season they will be eligible to play for the new team as soon as their posting order date is reached. If the new unit isn’t in the ARU community leagues, then the individual can apply to continue playing for his previous unit. Any queries should be addressed to the Chairman as soon as possible.

24. Units that have an individual attached to them on Ex LONG LOOK may select them.

25. If a unit cannot field a qualified front row in either the Prem or Champ the team may still play the fixture, (uncontested scrums) but the side with a front row will be awarded a 20-0 win with bonus point regardless of the final score. The team without a front row will still be awarded a point for playing. A team can not take the pitch and immediately declare an injured front row. The front row must last 20 mins of play.

26. If a team has less than 15 players but has at least 8 players they can still turn out and claim a single point. They must then negotiate with the opposition to borrow players in order that a balanced game is played. The full strength team will be given a bonus point win at 20-0 no matter what the final score.

Promotion / Relegation

27. Teams will promote and relegate depending upon their final league position. The top team in each league will automatically promote. The bottom team will automatically relegate. In order to balance the leagues, sometimes more than one team will promote or relegate as decided by the Chairman ARU Community leagues and endorsed by the Director Community rugby.

The Structured Season

28. The secretariat of the ARU will staff the SS in June each year. The SS will be annotated for CS, Army, Army A, Army U23, Corps, Community and Women’s fixtures. The level of play nominated for each week has priority over other levels for all players. Teams may play on any given Wednesday but must understand that players selected for a higher level of play must be released to play for the representative teams on all occasions. Failure to do so will result in a point’s deduction after review by the Director Community rugby. If units arrange a fixture on a day that clashes with an Army or Corps matches, they are required to inform the Chairman.


29. The dates for matches will be circulated by the ARU in July each year. Fixtures will be arranged at the annual Community meeting in July each year. Units have a further 4 weeks to ratify fixtures. Fixtures are set on the 1st of August each year.

30. Once fixtures are published changing them is subject to the following conditions. If more than 6 weeks notice is given, then both sides are obliged to find a new date. If less than 6 weeks notice is given then the non-changing side may deny the opportunity to play on another date (if its not possible) and claim a 10-0 win without bonus point. However, every effort must be made to play the fixture. If matches are cancelled within 2 weeks, then the non-cancelling team wins 20-0 without bonus point. If cancelled within 1 week then the non-cancelling team wins 30-0 with a single bonus point. If a fixture can not be played due to non availability of both sides, and this has been agreed and staffed by the Chairman, then the match will be recorded as a 10 – 10 draw, with both teams will be awarded 2 points, and 10 points for and against. When cancelling or changing any fixture the timeline is in relation to when the Chairman Prem is first informed. It is then up to the Chairman to inform other agencies.

31. If a unit runs out of dates to play due to circumstances beyond their control the Chairman may be forced to “predict” the likely score. For example; if the teams are within one team of each other in the league results at that stage of the season then a 10-10 draw will be awarded. If there is a two or three team gap than a 10-0 win to the higher team.

32. Matches are to be played on the prescribed Wednesday with a KO of 1400 hrs. Matches may be played under floodlights at 1900 hrs but these arrangements must obey the same conditions as arranging the fixture, i.e. must be made in advance.

Un-played, Postponed, and Abandoned Matches

33. If a match is abandoned within 60 minutes of playing time due to adverse weather conditions or due to injury that prevents the match continuing, the match shall be rescheduled under the same arrangements on a date agreed by the relevant teams. If the match is abandoned after 60 minutes play then the score at the time of abandonment shall be deemed the final score. The decision as to the time elapsed and the necessity to abandon shall be that of the referee alone.

34. In the event of an abandoned match, the rugby officer of the home team shall provide to the chairman ARU Prem an e-mail containing, the time of abandonment, the existing score, and the reason for abandonment.

35. In the event of unplayable pitches due to snow, frost or other conditions the Chairman reserves the right to adopt a Pools Prediction format to resolve un-played fixtures. In the first instance, every opportunity must be given to get the matches played. However, if fixture congestion prevents this, the Chairman will seek guidance from the Director ARU Community. Matches whose results seems obvious will be awarded a 10 – 0 win without bonus point. Matches that are too close to call will be awarded a 10 – 10 draw without bonus point.

Delayed Arrivals

36. If a team arrives late for a match, for any reason, they can demand a delay to KO by 30 mins without negotiation, as long as they inform the referee immediately upon arrival. If this is still not enough time to prepare, then any further extension is to be negotiated between both captains and the referee. A team that arrives after 90 mins from KO will forfeit the fixture 10-0 if the home team deem that there is insufficient playing time remaining. The home team and referee also have the option of playing a match of only 60 mins duration, i.e. 30 mins each way, after which the result will stand.

Publication of Match Results

37. After the match the referee, and both rugby officers are to text the result to the Chairman (07949-574155) and included details of bonus points and red & yellow cards. Red cards require names to be sent, yellow cards do not. Texts are to arrive within 24 hrs or the non-texting side may be docked a point.

38. The Chairman and any authorised rugby officer will then publish the results on the ARU Premiership & Championship Facebook page.

Referees and Assistant Referees

39. For Prem 1 & 2 matches the league secretaries will liaise with the secretary ARURS (Martin Bentley) to make arrangements for matches. These nominations will be published on the ARU Web page under the referees/officials page. The nominations will include military Dii contact details. Home team RO must engage with their referee prior to the fixture and confirm: pitch location, changing room location, KO time, playing strip colour. For Prem 1 matches, it is the aspiration to appoint a Team of Three (ToT). For all other levels of rugby and single official is appointed.

40. For Champ matches, rugby officers are to liaise with their regional referee appointer for an official. This should be done at the beginning of the season as a warning order and then confirmed 10 days prior, follow this link:

41. For the knock out stages of all competitions, the Chairman will staff the match officials and inform the teams accordingly.

42. Any home team not contacting the referee by 1400 hrs on the Thursday preceding the match will be deducted a league point. If the home team doesn’t contact the official by 1400 hrs on the Monday the team will be deducted two points and if no contact is made before 24 hrs of ko then it will be a three point deduction. These deductions are of league points not points you score in the match and will thus impact upon your final league standing significantly.

43. Referee allocations are found at:

44. Referee feedback can be left at this link:

45. ARU Referee courses can be found at this link:

Grounds and Match Management

46. The home team is responsible for correctly and clearly marking its pitch. Proper provision must be made to ensure that, with the exception of the touch judges, all spectators, replacements and officials are kept at a reasonable distance (2m) from the field of play, behind permanent or temporary barrier such as stakes and rope.

47. Each unit shall make provision for two technical areas one for each team competing in a match (each of which areas shall not exceed 10 sq. metres and which will be at least one metre from the touchline of the pitch. The technical areas when occupied must not in any way impede the touch judges or fourth official undertaking his responsibilities).

48. Each unit playing in the competition must ensure that team replacements and coaching staff are not permitted outside of the technical area or onto the pitch except for half time.

49. Any player, temporarily suspended during a match must remain in the technical area or leave the playing enclosure and be clearly and readily identifiable to the fourth official.

50. Any player ordered off must leave the playing pitch.

51. The home team must make provision for the feeding of a visiting team at suitable PAYD facilities. There is no subsidy for feeding.

52. All teams hosting units flying to their location are responsible for their collection and transport from the APOD to the unit lines and back.


53. Players will be disciplined in the normal manner by the awarding of red and yellow cards, and any subsequent hearings. However, spectators will also be subject to discipline powers of the match official. The director community rugby reserves the right to penalise a team by the awarding of negative points to their league score.

54. In all matches in the competition any decision taken by the appointed match officials or their replacements shall be final and binding insofar as the Laws of the Game are concerned.

55. Any unit that attracts more than 6 discipline points (red card = 2, yellow card = 1) in a season will be subject to a disciplinary review. It is likely that the team will be deducted 4 points. Any team that reaches 12 discipline points will be expelled from the competition.


56. The ARU Community leagues are sponsored and supported by Samurai Sportswear. As such, each year a financial contribution is made by Samurai to support the community teams. The Chairman ARU decides in which form this will take. Most seasons it will be in the subsidy of playing strip, in some it will be pitch equipment. By taking the Samurai equipment the unit commits itself to only purchasing rugby kit, clothing and peripherals from Samurai Sportswear. If a unit is seen to have taken the Samurai Sports subsidy and then spent public or private money with another manufacturer that season they will be in breach and disqualified from the league competition that season.

57. Samurai also offer 30% discount on all products for those accepting the scheme. Their web page is at:

58. The Royal British Legion sponsors the ARU Championship.

Match Day Administration

59. In the event of units having similar or clashing colours the home unit will be responsible for changing its colours, subject to the satisfaction of the appointed referee.

60. The jerseys of teams competing in the competition should all be numbered in accordance with any IRB requirements to ensure the correct identification of all players and replacements during a match.

61. Regimental mascots and other such paraphernalia are encouraged by the ARU. However, their inclusion must not convey advantage to either side or unnecessarily delay proceedings. Any pre-match parade of any sort will be coordinated by the senior ARURS official, and not exceed whatever they may see fit, and in keeping with rugby unions laws.


62. The home team must ensure that a medical plan is in place. This is articulated in the risk assessment for rugby union, which is signed by the Commanding Officer. In its simplest form, each unit must have a plan for the speedy dispatch of a civilian ambulance to the pitch via 999. VCPs must be informed and pax dispatched to direct the vehicle. The pitch must be accessible for a vehicle. A nominated individual that is not playing that day is nominated to hold the mobile phone that has reception and who will call 999 if needed.

63. The unit must also supply a casualty pack for serious injury. This includes blankets and a waterproof cover if an injured player is immobile and needs to wait in place for an ambulance.

64. The most simple medical policy remains: If in doubt call 999, do not move the player, keep the player still, stop the match, reassure the player, inform the CoC, kept the player warm, dry and calm. If possible, the match should be reconvened on another pitch once the injured player has been dealt with.

The Season Format

65. There will be two community meetings each season at which all teams must send a representative. Held in February and July they will allow for the smooth running of the competition and act as an opportunity to consider queries and concerns of units. The July meeting will include the league draw and fixture arrangements.

66. Any team that is committed to operations or extensive training may take a sabbatical season and maintain their position for the following season. No team may miss a second season; failure to take part will see them placed at the lowest tier of rugby. Individual appeals to avoid relegation should be submitted by commanding officers direct to the Director Community Rugby.

67. Progression from the league stages will be based upon final league position.

68. At the end of the round robin stages if table points are equal, position shall be determined by: total bonus points, then points difference, then winner of the match between those two teams, then most tries scored.

69. If, for whatever reason a team cannot complete all its matches in a season, its score will be adjusted to compensate accordingly. However, if the Chairman ARU Prem feels that a team has avoided a fixture in order to avoid defeat an enquiry will be held in which it may be considered appropriate NOT to award any extra points. The adjusted score will be calculated by dividing the points garnered by the number of matches played and then multiplied by the number of matches that should have been played in order to add on an average number of points.

70. For Prem 1all 8 teams will progress into the quarterfinals. Team 1 will play team 8, team 2 will play team 7 etc. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. The winners will compete for the Army Cup.

71. For Prem 2, the top 4 teams in each league will progress into the quarterfinals. Team 1 from league North will play team 4 from league South (match a). Team 2 from league North will play team 3 from league South (match b). Team 3 from league North will play team 2 from league South (match c). Team 4 from leagues North will play team 1 from league South (match d). Quarterfinals will be played with home advantage to the teams placed 1 & 2 at the end of the league season. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations. The winners of match a will play the winners of match c and the winners of match b will play the winners of match d. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. The winners will be the Army Shield Champions.

72. For Champ 1 the top two teams in each league will compete for the ARU Champ Cup. Less for Champ Midlands and Champ North where only the top team will go through to the quarter finals. Winners Champ 1 North will play runners up in Champ 1 Germany (match a). Winners Champ 1 Germany will play runners up Champ 1 North (match b). Winners Champ 1 SW will play runners up Champ 1 SE (match c). Winners Champ 1 SE will play runners up Champ SW1 (match d). Matches will be at home advantage to league winners. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations, a v b & c v d. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. Winners will compete for the Army Champ Cup.

73. For Champ 1 teams placed 3rd & 4th will compete for the ARU Champ Plate. 3rd Champ 1 North will play 4th up in Champ 1 Germany (match a). 3rd Champ 1 Germany will play 4th Champ 1 North (match b). 3rd Champ 1 SW will play 4th Champ 1 SE (match c). 3rd Champ 1 SE will play 4th SW1 (match d). Matches will be at home advantage to league 3rd placed teams. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations, a v b & c v d. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. Winners will compete for the Army Champ Plate.

74. For Champ 2 the top four teams in each league will compete for the ARU Champ Bowl playing semi finals onwards. Winners Champ 2 SE will play 4th in Champ 2 SW (match a). Winners Champ 2 SW will play 4th in Champ 2 SE (match b). 2nd Champ 2 SE will play 3rd in Champ 2 SW (match c). 3rd Champ 2 SE will play 2nd Champ SW 2 (match d). Matches will be at home advantage to league winners. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations, a v b & c v d. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. Winners will compete for the Army Champ Bowl.

75. For Champ 2 teams placed 3rd & 4th will compete for the ARU Champ Vase playing semi finals onwards. 5th Champ 2 SE will play 8th Champ 2 SW (match a). 5th Champ 2 SW will play 8th Champ 2 SE (match b). 6th Champ 2 SE will play 7th Champ 1 SW (match c). 7th Champ 1 SE will play 6th SW1 (match d). Matches will be at home advantage to higher league placed teams. Semi finals will be played at neutral locations, a v b & c v d. The final will be played at the Army Aldershot Stadium. Winners will compete for the Army Champ Vase.

76. In the knock out stages of the competition there is a need to gain a result on the day, a draw will not do. In this instance the following provisions are made. After regular time there will be a 5min gap. Teams will swap ends. Teams will play a further 2 x 10 mins each way, swapping ends at half time. The team with the highest score at the end of 20mins will be the winner. The complete 20mins will be played. If the scores remain tied, there will be a further gap of 5 mins as teams swap ends again. Teams will now play a 10 min sudden death period. If either team score in any way, they will be declared the winners. If after this 10mins a winner is not found there will be a drop kick penalty shoot out. Teams will nominate 5 kickers, who must have been playing in the last session. They will all attempt a drop kick at goal from anywhere behind the 22m line. The team with the most successful kicks wins. If the scores remain equal, extra kickers will be drafted in, one at a time until a winner is found. Only those on the pitch for the last 10 mins may kick at goal.

77. In all matches in the competitions 8 replacements from a total of 8 may be used. From earlier rules, it should be noted that at least 2 of the replacements must be front row players.

78. In Champ leagues replacements may return to the field if all other substitutes have been used. This is not rolling subs but does add some flexibility.

79. Prior to the match a nominated official from each side will confirm with the referee and each other how many front row replacements they have. They are to be identified by all parties and should of course attend the referees front row brief prior to kick off. If a team has less than two front row replacements they must be made aware that their team will be permanently reduced to 14 players if they cannot fulfil their live scrumaging requirement.


80. Units are to fund their own travel for all matches within England, Scotland, and Wales. For matches in Germany, Cyprus or Northern Ireland the ARU may subsidise air travel by up to £1,000 per team. Flights should be booked by units and invoices submitted to the Sec ARU for payment of the £1,000. The ARU cannot subsidise coach or minibus travel as this is funded by the public purse. A receiving unit in NI, Cyprus or Germany is to collect the opposition from the airport and return them in a suitable vehicle. ARU funding will be for no more than 26 pax, 23 players and 3 officials.

81. The ASCB shall fund the travel of all teams in semi finals and finals through POT 16.

Unit Coach & Referees

82. Each unit may only train and play matches if they have a RFU / ARU qualified coach. If the unit does not have the required coaches, this must be articulated in the risk assessment and signed by the unit CO. Support to units for all coaching matters should be sent to the Army Rugby Union RDO. Each unit must register a new referee each season before the knock out stages. Each unit must develop one coach, i.e. train a new coach or improve and exiting one. Failure to do either will prevent teams progressing to the knock out stages.


83. If for any reason a unit disagrees with any decision made by the organising committee it is to email, copied to the Chairman, the Director of community rugby and state their case within 5 days of any decision. The Director community will then have a further 5 days to make a binding decision.


84. Play rugby for fun, bond and develop your officers and soldiers. Plan and use the SS and format of the competition to your advantage. Understand these rules and enforce them where necessary. Get your unit CO to accept and sign the rugby team risk assessment. Enjoy rugby; you’re being paid to play.

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