PREMIERSHIP, CHAMPIONSHIP, KNOCK-OUT & COMMUNITY COMPETITION RULES & GENERAL REGULATIONS 2021 – 2022 SEASON
- The Army Rugby Union (ARU) Community Leagues shall be played under the Laws of World Rugby and of the Rugby Football Union and shall comply with the Competition Rules and Regulations of the Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) & ARU.
- The ARU Community Leagues, Knock-Out Competition and general fixtures are run and facilitated to promote teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship for all. Fixtures should be arranged and agreed upon well in advance and units should honour them. It takes constant monitoring of the unit Forecast of Events (FoE). by Rugby Officers (ROs) 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, some travel, fixtures and referees can be provided or organised.
- The League Competitions 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 & Knock-Out Competition will be for Regular and Reserve Unit XVs, ARTD establishments and Formation Headquarters. In the spirit of promoting rugby, some allowances may be made to facilitate participation for Garrison or multi-unit teams. The aim of ARU Community Rugby is to promote rugby union and to provide a stepping-stone for players to progress into Army representational teams.
- The competitions are open to units affiliated to the ARU and are registered on the RFU Game Management System (GMS). Units must pay an annual fee of £50 to the ARU which pays for unit rugby insurance. RO’s must ensure that their unit GMS is correct and that players are registered within it. To apply for a GMS account please click here. For help and guidance on setting up players in your team, and general GMS guidance, click here.
- To participate, units must agree to be bound by the RFU disciplinary procedures. The Committee shall have the power 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.
- The Rules of the competitions are those published on the ARU web page. They are updated usually at the beginning and end of each season and can be found at: https://www.armyrugbyunion.org.uk/competition/
- The Chair ARU Community Unit Rugby (hereafter known as the Chair), Maj Andy Bennett and a team of league secretaries administer the ARU Prem and Champ, KO Competition as well as facilitating Community fixtures. The Secretary of the ARU, Mr Chris Fowke, assists them. The Chair reports to the Director of Community rugby, Maj Marc Wilding (hereafter known as the Director).
- The Chair has the power to amend these regulations; subject to endorsement by the Director in writing prior to their introduction. Amended regulations must be published electronically on the ARU web page and all units informed by email.
- League and KO secretaries run the individual leagues on behalf of the Chair. They will be responsible for:
- Staffing their fixture list, keeping it up to date and informing the ARU of any changes, results and league tables.
- Offering advice and support to ROs on the specifics of ARU laws and rules for the smooth running of the competition.
- Maintain their league tables with scores and bonus points, ensuring that results are passed to the Chair at the earliest opportunity.
- Keep their ROs up to date on the competition status.
- Act in the best interests of the competition and promote the game of rugby.
- Secretary contact details for season 2021/22 are:
Appointment Name Contact Prem Competition Capt Abel Mataitini Champ Competition Maj Jase Lowe KO Competition Maj Andy Bennett Community Fixture Exchange WO1 Scott McWilliam
The Structured Season
- ARU Community Unit Rugby takes place within the ARU Structured Season (SS). As such, every week within the SS has a priority for play. The SS will be annotated for UKAF, Army, Army A, Army U23, Corps, Prem & Champs and Women’s fixtures. On these days, players will know to whom they must play for if selected. This priority of play is also true for Garrison or Community friendly fixtures. It is not within the gift of unit COs or ROs to deny individuals within their command these opportunities. The first POC in all instances must be the relevant secretary and then the Chair.
- The secretariat of the ARU will staff the SS in June each year. Units may play on any given day but must understand that players selected for a higher level of play are to be released to play for representative teams on all occasions. Players must not be made to play unit or lower level fixtures in the same week where they will also play representative rugby. Failure to abide by these guidelines will result in a points deduction after review by the Chair. If units arrange a fixture on a day that clashes with an Army or Corps matches, they are required to inform the Chair.
- There will be two community rugby meetings each season at which all teams must send a representative. These will allow for the smooth running of the competition and act as an opportunity to consider queries and concerns of units. The Pre-Season meeting will include the league draw and fixture arrangements. It is essential for ROs to confirm provisional dates for fixtures with each other and relevant secretaries at this point.
The ARU Prem & Champ League Structure
- The ARU Prem & Champs Leagues will be split into two levels of play. The most senior league is the ARU Premiership consisting of the best 6 unit sides in the British Army. The next tier of play will be split into two leagues, Championship South and Championship North & Midlands (N&MI).
- Any team that is committed to operations or extensive training may take a sabbatical season and maintain their position for the following season. Teams should inform the Chair of their intention to play or not at the earliest opportunity in order to plan for upcoming seasons.
- Where teams miss a second season, they may be placed at a lower tier of rugby, or into the Community rugby pool, at the discretion of the Chair. Individual appeals to avoid relegation should be submitted by Commanding Officers to the Director.
- Once League fixtures have been completed, the top four placed teams within the Premiership will compete in a knock out competition for the Premiership Cup (formerly the Army Cup) and Shield. The top two teams within both Championship N&MI and Championship S will compete for the Championship Plate and 3rd and 4th will compete for the Championship Bowl.
- The remaining trophies, the Army Tankard, Army Vase and Army Quaich will be competed for by Community Rugby teams in a knock out competition played throughout the season. All finals will be played on the same day.
- Every effort must be made to honour fixtures. If matches are cancelled and are not rescheduled, then the non-cancelling team will be awarded a 20-0 win with bonus point. The team that cancels will face a 5 point deduction.
- Teams that cancel League or Knock Out Competition fixtures after they have been confirmed with their Secretary are to inform the Chair, via email, as to the reasons for the cancellation. They are to confirm the reasons for cancellation, when the decision was made and when the match officials were informed. This is not the case for postponed games if an alternate date has been agreed by both teams. However, units must inform match officials of postponements. Secretaries must be made aware of postponements and rearranged fixture dates at the earliest opportunity.
- League matches will be scored thus; Win – 4 points, Lose – 1 point, Draw – 2 points, Lose by 7 points or less – 1 point, Score 4 tries or more – 1 point.
- If a unit withdraws from the competition, all results pertaining to that team will be cancelled from all opposition.
- Matches are, where possible, to be played on the Wednesdays with a KO of 1400 hrs. Matches may be played under floodlights at 1930 hrs but these arrangements must obey the same conditions as arranging the fixture, i.e. must be made in advance. Where teams play matches outside of these stated times, ROs are to inform their league secretaries for the correct timings to be published on the ARU website. This is equally applicable to Community fixtures and during the knock out stages of the competitions.
The ARU Competitions Knock Out Competition & League Knock-Out Structure
- In the Knock-Out Competition and League Knock-Out stages there is a need to gain a result on the day. As such, the following provisions should be followed:
- 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 immediately and the contest will stop at that point.
- 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.
- Community rugby, in the form of friendly fixtures will be facilitated by the Community Rugby Fixture Exchange Secretary. Units are encouraged to seek out opponents to play competitive matches throughout the season.
- Home ROs will be responsible for ensuring that match management and medical provisions are provided for all Community matches.
- Community matches may be played as 7s, 10s or 12s format as well as 15 a side. Where teams may not be able to play unless in a shortened version of the game then the Community Fixture Exchange Secretary may work to bring more than two teams together to maximise the amount of rugby played. ie Four teams could be brought together to play a mini 7s tournament in one location. Where teams are short of competent front row, the Adapted Laws for scrummaging should be utilised.
- Referees will be encouraged to guard against mis matches. This may be through enforcing non competitive scrums or by removing a player from a dominant team after they are more than 4 tries clear. Any provision is to be discussed with ROs beforehand.
Squad Composition, Player Eligibility and Affiliated Players
- Teams may have a maximum match day squad of 23 and all 8 substitutes may be used. Sides may roll subs on and off throughout the match.
- Teams playing in the Premiership must have at least one front row substitute. They must be suitably trained and experienced to ensure that play can carry on safely with contested scrums. Front row players must be over 18 years of age.
- If a team cannot field a qualified front row in either the Premiership competition, the teams should still play the fixture, (Adapted Laws format – uncontested scrums). 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, they will also be awarded a bonus point if they score 4 tries or lose by 7 points or less. If a team cannot field a front row in the Championship or Knock-Out Competitions, that team will start the fixture 0-14. The Secretary of the respective competition or Chair must also be contacted prior to the fixture for authorisation, and to explain the reasons for not having a starting front-row.
- In Community friendly fixtures there is no need to have replacement front row. A team should start with a qualified and competitive front row but if injury prevents competitive scrums the game moves to uncontested scrums but with 15 players remaining on the pitch. Every effort should be made to develop front row players to allow for matches to be played to their fullest.
- Units in the Premiership may register one player per season to play for their team who are not on a unit JPA PiD. This is only to be done if these players have a strong and tangible connection with the unit and have no other opportunity of playing league rugby. 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 NHS hospital may elect to play for any proximal unit that is both willing and able to support their participation. 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 Chair at least seven days before they are required.
- Units in the Championship may register up to two players per season to play for their team who are not on a unit JPA PiD if these players have a strong and tangible connection with the unit and have no other opportunity of playing league rugby. Again, these applications must be made to the Chair.
- Units may not register personnel who are on the establishment of units that are also affiliated to the ARU.
- Reservists, including FTRS, are entitled to play if they are on the establishment of the unit. Reservists within reserve units who do not have a team entered, may play for their “paired” regular unit. There is no limit on how many can play.
- If a Reserve unit enters the competition, there is no limit on regular or reserve players on the pitch at any one time.
- O.D. civilians, civilian physiotherapists, and other non-military individuals are not usually entitled to play in the competition. Cases for inclusion should be made in writing to the Chair. If the request is granted, units must ensure that these personnel have private insurance.
- 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 soldier is leaving a unit within the Prem & Champs to one that is not, the individual can request to continue playing for his previous unit. Any queries should be addressed to the Chair as soon as possible.
- Units that have an individual attached to them on Ex LONG LOOK may play the individual. This must be clarified with the Chair beforehand.
Postponed, and Abandoned Matches
- The decision to not start a match, when teams have travelled, due to adverse weather, is that of the ROs and match referee. If the referee is content to proceed the only way the match will not start is if both team captains disagree with the referee. If only one team captain is not content, then the match will be played. This law does not prevent law 38 being enforced if conditions deteriorate sufficiently during the match.
- If a match is abandoned within 60 minutes of playing time due to adverse weather conditions or due to an 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.
- In the event of an abandoned match, the RO of the home team shall provide to their league secretary and Chairman an e-mail containing the time of abandonment, the existing score, and the reason for abandonment.
- In the event of unplayable pitches due to snow, frost or other conditions or if a unit runs out of available Wednesdays 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. 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.
- If a team arrives late for a match, for any reason, they can demand a delay to KO by 30 mins without negotiation, if 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 ROs and the referee. A team that arrives after 90 mins from KO will forfeit the fixture 20-0 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.
Match Management and Medical
- 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.
- The home team is responsible for correctly and clearly marking its pitch. Proper provision must be made to ensure that, apart from the touch judges, all spectators, replacements and officials are kept at a reasonable distance (2m) from the field of play, behind permanent or a temporary barrier such as stakes and rope. ROs will be responsible for ensuring that unit personnel both players, officials and spectators act appropriately and professionally at all times. The home team is also to ensure that there are at least two competition standard match balls available throughout the match.
- Each unit shall make provision for two technical areas, one for each team competing in a match (each of which 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).
- Any player suspended during a match must remain in the technical area or leave the playing enclosure and be clearly and readily identifiable to the referee or other officials.
- The home team should make provision for the feeding of a visiting team at suitable PAYD facilities. There is no subsidy for feeding.
- All teams hosting units flying to their location are responsible for their collection and transport from the APOD to the unit lines and back.
- Units are to fund their own travel for all matches within England, Scotland, and Wales. The ARU cannot subsidise coach or minibus travel as this is funded by the public purse. A receiving unit in NI or Cyprus is to collect the opposition from the airport and return them in a suitable vehicle. The ASCB shall fund the travel of all teams in semi-finals and finals through POT 16.
- 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. In arranging fixtures, ROs should check team colours to ensure that there is no clash.
- 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.
- 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 personnel dispatched to direct the vehicle. The pitch must be accessible for a vehicle. An individual that is not playing must be nominated to hold a mobile phone that is able to call 999 if needed.
- The home 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.
- The simplest medical policy remains to call 999 for all serious injuries. Do not move the player if you believe that there may be further risk of injury. Keep the player still, stop the match, give reassurance, keep the player warm, dry and calm. If possible, the match should be reconvened on another pitch once the injured player has been dealt with. Finally, the player’s CoC should be informed.
Publication of Match Results
- Referees should complete the Game Match Card which will inform the relevant Secretary and Chair of the score, which must be done by 0900hrs the following day. ROs must check that referees have carried out this action and should inform the league secretary of the result, in the correct format, by 0900hrs the following day if not.
- ROs are encouraged to provide a short match report to be published on the ARU Community Rugby Social Media channels. These are either to be posted directly or sent to Chair Unit Rugby.
Referees and Assistant Referees
- For Prem & Champs matches, ROs must liaise with their appropriate League Secretary and the appropriate Army Rugby Union Referees Society (ARURS) Appointer to plan for matches. Home team rugby officers must engage with their referee NLT 48 hours prior to the fixture and confirm: pitch location, changing room location, KO time, playing strip colour. For Premiership matches, it is the aspiration to appoint a Team of Three (ToT). For all other levels a referee will be appointed, with a ToT if available.
- The Senior ARURS Appointer will assign officials for all Premiership matches. Regional Appointers (North and South) will assign officials for Championship, Knock-Out Competition and Community matches.
- For Quarter, Semi Finals and Finals, officials will be requested by the Chair and participating teams will be informed accordingly. A home team will be identified and it will be their responsibility to contact their appointed referee as well as ensure that pitches are playable.
- To book a referee, units should use the following link: https://www.armyrugbyunion.org.uk/aru-info/working-with-us/book-a-ref/
- Referee allocations are found at: https://www.armyrugbyunion.org.uk/aru-referees/referee-appointments/
- Referee feedback should be left at this link: https://www.armyrugbyunion.org.uk/aru-referees/referee-feedback/
- ARU Referee courses can be found at this link: https://www.armyrugbyunion.org.uk/aru-referees/arurs-training/
- Any home team not contacting the referee at least 72 hrs in advance of the match will be deducted a league point. If the home team doesn’t contact the official 48 hours in advance 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.
- 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 reserves the right to penalise a team by deducting points to their league score in the event of serious incidents.
- In all matches, any decision taken by the appointed match officials or their replacements shall be final and binding in so far as the Laws of the Game are concerned.
- 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 any military rugby; failure to comply with this regulation will result in disqualification from the competition.
- Any player that has received a red card and is yet to attend a disciplinary hearing is suspended from playing rugby until they have had an appropriate sanction placed upon them. This is equally applicable to players who have been sent off playing civilian rugby. Imposed sanctions are applicable to both civilian and military rugby.
- If for any reason a unit or player disagrees with any decision made by the organising committee, they are to email the Chairman and Director, stating their case within 5 days of any decision. The Director will then have a further 5 days to make a binding decision.
- Veolia sponsors the ARU Prem. The ARU is sponsored and supported for all playing equipment and clothing by an exclusive ‘Gift of Kit’ contract with Samurai Sportswear.
- Each year a financial contribution, in the form of the ‘Gift of Kit’, is made by Samurai to support the community teams. The Director of Community Rugby 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.
- The Gift of Kit is not guaranteed; however, all applications will be considered by the Director of Community Rugby and where possible will be met.
- Samurai also offer 30% discount on all products for those accepting the scheme. Their web page is at: http://www.samurai-sports.com/
- The Army Rugby Union web page is found at: armyrugbyunion.org.uk
- The Facebook page is ‘ARU Community Rugby – Corps Unit & Garrison’. Regular updates will be posted here in order to reach a larger audience, all of whom have an interest in Army Community Rugby.
- Playing rugby should be fun, competitive and team building. The ARU will facilitate and encourage participation; however, it is down to unit reps and players to make the most of the opportunity afforded to them.