Principles of play

Rugby is an invasion and evasion game; once possession has been gained, the objective is to move the ball forward (by carrying or kicking) into opposition territory and ultimately score points. It is important for everyone to understand the fundamental principles of play and how they relate to the skills required to play the Game.

The principles of play

Foul play
Foul play is anything a person does within the playing enclosure that is against the letter and spirit of the Laws of the Game. It includes:
  • Obstruction
  • Unfair play
  • Repeated infringements
  • Dangerous play
  • Misconduct
Any form of foul play must be dealt with quickly and firmly.

Remember - we all have a collective responsibility to ensure that the unique spirit and ethos of the Game are upheld and that we take a responsible attitude towards the welfare of ourselves and others.


The following sections offer some best practice guidelines for players, coaches and match officials to introduce, develop and execute the skills of Rugby in a safe manner so as to minimise the risk of injury.


Coaching Tips

  • Use conditioned games to build confidence, progress in a safe manner and develop players’ decision-making skills
  • Observe and analyse players to highlight good practice and identify faults
  • Provide positive and constructive feedback to improve players


Referee Tips

  • Protect the space for players to use
  • Ensure the Game is played in a safe and enjoyable manner
  • Use advantage wherever possible