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Principles of the laws


Discipline is an integral part of the Game, both on and off the field, and is reflected through adherence to the Laws, the Regulations and Rugby's core values

The principles upon which the laws of the game are based are:

A Sport For All

The laws provide players of different physiques, skills, genders and ages with the opportunity to participate at their levels of ability in a controlled, competitive and enjoyable environment. It is incumbent upon all who play rugby to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the laws of the game.

Maintaining the Identity

The laws ensure that rugby’s distinctive features are maintained through scrums, lineouts, mauls, rucks, kick-offs and re-starts. Also the key features relating to contest and continuity - the backward pass, the offensive tackle.

Enjoyment and Entertainment

The laws provide the framework for a game that is both enjoyable to play and entertaining to watch. If, on occasions, these objectives appear to be incompatible, enjoyment and entertainment are enhanced by enabling the players to give full rein to their skills. To achieve the correct balance, the laws are constantly under review.


Respect for team-mates, opponents, match officials and those involved in the game is paramount


There is an over-riding obligation on the players to observe the laws and to respect the principles of fair play. The laws must be applied in such a way as to ensure that the game is played according to the principles of play. The match officials can achieve this through fairness, consistency, sensitivity and, when appropriate, management. In return, it is the responsibility of coaches, captains and players to respect the authority of the match officials.