HSBC Rugby Festival Dubai 2024

Rules & Downloads

Full Rules and Game Variations

1. Squad Details

The maximum numbers in each team and squad and the number of minutes each half are as shown in the table below. No player may represent more than one team throughout the tournament, even if within the same Age Group, without the approval of the Tournament Directors. Players must have been under the age of the Age Group as at midnight of 31 August 2023, with the exception of Emirati boys and girls in the U18 competitions, where the Age Grade cut-off is 31 December 2023.

Players may play up age groups in accordance with the UAERF Schools and Youth Regulations only if they have obtained UAERF sanction . Players must be at least five years old to play in this tournament. Mixed gender teams are allowed up to Under 12. The U13, U14, U16 and U18 Boys teams must consist of male players only, unless a UAERF sanction has been provided to an U15 female player. The U12, U14, U16, and U18 Girls competitions must consist of female players only.

Players are prohibited in playing in a lower age group.

Squads are not permitted to be changed during the tournament without the approval of the Tournament Directors. The maximum number of players in a squad, as set out in the table below, applies to the whole Tournament. In the event of injury, changes in the squad may only be made with the approval of the Tournament Directors.

Whilst this is very much an inter-Club competition, and the games should be competitively contested, Coaches and Managers are obliged to honour the “spirit of rugby” in their team selections. If, in the opinion of the Tournament Directors, there has been intentional abuse of the squad system, the Tournament Directors may award a walk-over to the opposition team for that match.

Age Group Max No of Players in Team Max No of Players in Squad Mins / Half
Girls Division
U18 7 12 7
U16 7 12 7
U14 7 12 7
U12 7 12 7
Youth Division
U18 12 22 7
U16 12 22 7
U14 12 22 7
U13 12 22 7
Midi Division
U12 12 22 7
U11 12 18 7
U10 10 15 7
U9 7 12 7
Mini Division
U8 7 12 7
U7 7 12 7
U6 7 12 7


Games may be played with a smaller number of players in a team only by mutual agreement of the head coach of each of the playing sides. In the event of a disagreement a Tournament Director can be consulted and his decision and ruling on the matter will be final.

Rolling substitutes will be permitted for all age-groups to ensure the maximum number of players participate in the Tournament.

2. Tournament Day Registration

On each day of the Tournament, each head coach or team manager is required to register at the Tournament registration office at least half an hour before that team’s first game. Variations to this may be made at the discretion of a Tournament Director to accommodate travel requirements. All Head Coaches / Team Managers are requested to have direct access to their players’ passports (pdf / electronic copies will be accepted) for the purpose of age grade verification. In the event of any dispute over a player’s age, a Tournament Director can insist that the passport of the player in question is presented. In the absence of a passport or appropriate passport copy, the matter can be referred to the Tournament Directors whose decision on this matter shall be final.

3. Match Registration

Coaches and / or managers, team captains and assigned Referees must register at the Pitch Marshal’s tent in the relevant playing area at least seven minutes before each game. The toss of a coin to decide kick-off and pitch ends must be performed before the end of the previous match.

4. Match Results

Each Referee should sign and give the result slip for the match to the Pitch Marshal’s Tent in the relevant playing area. These will be collected and retained at the tournament registration office. In the event of a dispute over the result of a match, the referee’s decision, having consulted the result slip, will be final.

5. Pool Stage – Tournament Tables

Tournament Points will be awarded as follows:

  • 4 points for a win or a walk-over*
  • 2 points for a draw
  • 0 point for a loss
  • 0 points for not showing

(*) In the event of a walk-over, the score will be deemed to be 50-0 in favour of the side that was ready to play.

Each team is responsible to be ready to play according to the match schedule for each year group. The Pitch Manager shall have discretion to forfeit a game where a team is more than five minutes late, in which case a walkover shall be awarded to the opposite team.

Where any teams are equal on points after the pool stage, the final position shall be determined as follows:

  • First by way of count back. This means the team that won the pool game between the tied teams shall be ranked higher. Note: This shall not be used to resolve a tie between more than two teams. In the event that the tie remains unsolved by count back, then;
  • The margin of points scored for and against a team in all pool matches shall be considered. The teams with the higher positive point difference shall be ranked higher in the pool table. In the event that the tie still remains unsolved then;
  • The team that scores the most points in all pool matches shall be ranked higher in the pool table. In the event that the tie still remains unsolved then;
  • The team that concedes the least points in all pool matches shall be ranked higher in the pool table. In the event that the tie still remains unresolved then;
  • The winner will be decided by the toss of a coin between the Managers of the teams concerned.
  • Where the play-off draw considers rankings from the pool stage (i.e. the team placed 2nd,3rd, 4th etc. in the pools), the Tournament Points achieved in the pool stage will determine their positions. In the event that there is a tie then;
  • The team with the highest margin of points scored for and against all teams in the pool stage will be ranked ahead of the other team. In the event that the tie remains unresolved then we will follow the same route as above.
6. Play-Off Stages

Extra time will only be played in the play-off stages and the result will be determined by a “Golden Point” in two periods of three minutes. The team that kicked /passed off the match will kick/pass off at the start of the first period. In the event of there being no score during two periods of the extra time, one player is removed from each side every minute until such time as a try is scored by the winning side.

7. Medals and Trophies

Participation Medals will only be presented to Age Groups up until and including U9s. Relevant trophies and medals shall be awarded to winners and runners-up immediately following that Age Group’s cup final in the presentation area.

8. Referees and Match Officials

For the Boys U13, U14, U16, and U18s and the Girls U16s and U18s, match referees will appointed from the UAE Rugby Referees Society (UAERRS). For the U6 to U12 and the Girls U12 and U14s, match referees will be appointed from a neutral club in that age group or (if available) from the Mens squads of the two hosting clubs, or a volunteer. All teams in the U6 to U12 and the Girls U12s and U14s age groups are required to nominate and provide at least one volunteer referee for each team entered in the Tournament. All referees are asked to complete and sign a result slip and give it to a pitch marshal immediately after the match is completed. (See 5 above). All teams must provide one line judge for each match that they play.

9. Rules of the game

The Laws of Rugby Union will be played in accordance with the UAERF School and Youth Law Variations. These are included on the Tournament website.

10. Penalty goals, drop goals and / or conversions

There will be no penalty goals, drop goals or conversions allowed for any matches for the U6 to U11 age groups inclusive. Conversions will be allowed and counted only if goal posts are available for the U12 age group. These will be scored by drop kick in front of the posts only. Drop goals, penalty goals and conversions will be allowed if goal posts are available for U13 and above. All penalty and conversion kicks must be taken by a Drop Kick.


All are reminded that the HSBC Rugby Festival is a Youth tournament and all games should be played in line with World Rugby Values – Integrity, Passion, Solidarity, Discipline and Respect.

The intention of the tournament organisers is that the tournament will be played in a positive spirit, respecting the laws of the Rugby Union. All 12 a side age groups will play 15 a side rules in line with UAE age group law variations. These can be found on the Tournament website. The following amendments will apply.

  • Each team will consist of 6 forwards and 6 backs
  • Each team will have 6 players in a scrum and a minimum of 2 in a lineout
  • All kicks for posts after scoring a try will be a drop goal. No place kicking in any age groups
  • The No 8 cannot pick and go from the base of the scrum
  • The defending scrum half cannot go past the mid line of the scrum (U11 – U14).
12. TAG Rugby rules

These apply to age groups U6 to U7 age groups inclusive.

All tags used must be a minimum of 38 cm in length by 5 cm in width. They should be made of a flexible plastic or plastic/canvas material. Colours should be chosen so that they stand out against the player’s strip e.g. teams with blue shirts or shorts should not use blue tags.

The Velcro strip on the tag shall be a maximum of 50mm wide (tag minimum width 5 cm) and 25 mm in length (tag minimum length 380 mm) as per UAERF requirements.

If tags do not conform to the required specification then the team must borrow Tournament compliant tags. If tags are found to be non-compliant during or after the game has been played, the offending team will forfeit that result.

Please refer to the tournament TAG rules and UAERF Schools and Youth Law Variations

13. Quick Rip (U8, U12 Girls and U14 Girls)

The U8s, U12 Girls and U14 Girls Competitions will be played according to the UAE Quick Rip Rugby 7s rules, which are available on the Tournament website and by following the link below.

These can be found on the UAE Rugby website Resources, Regulations section (

NB: the TAG requirements set out in section 11 (above) also apply to Quick Rip competition

14. Disciplinary matters

Any U13–U19 or U16-U18 Girls player given a red card by the Referee will be subject to disciplinary proceedings as required by the UAERF, and the rules and regulations of World Rugby.

Every attempt will be made to ensure any disciplinary hearings are held as soon as practicable and if of a low-level nature, as determined by the Tournament Directors, will be held within the Tournament. Based on the seriousness of the red card offence the Tournament Directors may defer deciding the matter and refer it to a fully convened Judicial Panel. A player who has been red carded cannot play again in the Tournament until a hearing has been held.

Any U13–U19 or U16-U18 Girls player receiving a yellow card will be required to stand behind their opponent’s posts for a period not less than two minutes of actual play. Any player receiving 3 or more yellow cards during the Tournament will be required to attend a disciplinary hearing before they play again in the Tournament.

Any disciplinary hearing will be held as soon as practicable on the day of the Tournament and be comprised of either the UAERF judicial officer or, in their absence, the Tournament Directors or people appointed by the Tournament Directors as being competent to undertake a hearing on behalf of the Tournament.

Any U12 players and below may not be sin-binned but may be sent off, for serious or repeated infringements of the rules. This player must remain off for the duration of the match but the player may be replaced (i.e. the team can still play with a full squad). In the unlikely event of such an occurrence, the coach should ensure that the player fully understands what the offence was. A player sent off for a second time during the tournament shall be referred to the Tournament Directors prior to playing another game.

15. Substitutions
  • Rolling substitutions are allowed, in all competitions, from the nominated squad.
  • Approval from the referee for substitutions is required.
16. Equipment and liability

Each team is to supply its own rugby balls for practice. Match balls only will be provided by the pitch marshals.

Rugby is a contact sport and from time to time injuries occur. Dubai Exiles Rugby Football Club, and Dubai Hurricanes Rugby Football Club and their owners, management, officers and members accept no liability whatsoever for any accident resulting at the Tournament. Players’ parents / guardians must ensure their families have adequate and effective medical and other insurance. Players should safeguard all their clothes, valuables and other belongings at all times.

Coaches and spectators are also responsible for their belongings. Dubai Exiles Rugby Football Club, and Dubai Hurricanes Rugby Football Club and their owners, management, officers and members accept no liability whatsoever for any loss or theft.

17. Code of conduct for Players and Parents
  • The referee’s decision on the pitch shall be final.
  • The Tournament Directors decision on all other interpretation and application of these Tournament rules shall, save in the case of manifest error, be final.
  • Everyone must respect the Laws of the Game.
  • Each team is responsible for their, players, coach and spectators.
  • Neither players nor spectators should abuse, threaten or intimidate a referee, assistant referee, other match official or a selector, coach, manager or player of an opposing team, whether on or off the field.
  • No crude language or gestures or intimidation should be used towards a referee, assistant referee, match official or spectators.
  • All players, coaches and spectators should not show any unnecessary obvious dissension, displeasure or disapproval towards a referee, assistant referee or match official.
  • Coaches and Team Managers should maintain control of their own supporters and remind them of the code of conduct and that it is only a game and that the referees’ decision is final.

Sanction: The referee, after two official warnings to the Coach of the offending team playing the match (irrespective of whether the offence is from a spectator, parent, coach or another player from another squad of that Club) shall forfeit the game to the non-offending team. This shall be supported without exception by the Tournament Directors.


Mini & Youth Rugby Festival

The Sevens Stadium, Dubai, UAE.


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