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Playing Out of Age Group [POoAG] and Combining Age Groups

PLAYING OUT OF AGE GROUP

This page covers 4 issues:

  • Combining Age Groups (previously "grouping") which involves a number of children in each application.

  • Playing Down an Age Group which involves an individual child.

  • Playing Up an Age Group which involves an individual child.

  • Seventeen Year Olds playing Adult Rugby, which again is about individuals.

In all 4 cases, whether it be at a club or school, APPLICATIONS FOR PERMISSION MUST BE ENDORSED BY THE GRFU (including the County School's Union for schools).

The requirements are set out in RFU Regulation 15 (Age Grade Rugby) and there is a detailed table in RFU Regulation 15.5 explaining which age groups can be combined and details of those that can play up or down. Regulation 15.6 sets out the conditions for 17 year olds being allowed to be involved in adult rugby.

However, this website page explains all the application processes and the conditions that have to be fulfilled. 

 

COMBINING AGE GROUPS

Clubs and schools may need to do this if they do not have sufficient children at a particular age group to make up a team.  So it is about groups of children, not about allowing individual children to play out of their normal age group to aid their individual development.  Which adjacent age groups can be combined are set out in the table in RFU Regulation 15.5

To make an application to combine 2 age groups, complete this on-line process:

Combining Age Groups Request Form

For clubs, it is important that the number of players it has registered on GMS in the relevant age groups coincides with the numbers on the application.  

The form requires to be verified by the proposer.You will receive an email asking you to authenticate this form (check your junk mail just in case).  If you do not verify the form the application will not progress.  It is, therefore, important, that the email address of the proposer is checked and accurate, otherwise you will not receive the verification email and the application will not progress.

It will normally take about 5 working days, once the completed form, with a verified signature, has been submitted by the club, for the GRFU POOAG Panel to review the application and make a decision to approve or not; however, this timescale cannot be guaranteed.

 

PLAYING DOWN AN AGE GROUP

This is about an individual child who for the benefit of their rugby development need to play and train with a younger age group. Such an application is usually made for one of 3 reasons:

  • The child is in a lower year at school than their birthday age group (so such an application will mean that they can play rugby at school or a club with their school mates - the most important motivator for children to play rugby).

  • The child is particularly small in stature for their age and, therefore, their safety might be compromised.  Details of the child's size and how it differs from others of his or her age group must be included on the application.

  • Due to the child having a developmental or behavioural issue that merits playing with a younger age group; again it will be necessary to give some details on the application form. 

To make an application for a player to play down an age group, complete this on-line process:

Playing Down Out of Age Group Consent Form

The form requires to be verified by, firstly, the proposer / coach and, then, the parent / guardian or headteacher (the latter for school / college applications).  Please ensure that these individuals are aware that they will receive an email asking them to authenticate this form (remind them to check their junk mail as well).  If they do not verify the form the application will not progress.  It is, therefore, important, that the email addresses of these individuals are checked and accurate, otherwise they will not receive the verification email and the application will not progress.

It will normally take about 5 working days, once the completed form, with verified signatures, has been submitted by the club, for the GRFU to review the application and make a decision to approve or not; however, this timescale cannot be guaranteed.

In rare cases where a club or school wants a child to play down 2 age groups, after endorsement bythe GRFU, it will also require GRFU to seek the permission of the RFU Legal department as well. 

 

PLAYING UP AN AGE GROUP

Playing up an age group is not permitted until the child is at least an U12.

This is about an individual child who for the benefit of their rugby development need to play and train with an older age group. Such an application should not be made lightly:

  • Children enjoy playing with their mates who are invariably in their school year group.

  • It must not be made, because a club or school has insufficient numbers in a particular age group (that is what combining age groups is for - see above).

The application requires a Level 2 coach to carry out an assessment to demonstrate why that child will benefit from playing and training with an older age group.  It is strongly recommended that coaches read RFU's Age Grade Codes of Practice  before making such an assessment.  The assessment, details of which must be included in the application, must cover:

  • Why and how the skill level and ability of the child is different from children of his or her normal age group.

  • How the physical development for the child's age is different from children of his or her normal age group.

  • How the social and emotional development for the child's age is different from children of his or her normal age group.

  • If an U16 seeking permision to play with U17s / U18s, details of the representative rugby the individual has played.

To make an application for a player to play up an age group, complete this on-line process:

Playing Up Out of Age Group Consent Form

The form requires to be verified by, firstly, the Level 2 coach who made the assesement and, then, the parent / guardian or headteacher (the latter for school / college applications).  Please ensure that these individuals are aware that they will receive an email asking them to authenticate this form (remind them to check their junk mail as well).  If they do not verify the form the application will not progress.  It is, therefore, important, that the email addresses of these individuals are checked and accurate, otherwise they will not receive the verification email and the application will not progress.

It will normally take about 5 working days, once the completed form, with verified signatures, has been submitted by the club, for the GRFU to review the application and make a decision to approve or not; however, this timescale cannot be guaranteed.

 

SEVENTEEN YEAR OLDS PLAYING ADULT RUGBY

The Government’s Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) has recently reviewed the position and requirements for any child to participate with adults in sport (not just rugby).  The government‘s DBS has clarified that anybody under the age of 18, even with the physical and emotional maturity to benefit from playing sport with adults, is still “legally a child” (including 17 year olds) and must be safeguarded accordingly. 

Consequently, the RFU has had to have its processes reviewed and it has resulted in a new 2 stage process to allow a 17 year old to play adult rugby, as follows:

  • The club has to be approved by its CB as having an appropriate environment to safeguard 17 year olds participating in rugby with adults.  To do this, the club has to submit a new form called the club approval form, and that approval lasts for a season.  Moreover, the conditions that a club has to fulfil are something that may take a few days, weeks or a month or so to fulfil; more on this below

  • Once the club has that CB approval, it can then submit for each individual a revised player approval form,  seeking permission for that 17 year old to play and contact train with adults, which again has to be approved by the CB.

GRFU has developed an online system for these 2 processes.  Firstly, ALL clubs that have a17 year old that will benefit from playing adult rugby must seek to be an "approved club".  The conditions that need to be fulfilled include: 

  • Does the club have an active safeguarding officer?  Is their name and contact details easily available on the club website.

  • Has the club’s safeguarding office completed the RFU’s In Touch course (date of completion will be required).  If not, an course application has to have been made, with details of date (not more than 6 months in advance) and location supplied.

  • Has the club adopted the RFU’s Safeguarding Policy and is it available (via a link ideally) on the club’s website.

  • Has the club completed satisfactorily the RFU Safeguarding Audit on GMS this season.  This  can now been found on your GMS page under the “questionnaires” section

  • Those in positions of trust in the adult teams that the 17 year old is likely to play in will need a DBS clearance.  These are likely to be coach, team manager, captain and volunteer first aider (this does not include a health care professional who is providing pitch side care because they will have the relevant clearance from their professional standing).  We will expect a club to name and give their DBS clearance number for a minimum of 2 individuals. If your club runs both an adult women's  and adult men's team, we would require the club to list 4 such individuals; 2 involved with the relevant male adult team(s) and 2 with the relevant female adult team(s), unless an individual is involved with both male and female adult teams.

  • Is your club accreditation up to date?

Once your club can fulfil those conditions, submit your application to be an "approved club" using the following on-line form (also consult with the RFU's Club Guide when completing this on-line form):

Club Approval Form

The form requires to be verified by, firstly, the club safeguarding officer and, then, the club chairman or secretary.  Please ensure that both of these are aware that they will receive an email asking them to authenticate this form (remind them to check their junk mail as well).  If they do not verify the form the application will not progress.  It is, therefore, important, that the email addresses of these individuals are checked and accurate, otherwise they will not receive the verification email and the application will not progress.

It will normally take about 5 working days, once the completed form, with verified signatures, has been submitted by the club, for the GRFU to review the application and make a decision to approve or not; however, this timescale cannot be guaranteed.

Once club's have that CB approval they can apply for individual 17 year olds to play adult rugby (NB Those 17 year olds that were granted permission to play adult rugby last season will automatically have that permission extended to their 18th birthday AS LONG AS the club has approved status).  For all other applications, the club needs to make application for approval from GRFU using the following on-line form (again, also consult with the RFU's Club Guide when completing this on-line form):

Player Approval Form

(DO NOT COMPLETE ONE THESE PLAYER APPROVAL FORMS UNTIL YOUR CLUB HAS "APPROVED STATUS".  WITHOUT APPROVED STATUS YOUR APPLICATION WILL BE REJECTED AND THE FORM NOT SAVED, SO YOU WILL HAVE TO START AGAIN)

The form requires to be verified by, firstly, the coach who carried out the assessment, the proposer and, then, the parent or guardian.  Please ensure that all of these are aware that they will receive an email asking them to authenticate this form (remind them to check their junk mail as well).  If they do not verify the form the application will not progress.  It is, therefore, important, that the email addresses of these individuals are checked and accurate, otherwise they will not receive the verification email and the application will not progress.

Again, it will normally take about 5 working days, once the completed form, with verified signatures, has been submitted by the club, for the GRFU POOAG Panel to review the application and make a decision to approve or not; however, this timescale cannot be guaranteed.

 

FURTHER QUESTIONS

If you have any other queries not covered above,please send an email to POOAG@grfu.org with details of your question.

 

 

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