Rugby Union Substitution Rules

June 20, 2016
FRN peeps walking

The playing field should be a maximum of 100 metres long by 70 metres wide. At either side of the pitch is a Touch-in goal, which represents each team’s goal area, and must be between 10 and 22 metres wide. At the end of each touch-in goal is the Dead-ball line and is connected to the two Touch lines‘, which also demarcate the boundaries of the playing field.

The field is split in half by the Half-way line and on either side are two vertical unbroken lines, known as the 10 metre line and the 22 metre line respectively. The adjacent rectangular area to the touch-in goal is therefore unsurprisingly known as The ‘22’. One broken line runs on either side vertically and is known as the 5 metre line.

Four broken lines run horizontally on the pitch, representing distances to the touchline. These are the 5 metre lines and the 15 metre lines respectively.

Front and centre of both touch-in-goal areas are the goal posts. The distance between the two posts must be 5.6 metres and there must be a distance of 3 metres from the floor to the crossbar which joins the two goal posts. There must also be at least 0.4 metres extra height on the goal posts above the crossbar (although most rugby pitches will have very tall goal posts to better outline the goal area). If padding is used on the goal posts, then it must not exceed 3 centre metres over the goal-line.

There are 14 flag posts, located outside the touchline. 2 are placed at the intersection of each touch-in goal lines, two are placed on each dead-ball line, two are placed on each 22 metre line and 22 are situated on the halfway line.

The ball

The match ball must be oval with dimensions of 280-300 mm in length, 740-770 mm measuring end to end, and the width circumference must be 580-620 mm. It must also weigh between 410 and 460 grams.

The ball is usually made of leather, but can be from synthetic materials.

Number of players – the team

There can be no more than 15 players on each team at any time during the match.


Seven substitutes are permitted per Union in international matches, although the figure can be higher or lower for other matches. Two front-row substitutes are five other substitutes are acceptable, but changes can only be made with the referee’s permission and when the ball is dead. The substitution(s) can be temporary or permanent.

Paloma Faith - World in Union (Official Rugby World Cup Song)
Paloma Faith - World in Union (Official Rugby World Cup Song)
Kyla Lingley. World in Union. Rugby Song
Kyla Lingley. World in Union. Rugby Song
World In Union (Rugby song)
World In Union (Rugby song)
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