The IRFU has welcomed World Rugby’s launch of Game On Global, a programme of optional community law variations for national member unions.

Game On Global provides national unions with the ability to implement modified laws at a domestic mass participation level, furthering game experience and safety for participants.

The IRFU piloted Game On with Ulster Rugby during the 2018/19 season with an initial focus on matching player numbers in teams and facilitating a match even without front row specialist players.

From January 2022, the Game On principles can be utilised by all World Rugby member Unions at their discretion. The programme here will be administered at a provincial level to ensure a suite of options for localised competitions.

“It’s simply about getting more games played more often,” said IRFU Competitions Manager Kevin Beggs.

“Since we first piloted Game On in Ulster, we’ve been liaising with other member unions who’ve rolled out this type of programme across the community game.

“It’s about being flexible where we can. If teams in a local game can only field 13-a-side, we’d rather 26 people represent those clubs on a rugby pitch than none at all.

“We are positive about the impact it can have on participation rugby across the four provinces and we look forward to working with them on it.”

Some of the elements of the programme include:

  • Modified contact, weight-banded matches and lowered tackle height at the heart of new community law variations to further advance accessibility and welfare
  • Law variations include flexibility in number of players, game duration, pitch size, ball size, as well as variations to scrums, lineouts and kicking rules
  • Promoting global consistency at the community level of the game, the menu of 10 law variants can be implemented by national unions from January 2022
  • The introduction of Game On Global follows World Rugby’s recently launched participation plan to accelerate sustainable rugby involvement
  • Implementation of the law variations will be optional and available in part or in whole for National Unions to determine.
  • Central monitoring, and research will be undertaken evaluate impact

To view World Rugby’s announcement on Game On Global Community Law Variations, visit here.