Risk & Safety


Securing a safe area for training sessions and matches is important. Programs should make every effort to use adequately sodded or turf surfaces to prevent injuries. Fields must be void of hazards such as broken glass, protruding rocks, sprinkler heads and holes. When examining playing surfaces, size, availability, access for emergency vehicles, available parking, lights, and usage requirements should also be considered.

As a member of USA Rugby, all clubs have access to liability insurance which provides protection in case of property damage or bodily injury to third parties. These parties may include the venue owner, coaches, referees, sponsors, spectators and others. Most venue owners will require this type of insurance before a club is allowed to step on the field of play.

Severe Weather

Use common sense when it comes to severe weather! Early communication is critical, the home team should be in regular contact with the visiting team, the assigned referee, and the TRU Admin to confirm match changes, cancellations and or reschedules.

If there is any concerns, questions or disagreement between the parties (home, away & referee) regarding the playing of the match please contact the TRU Admin, or TRU President directly for final resolution.

‘Match Played’ & Weather Cancellation Policies

All senior club matches sanctioned by the USA Rugby National Club Competitions Committee shall adhere to the following weather cancellation policy.

Match Played

Matches must be played for at least 60 minutes to stand, and any match played for less than 80 minutes must be allowed by a League Commissioner or Match Commissioner per the ‘Incomplete Matches’ guidelines contained within this document.

Matches must contain at least 12 properly registered players on the field per team to constitute a match. In accordance with World Rugby Law 3, there must be 3 front-row eligible players at the start of the match required for contested scrums. If there are not 3 front-row eligible players, the match is considered a forfeit.

Rosters must be exchanged before kickoff. Rosters as of kickoff are locked. No non-rostered player may be added to the team roster after kickoff. Rostered players arriving after kick off may only enter the field with the permission of the match official. Players arriving after kickoff must remain present after the match to allow the opposing team the opportunity to perform an ID check.

Incomplete Matches

If a match cannot be completed due to severe weather, the following guidelines shall be adhered to:

  1. 1. Matches played for less than 40 minutes. If a match is not played for at least 40 minutes in a single day, the match result shall not stand and any/all future re-matches shall start from the first minute.Example: A match with a score of 12-7 that is stopped in the 30th minute on a Saturday may not be resumed on Sunday. The match starts over on Sunday in the 1st minute with a score of 0-0.
  2. Matches played for between 40 and 60 minutes. If a match is played for at least 40 minutes, but not played for at least 60 minutes, the match may be suspended and re-started at the time it was stopped at a future date.Example: A match with a score of 17-12 that is stopped in the 48th minute on a Saturday may be resumed on Sunday in the 48th minute with a score of 17-12.
  3. Matches played for between 60 and 80 minutes. If a match is played for at least 60 minutes and cannot be resumed the same day, the match result stands.Example: A match with a score of 24-19 that is stopped in the 63rd minute on a Saturday stands as played and will not be resumed on Sunday.

Multi-Match Weekends

In the event that multiple matches are scheduled in the same weekend and matches from the first day that determine the second day’s schedule cannot be completed to at least 60 minutes on the first day, the first day matches shall be resumed or restarted on the second day. Matches scheduled for the second day may then either be played on the second day or made up on the next available weekend. It is heavily advised that teams not play two full matches on the same day.

If teams scheduled to face each other on the second day of a multi-match weekend end differently (example: one completed to 80 minutes; one stopped at 47 minutes), it is advised the first matches are completed and the scheduled second day matches be made up on the next available weekend. It is heavily advised teams not play second-day matches with different rest, and that playoff events endeavor to schedule teams that may face each other at the same kickoff time if severe weather is possible. It is also heavily advised that teams not play two full matches on the same day.

Role of the Match Commissioner / League Commissioner

It is the Match Commissioner’s role to determine if matches can be resumed under severe weather and/or how to manage the scheduling of second day matches in multi-match weekends. If a Match Commissioner is not assigned to a match or event, the League Commissioner shall have the Match Commissioner’s authority to make a determination.

In the absence of a League Commissioner, the Competitive Region representative for the affected competition shall assume the role/authority of the League Commissioner. In the absence of a Competitive Region representative for the affected competition, the Competitive Region Chair shall assume the role/authority of the League Commissioner.

For Competitive Region playoff events, if a Match Commissioner is not assigned to a match or event, the Competitive Region Chair shall assume the role/authority of the Match Commissioner.

Safety Guidelines

Field Requirements

*Does not apply to beach or social events with modified rules

  1. At least 4 meters of space, that is clear and free from any obstacles such as fencing, stadium walls, concrete surfaces, or anything that would be dangerous for a player to run into or onto, is required to surround the en1re playing area.
    2. Field must comply with World Rugby Law 1 – The Ground.
    3. Field must use proper technical zone set up and management
    4. All goal posts in the field of play must be padded. All field flags must be break away.
    5. Playing surface should be grass or World Rugby Regulation 22 Certified
    6. Fields are required to be free of debris such as glass, protrusions, divots, etc.

Medical & Safety

  1. Tournaments and events must have the appropriate medical coverage for anticipated tournament size, level of play and participant numbers. Appropriate medical coverage includes, but is not limited to, a medical professional such as a doctor, paramedic or certified athletic trainer (ATC), a medical area with emergency supplies and ice, and access to an ambulance and hospital (as outlined in the Emergency Ac1on Plan). USA Rugby recommends an on-site ambulance for any event hosting six or more teams. See Appendix A for full medical guidelines.
    2. All events must include an Emergency Acton Plan. See Appendix B for sample plan.
    4. We recommend reviewing all World Rugby Player Welfare policies. Please refer to the section “Guidelines” for more information on how to handle specific injuries.


  1. Sale of alcohol at sanctioned events is not covered by USA Rugby insurance and liquor liability coverage shall be obtained elsewhere prior to receiving sanction approval. Event Organizer shall notify USA Rugby if alcohol shall be sold or distributed at the Event and shall be solely responsible for compliance with any and all applicable laws and shall be solely responsible for obtaining any liquor licenses and/or permits. Alcohol sales are prohibited at any youth and high school events.

Team Requirements

  1. Participating teams agree to follow the World Rugby Code of Conduct (see Appendix D). It is the coach’s responsibility to ensure that his/her coaches, managers, staff and players have read and understand their obligations under the code.
    3. No unregistered player, coach, referee or volunteer may be permitted to play or participate at any level.

Lightening Policy

The TRU adheres to the USA Rugby Lightning Policy. Note that Venue specific policies may override these recommendations.

In an attempt to educate the public about dangers relating to sever weather the National Weather Service has established a multi-level awareness plan.

Level 1 – If you are planning outdoors activities, obtain the weather forecast beforehand. Know your local weather patterns.

Level 2 – If you are planning to be outdoors, identify and stay within traveling range of a proper shelter. Employ the “30-30 Rule” to know when to seek a safer location. The “30-30 Rule” states that when you see lightning, count the time until you hear thunder. If the time is 30 seconds or less, go immediately to a safer place. If you can’t see the lightning, just hearing the thunder means lightning is likely within striking range. After the storm has apparently dissipated or moved on, wait 30 minutes or more after hearing the last thunder before leaving the safer location.

Level 3 – When lightning strikes, go to a safer location. Do not hesitate. The safest place commonly available during a lightning storm is a large, fully enclosed substantially constructed building. Substantial construction also implies the building has wiring and plumbing, which can conduct lightning current safely to ground.

Once inside, stay away from corded telephones, electrical appliances, lighting fixture, microphones, electric sockets and plumbing. Inner rooms are generally preferable from a safety viewpoint.

If you can’t reach a substantial building, an enclosed vehicle with a solid metal roof and metal sides is a reasonable second choice. Close the windows, lean away from the door, put your hands in your lap and don’t touch the steering wheel, ignition, gear shifter or radio. Convertibles, cars with fiberglass or plastic shells, and open framed vehicles are not suitable lightning shelters.

Level 4 – If you cannot flee to a safer location, take action to minimize the threat of being stuck. Proceed from higher to lower elevations. Avoid wide-open areas, including sports fields. Avoid tall, isolated objects like trees, poles, and light posts. Do not consider unprotected open structures such as picnic pavilions, rain shelters and bus stops. Avoid contact with metal fences, metal bleachers, or other metal structures.

Level 5 – If circumstances or a series of bad decisions have found you outside of a shelter, far removed from a safer place when lightning is occurring, there are s1ll measures to be taken. Put your feet together, squat down, tuck your head, and cover your ears. When the immediate threat of lightning has passed, continue heading to the safest place possible.

Level 6 – If the worst happens, there are key Lightning First Aid guidelines. First, if at all possible, call “9-1-1” immediately. Since all deaths from lightning strikes result from cardiac arrest and/or stopped breathing, begin treatment as soon as possible. CPR or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is the recommended first aid, respectively.

The threat of injury due to a lightning strike is very prevalent. We unfortunately cannot control the weather, however can decrease the possibility of injury through education and proper precautions. By understanding and utilizing the five levels identified in the National Weather Service plan we can be assured that our teams are safe at all USA Rugby events.

Lightning Safety Education Resources:

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