Monday, 4 January 2016

Rugby Substitutes

Hello Ask the ref, 
I am taking up rugby for the first time and have never played before. What is substitution in rugby and is it a bad position to play for a player as they most likely won't be playing the match would they? I don't want to end up in the substitution position and if I do will I be ended up here forever or will I earn a position in the game? Because when I get good enough at rugby I would love to play.

Hi Eddy

This would be more a question for a coach than a referee?

Generally speaking a substitute will come onto the pitch to replace a player who has been replaced tactically (for someone with other skills or fresher legs), or to replace a player who has been injured.

Depending on the level of the game there could be anywhere from 0 to 8 substitutes.  In some lower level games there are what we call rolling substitutions, which means players can be replaced more than once.  In mid level games there can be a maximum number of changes, but players can still be replaced more than once.

These local regulations are all designed to make sure everyone gets a game of rugby and are specifically designed to take away the need for a substitute to "warm the bench" all game long.  If a player is made to sit out the whole game over and again, he may leave and not come back, so a prudent coach will give all his players time in the game, to make it enjoyable for all.

If you are new to the game I would expect you to start off as a substitute, but if you do well in training you should quickly get some game time.  The better you do, the more game time you will get, but I would hope that you get to play whatever your skill levels as rugby is a game for all shapes and sizes; and all skills.

Enjoy your rugby Eddy and good luck.

The Rugby Ref

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