Player Eligibility

Are you confused how player eligibility works? You're not alone. When my son had barely turned 16 and I was told he would move up to a U18 team just two months later, I was perplexed how player eligibility in sports works. Turns out, it’s not as complicated as it seems but it is not completely straightforward either. Thankfully, there are formulas and charts to help figure it out. 

To be eligible to play club rugby in Canada, dues are required to be paid to both your provincial governing body as well as Rugby Canada. The fees mainly cover insurance that provides liability and catastrophic accident protection for activities directly related to playing rugby. These fees cover a playing season of September to the following August. However, the age-grade team that an athlete plays on is determined by their age during a calendar year of January to December. 

Senior Men's rugby game - James Bay Athletic Association (the Bays) versus the Nanaimo Hornets.

Although rugby registrations are increasing every year, there are many clubs with too few numbers to field a team with every age grade. For this reason, rugby teams usually cover a 2-year range with the under 12 ages categorized as “minors” or sometimes abbreviated to “minis”. No doubt as interest continues to grow and registrations increase, one day there will be sufficient players to field teams for every single age, both boys and girls, similar to soccer. Most common for rugby clubs right now is to have teams in the categories of minis, U14, U16, U18, senior men’s and senior women’s. Based on my son’s age, he would play U17 but because our region doesn’t field any U17 teams, he plays U18 – which explains the jump up in play. 

Player Eligibility Formulas

  1. A player who has their Xth birthday in 2018 is considered Under X in the 2017-18 season. Example: A U16 player will turn 16 years of age during the 2018 calendar year.
  2. A player who is X-1 years old on December 31, 2017 is considered to be Under X for the 2017-18 season. Example: A player who is 15 years old on December 31, 2017 is considered to be U16 in the 2017-18 season (as per the first example, this player turns 16 in 2018). 

After determining what age grade you are eligible to play in, the next thing to do is find a club that offers rugby play for your age and gender. For residents of British Columbia, you can check out our club finder directory here. Stay tuned as the directory is built out for more provinces. Until then, please visit your provincial governing body for assistance in locating a local rugby club. 

Go to Home from Player Eligibility