Welcome to Rippa Rugby

Rippa Rugby is a great introduction to rugby for boys and girls under the age of 6.  It familiarises players with the concepts of offence, defence, passing, running, sidelines and trylines.  Here's some information to get you started on your rugby journey with Rippa.

Who Can Play?

Rippa Rugby is for boys and girls aged 5 - 7 with Girls-Only Rippa going right through to Under 13 level.

What happens when they are too old/big for Rippa Rugby?

Boys and Girls move into tackle Rugby.  Girls also have the option of playing Girls-Only Rippa if they prefer not to play tackle.

Wait - the Girls play with the Boys in Rippa?

Yes, in fact many of the girls playing Rippa are faster and pick the game up quicker than the boys at this age!

How young is too young?

Players must be turning 5 years old by the 30th of June 2017 to play Rippa Rugby.  The general rule of thumb is that children also need to be able to follow reasonably complex instructions before they should be let loose on the rugby field.  This is in the best interest of their own enjoyment and their coach's sanity!

How many players play?

There are generally 7 players on the field with 2 - 5 reserves depending on team size.

How do subs work?

Rippa runs a rolling substitution rule.  All children are expected to have at least half a game of playing time.

Are the children out there by themselves?  It must be chaos!

No they aren't and yes it is!  One coach from each team run with the children and try to organise an co-ordinate play.  It's hard work in the early days, but the players generally get it figured out by half-way through their first season.

Is there any contact?

Rippa is a non-contact form of rugby similar to Touch, but with players pulling a rip instead of just touching the player.  Mouthguards are mandatory.  Fending and jersey grabbing is illegal in Rippa.

Do I need any special gear?

All players need to play in rugby/football boots. They also need to wear a mouthguard - no mouthguard no play.  A mouthguard is provided at registration.  Club shorts and socks are provided for you to keep as part of your registration fee and jerseys are provided on game days.

Can I go straight to Tackle?

Once a player is 6 years old as at 1 January of that year they can start playing Tackle in J6.  Players don't need to start in Rippa rugby, but they can't play tackle in the North Harbour Unior until they are 6.

Why play Rippa if there's no tackling?

The goal of Rippa is to teach excellent ball-handling and running skills in a game with simple rules.  It allows for players to develop fundamental skills and learn the basic concepts of Rugby.  It's a great way to start your child's love affair with Rugby before they get to start hitting tackle bags at age 6+!

How is Rippa played?

Rippa is played on a 1/2 field (50m to goal line) with the sidelines acting as try-lines.  

Players wear a velcro belt with a tags (the "Rips") on each hip.

The play is a hybrid of Rugby and Touch Rugby/League with the attacking team having 6 rips to score a try.

Once ripped the attacking player needs to pass to a team-mate to keep play going.

If the defending team get 6 rips the ball is handed over. If the attacking team score the defending team "kick off" with a pass from half-way.  If the attacking team run out of bounds or knock the ball on it's a turnover.
For the full rules of Rippa Rugby check out the North Harbour rules here

Do I need to stop when I've been ripped?

The goal of Rippa is to get the children playing fast - which means they should be looking to pass as soon as they are ripped, within 3 strides of the rip being pulled.  This is harder than it sounds, and J8 games tend to be stop start affairs for the first few weeks as the children get this figured out.

What about offsides?

Just like in rugby there are offsides.  It's the attacking team's responsibility to make space to attack with the offside line being the place of the rip.  Unlike League and Touch there is no need for the defending team to retreat behind the point of the rip.

How strict are the rules?

We want the children to learn the rules of the game quickly and the only way to do this is to enforce the rules.  This is a short term pain/long term gain trade-off with players working our what they can and can't do pretty quickly!