"Size for Age" Guidelines - Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the details on the ‘Size for Age’ Guidelines?

The revised Age Grade Dispensation Procedure and the ‘Size for Age’ Guidelines can be found in the Rugby Australia Policy Register. Further information on the procedure will be available from your Competition Manager.

What are the size ranges that will be affected?

Information in relation to the applicable size ranges is contained in the ‘Size for Age’ Guidelines and is based on the findings from the ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ final report by the Australian Catholic University. The guidelines use data from the Clinical Growth Charts for boys and girls and are designed to identify situations where a player’s physical development is either significantly or below the average of a child’s age group peers. Players that are not significantly above or below the average height and weight for the relevant age group will not be required to undergo an assessment.

As a parent, how will I know whether my son or daughter requires an assessment under the Age Grade Dispensation Procedure?

If you have already registered for the season and height and weight data has been provided as part of your child’s registration process, your Competition Manager will contact your Club/School informing the players and their Parents/Guardians that an assessment is required. A Parent/Guardian can also request that an assessment takes place. An Independent Qualified Assessing Coach may also suggest that an assessment be undertaken, based on watching a player in training or in matches. A Club or School can also request that a player be assessed and the Competition Manager also has the discretion to initiate an assessment under the procedure. Prior to an assessment, Parents / Guardians will be provided the Age Grade Dispensation Consent Form to complete. If a player is outside the guidelines and a player’s Parent / Guardian do not consent to an assessment by an Independent Qualified Assessing Coach, then the player may not participate until such time as consent is given such that it can be determined in which grade the player can safely participate.

When will the assessments begin?

Player assessments undertaken by Independent Qualified Assessing Coaches will begin from the start of March 2018, under the direction of your Competition Manager. Please contact your Competition Manager for further information.

Will all age groups be assessed this season?

The revised guidelines come into effect on 1 March 2018 and require a mandatory assessment by an Independent Qualified Assessing Coach for child participants who are above or below height and weight parameters for the age groups from Under 10 to Under 15 years. Additionally, players that fall outside the parameters set out in the guidelines but are within the age groups Under 8 and Under 9 OR Under 16 to Under 18, may be considered for an assessment but this is not mandatory.

Who will assess my child, what does it involve and how will they be trained?

Independent Qualified Assessing Coaches have been identified from current Level 2 Accredited Coaches on a competition-by-competition basis. These Coaches have undertaken a specific education module in the Rugby Learning Centre. Rugby Australia is supplying these Coaches with the necessary equipment to properly undertake the assessments. The relevant Member Union Coach Development Manager will liaise with the Competition Manager regarding the most current list of Independent Qualified Assessing Coaches.

Will any player be required to move age grades?

Rugby Australia do not expect that every player falling outside the ‘Size for Age’ guidelines will be recommended to move age grades after the other multiple factors are considered by the Independent Qualified Assessing Coach. However, where a player has been assessed under the ‘Size for Age’ guidelines and the Independent Qualified Assessing Coach recommends a specific age grade, there would need to be a compelling justification for the Competition Manager not to follow this recommendation.

Will I have the right to a review of an Age Grade Dispensation decision?

Yes. In line with the procedure, players and their Parents/Guardians will have the right to a subsequent review by another Independent Qualified Assessing Coach if required. Rugby Australia also has the discretion to review any decision made in accordance with the Age Grade Dispensation Procedure and to conduct any investigation into any matter as it deems appropriate.

What if there is no team at a Club/School for a player to play for in the proposed Age Grade?

The Independent Qualified Assessing Coach, Competition Manager and Club or School will work with each individual player on a case-by-case basis to ensure that there is an appropriate age grade team for the player to play in, given the specific circumstances of that player.

Should a situation arise where a player is considered to present a significant risk to themselves or others if they played in the age grades available to them then player safety must be the determining factor. This may mean in a small number of cases, due to the limited age-grade teams available at the Club or School, that the player may not be able to participate until it is safe for them to do so.

Does the regrading affect the age group a player is eligible for regarding representative rugby?

Age Grade Dispensation is undertaken with reference to the individual player and the competition in which they intend to participate in. If representative Rugby is of a substantially different nature in terms of the physical development, skill and experience of players to the regular competition, a subsequent assessment may be required.