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U17 Pathway Male

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Welcome to the U17s WRU Pathway Laws page.

Please be advised that the laws on this page are WRU Pathway Laws which are variations of some of the World Rugby Laws. If a Law is not outlined on this page please refer to the full World Rugby Laws HERE.

Please note that Pathway Laws do change so please check back regularly.


Age: Under 17 as on the first of September at the start of the season. A player may only play up one year.

Ball Size: Size five.

Coach Qualification: WRU UKCC Level one and two (Click HERE to book on to a course).

Pitch: Full pitch 

Periods of Play:

Two halves each of up to 35 minutes playing time – no extra time.


In an eight person scrum the formation must be 3-4-1, with the single player (normally the Number eight) shoving on the two locks. The locks must pack with their heads on either side of the hooker.

Exception: A team must have fewer than eight players in its scrum when either the team cannot field a complete team, or a player is sent off for Foul Play, or a player leaves the field because of injury. Even allowing for this exception, each team must always have at least five players in a scrum.

If a team is incomplete, the scrum formation must be as follows:

  • If a team is without one player, then both teams must use a 3-4 formation (i.e. no No.eight).
  • If a team is without two players, then both teams must use a 3-2-1 formation (i.e. no flankers).
  • If a team is without three players, then both teams must use a 3-2 formation (i.e. only front rows and locks).
  • When a normal scrum takes place, the players in the three front row positions and the two lock positions must have been suitably trained for these positions.

If a team cannot field such suitably trained players because:

  • Either they are not available, or a player in one of those five positions is injured or has been sent off for Foul Play and no suitably trained replacement is available, then the referee must order uncontested scrums.
  • All games can start with non contested scrums and the teams can maintain their full compliment of substitutes
  • In an uncontested scrum, the teams do not compete for the ball. The team putting in the ball must win it. Neither team is allowed to push the other team away from the mark

Front rows coming together: 

Each prop touches the opponent’s upper arm and then pauses before the front rows meet. The sequence should be: crouch, bind, set.

Scrum Laws:

  • No wheeling. A team must not intentionally wheel a scrum. Penalty: free kick
  • If a wheel reaches 45 degrees, the referee must stop play. If the wheel is unintentional, the referee orders another scrum at the place where the scrum is stopped
  • WRU ruling, the ball is put in by the team that previously put it in
  • Maximum 1.5 metres push. A team in the scrum must not push the scrum more than 1.5 metres towards their opponents’ goal line. Penalty: free kick
  • Ball must be released from scrum. A player must not intentionally keep the ball in the scrum once the player’s team has healed the ball and controls it at the base of the scrum. Penalty: free kick
  • All scrums must follow the World Rugby process of crouch, bind and set
  • Both hookers may strike for the ball
  • Both scrummages must be 3-4-1 formation
  • The number eight can pick up the ball from the scrum
  • A scrum will only be awarded for a knock on
  • No pre-engagement/axial loading – hookers must have a “brake” foot on bind to help stability (Sanction: FK)
  • When there is an offence where a scrum is normally awarded (e.g. forward pass) a TAP and PASS is the mandatory action to restart. Teams must be given time to retire 10m A scrum cannot be chosen at any penalty or free kick
  • For a knock on over the goal line, a goal line drop out will be awarded


New World Rugby Law Variations are:


  • If the team in possession kicks the ball from inside their own half indirectly into touch inside their opponents’ 22, they will throw into the resultant lineout. The ball cannot be passed or carried back into the defensive half for the 50:22 to be played. The phase must originate inside the defensive half.
  • The basic idea here is to ensure defending teams drop more players into the backfield to guard against potentially conceding line-outs inside their own 22. That would naturally mean fewer defenders in the frontline and more space for the attack. The trial law came about with safety in mind – if there are fewer defenders in the frontline, the defence’s line speed may be reduced and collisions might be less frequent and less impactful.

Goal Line Drop-Out:

  • If the ball is held up in in-goal, if there is a knock-on from an attacking player in in-goal or an attacking kick is grounded by the defenders in their own in-goal, then play restarts with a goal line drop-out anywhere along the goal line.

Flying Wedge:

  • The three or more player, pre-bound pod, or flying wedge, is now outlawed. The sanction will be a penalty kick.

1 Person Latch:

  • The one-player latch will still be permitted, but this player will now have the same responsibilities as a first arriving player (i.e. must stay on feet, enter through the gate and not fall to the floor). The sanction will be a penalty kick.


  • Any player who attempts a clean out which targets or drops weight onto the lower limbs of another player will now be penalised.