Law 1 - Ground

Mon, 22 Jan 2007 00:00
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Law One of rugby union deals with basic things... like the ground we play on.

DEFINITIONS The Ground includes:

The Field-of-play is the area between the goal-lines and the touch-lines. These lines are not part of the field-of-play.

The Playing Area is the field-of-play and the in-goal areas. The touch-lines, touch-in-goal lines and dead-ball lines are not part of the playing area.

The Playing Enclosure is the playing area and a space around it, not less than 5 metres where practicable, which is known as the perimeter area.

In-goal is the area between the goal-line and the dead-ball line, and between the touch-in-goal lines. It includes the goal-line but it does not include the dead-ball line or the touch-in-goal lines.

‘The 22’ is the area between the goal-line and the 22-metre line, including the 22-metre line but excluding the goal-line.


1.1 (a) Requirement. The surface must at all times be safe to play on.

1.1 (b) Type of surface. The surface should be grass but may also be sand, clay, snow or artificial grass. The game may be played on snow, provided the snow and underlying surface is safe to play on. It shall not be a permanently hard surface such as concrete or asphalt. In the case of artificial grass surfaces, they must conform to IRB Regulation 22.


(a) Dimensions. The field-of-play does not exceed 100 metres in length and 70 metres in width. Each in-goal does not exceed 22 metres in length and 70 metres in width.

(b) The length and breadth of the playing area are to be as near as possible to the dimensions indicated. All the areas are rectangular.

(c) The distance from the goal-line to the dead-ball line be not less than 10 metres where practicable.


(a) Solid lines

The dead ball lines and touch-in-goal lines, both of which are outside the in-goal areas;

The goal-lines, which are within the In-goal areas but outside the field-of-play;

The 22-metre lines; which are parallel to the goal-lines

The half-way line which is parallel to the goal-lines; and

The touch-lines which are outside the field-of-play.

(b) Broken Lines

The 10-metre lines, which run from one touch-line to the other, and 10 metres from each side of the half-way line and parallel to it; and

The 5-metre lines, which run from one 5-metre dash line to the other, are 5 metres from and parallel to the touch-lines.

The 15-metre lines, which link the 5-metre dash lines, are 15 metres from and parallel to the touch-lines.

(c) Dash Lines

(i) Six lines, each 1 metre long, 5 metres in from and parallel to each goal-line, positioned 5 metres and 15 metres from each touch-line and in front of each goal post.

(ii) Five dash lines, each being 1 metre long, 15 metres in from and parallel to each of the touch-lines, intersecting the 22-metre lines, the 10-metre lines and the half-way line.

(iii) Two dash lines each 1 metre long, 15 metres from each of the touch-lines, which start and end at the 5-metre dash line.

(iv) One dash line of half a metre long intersects the centre of the half-way line.

All the lines must be suitably marked out according to the plan.


(a) The distance between the two goal posts is 5.6 metres.

(b) The crossbar is placed between the two goal posts so that its top edge is 3.0 metres from the ground.

(c) The minimum height of the goal posts is 3.4 metres.

(d) New When padding is attached to the goal posts the distance from the goal – line to the external edge of the padding must not exceed 300mm.


(a) There are 14 flag posts with flags, each with a minimum height of 1.2 metres above the ground.

(b) Flag posts must be positioned at the intersection of touch-in-goal lines and the goal-lines and at the intersection of the touch-in-goal lines and the dead ball lines. These eight flag posts are outside the in-goal area and do not form part of the playing area.

(c) Flag posts must be positioned in line with the 22-metre lines and the half-way line, 2 metres outside the touch-lines and within the playing enclosure.


(a) If either team has objections about the ground or the way it is marked out they must tell the referee before the match starts.

(b) The referee will attempt to resolve the issues but must not start a match if any part of the ground is considered to be dangerous.