Over 35's Rules

The spirit of “Golden Oldies” is epitomised in the motto of “Fun, Friendship, Fraternity”.

This international motto is the central theme of every Golden Oldies game.

All players must be correctly attired for Golden Oldies Rugby at all times including footwear (low profile studs or grass sport shoes) and mouthguard.

These rules do not permit offside play, over-vigorous play, unsportsmanlike behaviour and have been designed to increase the enjoyment of the game while minimising the chances of injury.

The normal laws of rugby as per the International Rugby Board (IRB) shall apply with the following law variations (unless varied by mutual agreement between teams and officials):

  • Players must be 35 years of age or older.
  • The game shall be 3 x 20 minute periods or as determined by mutual agreement.
  • All 8 forwards must remain bound in the scrum until the ball has been cleared.
  • The half back must not follow the ball around the scrum.
  • There must be NO pressure scrummaging.
  • There shall be NO striking against the head by the hookers.
  • From a penalty there shall be no quick tap & all players shall retire 10 metres.
  • Players may kick the ball only in their own 22.
  • In line-outs all 8 forwards must take part.
  • Teams scoring a try shall restart the game by kicking the ball to the non-scoring team.
  • Substitution of any player is permitted at any time and a player substituted may return to the game at any time.
  • Players must observe the offside rule, particularly that of remaining behind the hindmost foot at rucks and mauls, 5M at scrums and a minimum of 10 metres at line-outs.

Coloured Shorts

All players are to observe the restrictions on tackling “older” players. These are identified by coloured shorts:

  • Up to 59 years: Club shorts
  • 60-64 years: Red shorts** – can be claimed but not to be tackled
  • 65-69 years: Gold shorts – not to be tackled
  • 70-84 years: Purple shorts – not to be tackled
  • 85+ years: Special shorts (will be provided by the club) – not to be tackled
    ** or any player, who through medical or physical conditions, does not want to be tackled.


“Claiming” (wrap-around) can best be described using this example:

The player with the ball (a wearer of red shorts) cannot be tackled but can be claimed or held by wrapping ones arms around his body (Diagram 1) to prevent further forward movement, but they must not be thrown to the ground and they must be able to free the ball to play it. In other words you can hold them (or ‘hug’ them gently) but do not tackle them.

The defender can stand in front of the player with the ball (the red shorts player) with outstretched arms to prevent further forward movement, again allowing the player to play the ball.