County League Rules

County League Rules can be downloaded from this page.


Northumberland Rugby Union County Leagues Rules

1.       The Northumberland Rugby Union Leagues shall comprise structured competitions involving eligible sides in membership of Northumberland Rugby Union and such other invited sides as may have obtained approval from their constituent body and been accepted by the Northumberland Rugby Football Union Competitions Committee.

2.       The County Leagues hereinafter called the leagues will be managed by the Northumberland Competitions Committee hereinafter called the committee.

3.       The committee shall have full executive control over the leagues and shall conduct the business connected therewith. The committee shall also have the following powers:

i.         To accept or refuse entries to the leagues and to remove a team from a league;

ii.        To accept the resignation of any side from the league;

iii.       To appoint a sub‑committee to deal with emergency matters and league disciplinary matters;

iv.       To accept sponsorship for the leagues and to name the respective leagues as appropriate;

v.        To co‑opt any person to the committee or sub‑committee thereof for any period or particular purpose. Persons so co‑opted shall not have voting rights;

4.       Club Communication

An annual meeting of the clubs participating in the leagues shall be held at the end of the playing season and take the form of a presentations night.  It has become tradition to present league winners with their trophies on this occasion and representatives from winning teams are invited to attend.

Depending on circumstances, a club meeting or questionnaire will provide clubs with the opportunity to feedback on the organisation and any issues with the leagues.

5.       Alteration of Rules

The Committee shall have the power to alter or add to the County League Rules subject to ratification by the County Committee.

All questions on qualification of competitors and interpretation of rules shall be referred to the Competitions Committee.

Any matters needed to be addressed urgently may be dealt with by a sub-committee of the Competitions Committee consisting of at least three members appointed by the Chairman or his deputy in his absence.

6.       Rules of the Competitions

6.1      The Competition shall be played on a home and away basis. Points will be awarded in accordance with a schedule approved from time to time by the Committee.

           6.2      League Structure and Eligibility

The leagues structure will be based on club junior sides.  Eligibility for entry will initially be determined by the Committee and thereafter by placing in the league table at the end of the season. The team winning each league will be awarded a trophy and other prizes as determined by the committee. Promotion and relegation will take place between the leagues to be decided from time to time by the committee on the basis of league position and performance.

           6.3      Registration of Clubs

Clubs shall register in writing their intention to play in the leagues by the end of March prior to the new season.

           6.4      Eligibility of Players

Eligibility shall be confined to bona fide paid up members of the clubs concerned. The player must be "regularly available" for the team and normally play at the teams' level.

           6.5      Referees and Touch Judges

Games shall be refereed by neutral referees appointed by Referee Societies. Each club shall provide a touch judge for every game except where touch judges are appointed by the Referee Societies.

           6.6      Playing, Re‑arranging and Cancellation of Games

           6.6.1  Playing

All games will be played in accordance with the Laws of the Rugby Football Union. Games can be played on any day of the week.  If during the game, the referee is unable to continue and the game has not reached 60 minutes of playing time and no suitable replacement found, the game shall be replayed.

           6.6.2   Front Row Shortages

In the case of one side being short of front row players before the game, then the match should be allowed to be played wholly with uncontested scrums. However, to prevent teams abusing this dispensation, the team lacking one or more props may not qualify for any more than a total of 2 league points from the game. 

           6.6.3   Match Cancellations

Where the first scheduled game between two teams is cancelled for any reason other than adverse weather, a cup match or an unfit pitch, the league points will be awarded to the non‑offending club unless the Competitions Committee rules otherwise.

If the cancellation was by the visiting team then the return fixture will be played at the ground of the non‑offending club.

When a game is cancelled for reasons of adverse weather, cup competition or an unfit pitch, the committee encourages clubs to rearrange the game. If this is not possible, any second fixture between the sides may be played for double league points if the clubs agree.  The leagues administrator must be informed as soon as possible of this decision, and before the game takes place, otherwise the fixture will be scored as for one game, not two.

           6.6.4   Shortage of players

It is within the ethos of the leagues that matches should be played even if sides are short of a full complement of players and that the exchange/loan of players to allow a match to take place is far more preferable than a cancellation.

6.7      Scoring and Bonus Points

The scoring system shall be in accordance with the schedule which may be revised by the committee from time to time.

6.8      Double Header Games

From time to time, with weather or cup cancellations, the committee will make a decision on clubs playing a "double header".

6.8.1   Once the committee has agreed the double header, the agreement 

between fixture secretaries and the committee is final.

6.8.2   Double headers offer the doubling of all points (including bonus points).

6.8.3   Should the double header game be cancelled, the non-offending side on the day of the fixture will be awarded full points. 

7.0          Replacements

In all leagues – a mutually agreed number (rolling subs allowed).

           8.0      Failure to Fulfill Fixtures

The committee may seek to remove a team from the league if there is a persistent problem. In the event of a team being removed from the league, all points relating to games with that team will be deleted.

           9.0      Condition of Ground

In the event of the ground being rendered unfit by weather, the home side shall notify the visiting side at the earliest reasonable time and arrangements made to play the game at an alternative venue or time. Should the teams arrive at the ground and the two captains fail to agree the fitness of the ground, the referee shall decide the fitness or otherwise. 

           10.0    Complaints, disputes and reviews

All complaints, dispute, grievances and requests for reviews concerning the playing or non‑playing of fixtures and the playing of ineligible players must be notified to the administrator within 48 hours of the game taking place (or not).  A formal request for an investigation into allegations must be submitted within 7 days.

Once investigations have taken place, administrator will present the facts to the Competitions Committee via the County office to the Chairman. All complaints, disputes and review matters that are referred shall to be heard by a sub-committee of three with a Chairman appointed from the Competitions Committee.

           11.0    Right of Appeal

If a club does not agree a decision, they may exercise their right to appeal the decision, in writing (or electronically) to the NRU Hon Secretary, setting out the grounds for the appeal, within 7 days (48 hours for Cup matches) of the decision being announced. 

The NRU Hon Secretary shall inform the Chair of Governance who will set up an Appeal Committee of three members to hear the appeal. If the appeal is oral, a representative of the Competitions Committee should attend as a witness.

The results of any appeal can be given orally but should be produced in writing setting out the reasons for the decision.

           No rules or regulations can prevent an appeal to the RFU.

12.0    Administration

Match results shall be phoned or e‑mailed ( to the leagues administrator by both sides before noon on the Monday following the game or noon the next day if it is played other than a Saturday or Sunday.  The committee reserves the right to penalise persistent offenders for late submission of results.

It should also be noted that if clubs wish to claim points for a match, they need to submit their requests within two weeks of the date of the cancelled match.  This ensures fairness for all.


County Leagues Scoring System




4 points




2 points




1 point


Bonus Point – tries


1 point for every try up to a maximum of five

Bonus Point – losing by 10 points or less


1 point


Notes for Participating Teams

Teams are encouraged to play even if they only have ten players as a game of rugby can still be played.  When teams play short, please ensure you play with equal numbers ie 11 v 11, 12 v 12, 13 v 13 etc.  The opposition are encouraged to lend players to the team that is playing short. As teams are not playing with a full complement, if both sides agree, you can reduce the time played to two halves of 30 minutes. (Please use common sense and adapt the game to the number of players you have.)