Primary school Rugby Recently caught up with Mr. William Travill from Handhaaf U13 Rugby and asked him to shed some light on the off-side rule at ruck and mall time.

Most offside decisions in rugby union happen at rucks and mauls, especially when the ball is being recycled a lot.

Like the scrum, an imaginary line is drawn through the hindmost foot/part of the last player of your own team in the ruck or maul.

Players must either join the ruck or maul or retreat behind the offside line.

A player is offside if they:

  • Join from their opponent’s side
  • Join play from in front of the last man
  • Do not join either the ruck or maul, but fail to get behind the offside line
  • Leave the ruck or maul, but do not get behind the offside line


I advise my players to retreat at least half a meter behind the offside line to give assurance of onside play most of the time. This can be done by various agility drills and drills that concentrate on the imaginary line. During tag/or open play sessions coaches should also concentrate on the onside aspect during ruck time.

Make sure your players know their rules and when they are able to defend from legal position.

Source: William Travill