Competition Policies for 15s

Policies and Guidelines

Rosters and Match Reporting (Rugby Xplorer/CMS)
Points System
Day and Time of League Matches

Pre-Match Day Communications
Field Cancellation

Adverse Weather
Match Abandoned due to Weather Conditions

Tech Zone and Sideline Management

Front Row Players
Overtime Procedures for Playoff Matches (15s)
Protest and Appeals
D4 Men-specific Forfeitures
Promotion and Relegation

Rosters and Match Report (Rugby Xplorer/CMS)

Note: as of the 2022-2023 season, Rugby Xplorer (RX) is the USA Rugby Senior Club Competition Management System (CMS). The term RX will be used in this document to reference the current CMS.

Clubs are required to use the RX system to provide a roster for all league matches and provide a complete and accurate match report that includes player substitutions, red and yellow cards, and all points scored.

All clubs have the right to confirm player identification with an ID check before the match.

Rosters should be provided a day in advance of the match in RX but can be modified after the match. Teams must enter scores, rosters, and match details into RX no later than 11:59 PM on the Monday night after a weekend game. If the information is not provided, the offending side is subject to a possible Administrative Forfeit.

Match reporting must be accurate by the time a club signs a match report within the RX system. This includes the final score. Additionally, accuracy of the match report must be include all rostered players having stepped on the field. Someone may be roasted, but not recorded as an on-field replacement. That may be a concern for player eligibility later if not recorded correctly.

Players are not required to wear a jersey that matches their position, although it is highly encouraged. Corrections can be made to a roster before the match is signed and locked. Any issues with the players listed should be discussed between teams before the clubs sign the match and lock the match.

If a club is found to have inaccurately reported the roster within RX with players that did not play, the match will be forfeited by the offending team. A secondary offense may have the club banned from the Capital competition for a period of one year.

Note: USA Rugby’s Resources website has forms for tracking scores and substitutions.

Back to top


Effective: 2023-24 Competition Year in Capital (D2-D4 M, D2-D3 W) and MAC (M’s D1 and W’s D1). This applies to conference matches but does not include USAR regional playoffs (i.e., matches at the Atlantic Super Regional and the National Championships).

Current law 3.34 (2022-2023;
A match organiser may implement rolling tactical replacements at defined levels of the game within its jurisdiction. The number of interchanges must not exceed 12. The administration and rules relating to rolling replacements are the responsibility of the match organiser.

Tactical replacements will be implemented with the following general conditions:
a) Replacements include any time one player replaces another player from the same team including for injury, with the exceptions noted below.
b) Match Rosters are limited to a maximum of 23 players. This number is determined by both (a) the team’s available players and (b) the number and type of available front row players (Law 3.8). The match roster determines who may be interchanged.
c) The number of interchanges must not exceed twelve (12), except as noted below.
d) There is no limit on the number of times an individual player can be replaced, or re-enter a match, so long as the maximum number of interchanges has not been reached.
e) Despite the word “Rolling” in Law 3.34, per Law 3.6: Replacements are made only when the ball is dead and only with the permission of the referee.

Further details and exceptions are in the full document (PDF).

Back to top

Points System

4 points for winning a match
2 points for drawing a match
0 points for losing a match
1 losing bonus point for losing by 7 points (or less)
1 try bonus point for scoring (at least) 4 tries, regardless of the outcome.
-1 point for a match forfeit (may be adjudicated)

In the event of two or more teams being equal on competition points the following steps will be used in the following order until the tie is broken:

(a) Most wins from all matches;
(b) Highest aggregate points difference from all matches;
(c) Most tries from all matches;
(d) Highest aggregate difference of total tries for versus tries scored against from all matches;
(e) Coin toss.

Back to top


Beginning in 2022-2023, the club not at fault will be given a 49-0 win with credit for 7 trys and 7 conversions. As indicated above in the Points System, the offending side will have -1 bonus point assessed for the match, plus any other penalties that may ensue.

There are three different types of Forfeits recognized by Capital: Played Forfeits, Unplayed Forfeit, and Administrative

Played Forfeits occur when the match is played but a team agrees to forfeit. Played Forfeits are subject to consideration for the club’s relegation to a lower division, and to being barred from playoffs in the current competitive cycle. Any club that incurs two or more Played Forfeits may be relegated to the lower division.

Unplayed Forfeits occur when a match does not take place at all. The offending team may be subject to financial penalties of Capital, traveling to the opponent’s field twice in the following competition cycles, consideration for the club’s relegation to a lower division, and being barred from playoffs in the current competitive cycle. Any club that incurs two or more Played Forfeits may be relegated to the lower division.

Administrative Forfeits are imposed on a club due to a policy violation, either USAR registration or RX violations. Administrative Forfeits are subject to barring the team from playoffs.

Back to top

Day and Time of League Matches

League matches must kick off between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, unless a mutually agreeable change is made and reported to the appropriate referees association and to the Competitions Committee.

Back to top

Pre-Match Day Communication

The hosting club will initiate an email to all involved parties on Tuesday or Wednesday preceding the match and will include the field address and timetable. All parties are defined as all referees appointed and all match secretaries, although multiple club reps should be copied.

If multiple clubs are hosting at the same pitch as separate events, they are each responsible for their own communications.

Clubs hosting multiple matches at a single location for multi-sides should incorporate all match coordination into a single communication.

A referee society has the right to fine a hosting or visiting club for failure to communicate in a timely manner.

Go to top

Field Cancellation Policy

  1. Home Clubs are required to contact their Away opponents prior to their scheduled league matches in the event that there is a problem with the weekend’s scheduled site.
  2. If the original Home field was cancelled (for any reason), the Home team shall make any/all effort to secure a suitable field no further than 30 miles in additional travel distance from the original venue for the Away team.
  3. If the Home team cannot secure a field as stated above, the teams will negotiate for a make-up date during the Fall Season within the vicinity of the original Home team. If a decision cannot be reached by the two teams, the match will be rescheduled on the earliest available Make-up Date (as prescribed by the seasonal schedule).
  4. If the match cannot be scheduled, the Regional Committee will adjudicate the resulting complaint.

Back to top

Adverse Weather Policy

For Capital Rugby sanctioned events, the tournament/event director or the senior on-site referee is empowered to suspend play during adverse or predicted unfavorable weather conditions. The tournament/event director and the senior on-site referee will jointly decide whether to resume play; either individual has the authority to cancel the proceedings.

Back to top

Lightning Policy

As we all know, thunderstorms are likely to strike within the region at any time, but more during the summer, early fall and spring months. If a storm develops and is felt to be dangerously close, you have a duty to postpone your practice, match, or event for safety reasons until the storm has passed. A safe location to wait out the storm is any fully enclosed, substantial building (e.g., locker room, classroom, office building). If a fully enclosed building is not available, a fully enclosed vehicle with a metal roof and the windows completely closed is a reasonable substitute. Do not touch any part of the metal framework while inside the vehicle. Once it is felt that the storm has safely passed, the local event coordinator will inform everyone that that the teams can return to practice/event activities.

Here, again, are a few facts that we would like everyone to understand:

  1. The “flash to bang” count of 30 seconds is what we will be using to make a decision to discontinue activity. The NCAA uses this as a guideline for discontinuation of play. If any participant has seen a lightning flash and the ensuing thunderclap can be heard at a count of 30 seconds or less, a storm is dangerously close.
  2. Essentially, a 30 second flash-to-bang means that the storm is 6 miles away {the distance is determined by dividing 5 into the number of seconds, in this case 30). It neither has to be raining nor extremely cloudy for a lightning strike to occur in the area where you are standing.
  3. Even though a storm center passes miles to the right or left of where you are located, it does not mean that you and those with you are not in potential danger. Lightning has and does strike when a storm is seemingly not a threat. Lightning has been observed striking 10 miles from the storm center.
  4. Any practice/match/event that is delayed due to a thunderstorm may resume 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder is heard. This is considered to be a safe period of time for any storm to clear the area and no longer be a threat. The storm is equally threatening on the back end as it is on the front end or sides.

Thank you for your cooperation in making our practices, matches, and events a safe place for all of our participants.

Back to top

Match Abandoned due to Weather Conditions

Matches played for between 60 and 80 minutes. If a match is played for at least 60 minutes and cannot be resumed the same day, the match result stands.

Matches played for between 40 and less than 60 minutes. If a match is played for at least 40 minutes, but not played for at least 60 minutes, the match may be suspended and re-started at the time it was stopped at a future date.

Matches played for less than 40 minutes. If a match is not played for at least 40 minutes in a single day, the match result shall not stand, and any/all future re-matches shall start from the first minute.

The Referee’s decision will be final as to the match being abandoned due to weather conditions as well as the time of the abandonment.

Go to top


The following link is the current process to handle COVID-19 as it arises: We will note that this is a “living” document and will be added to as needed.

Back to top

Rescheduling Policy

Capital provides a league schedule to all clubs. By agreeing to be a part of a specific division, it is understood that a club will fulfill the obligation of playing the entire league schedule. If a match cannot be played within a season due to weather cancellations and/or an inability to reschedule the match within the league season, both clubs have the option of mutually agreeing to a 0-0 TIE score. This is not considered a forfeit.

A club can request that a match be rescheduled and the other club can agree to do so, and the match may be rescheduled. The updated information must be captured in RX and reported to the appropriate Capital coordinator and referee society immediately.

If a club requests a match to be rescheduled and the opponent does not agree, then a Capital coordinator will be called upon to mediate the rescheduling attempt. In this mediation, only valid reasons will be supported for rescheduling requests. Valid reasons are considered to be “Weather” and “Field Cancellations.” Non valid reasons are considered to be “Too many injuries,” or “not enough to field a full side.” Validity of reasons will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Once a match is rescheduled, weather may require that the match not be played; due to the lack of available weekends within the season schedule, it may not be possible for a third attempt to schedule the match. Therefore, a rescheduled match (with a valid reason) that is cancelled may be converted to a 0-0 TIE score. A rescheduled match (with no valid reason) will be forfeited by the team that initiated the request to reschedule the match.

Go to top

Tech Zone and Sideline Management

Technical Zone.

USA Rugby requires that all Senior Club Rugby Qualifying Matches must adhere to the Technical Zone field set up as detailed by USA Rugby’s Technical Zone Document. Capital extends this policy to describe local sanctions. If the home club fails to establish and adhere to the Technical Zones appropriately, the assigned referee has the right to abandon the match. Referees and Clubs may also report Technical Zones issues to the Capital coordinators. Clubs found to be out of compliance may be subject to a match forfeit.

Sideline Management.

In order to maximize safety and allow match officials to do their job unencumbered, the sideline must be kept clear. To that end, the following sideline policy has been established. This policy covers all league matches and playoff games.
The Capital Fifteens and Sevens Championship events will apply the use of USAR’s Technical Zone and Sideline Management Guidelines.

  1. A sideline barrier will be set. The barrier (e.g., rope) will be at least 5 meters from the sidelines and will extend from try line to try line. The barrier will be present on both sidelines. This bounded area will be referred to as the “roped area”.
  2. Up to two (2) USA Rugby registered coaches will be allowed inside the roped area.
  3. Referee officials (those who assess or coach referees), conference, and/or Tournament officials will be allowed in the roped area if the referee grants prior permission.
  4. Up to two (2) general medical personnel available to all or team medical personnel will be allowed within the roped area.
  5. No players will be allowed within the roped area, except when being prepared as substitutes. Substitutes will be brought the roped area near the touch judge. The touch judge or assistant referee will notify the referee at the next opportunity and the substitution will be made. Substitutes will not be allowed to warm up within the roped area.
  6. Individuals allowed within the roped area must not obstruct or interfere with the assistant referee or touch judge or the ball in any way. Being allowed in this area is a privilege and not a right; those inside this area must respect the referee and the assistant referees or touch judges and not hamper their performance.
  7. When a water opportunity comes up, water personnel will be allowed on the field as long as their presence does not interfere with a conversion kick. If the opportunity is the result of a try, the water personnel of the team scored upon will need to enter the field from behind the goal line after a try is awarded. Water personnel from the kicker’s team may enter by the shortest means available.
  8. If a player goes down at any time during the match: designated medical personnel will be allowed on the field during play to attend to that player. They will not need the referee’s permission to enter the field, but it is their responsibility to avoid interfering with play. The referee may stop play if play gets close to the injured player and/or the medical staff.
  9. If any issue exists related to the above, the touch judge or assistant referee may signal the referee at any stoppage and explain the concern.
  10. If an issue arises, referees will be encouraged to work with the captain of the offending team as follows:
    1. Warn the captain that sideline personnel associated with his/her team are not following policy and ask the captain to convey that message to the offending parties.
    2. At any time, the referee will have the discretion to completely clear the roped area (both teams will be cleared).
    3. At any time when the referee believes there is a safety concern, the referee may use their discretion to abandon the match. If the match is abandoned, disposition of the match will be decided by the Capital Competitions Committee.
    4. In any violation, the referee always has the right to file an administrative complaint.
  11. The referee will always have the right to supersede this policy in the interest of game and field management.

It is hoped that this policy will allow the referees and touch judges to concentrate on the match in front of them and not be distracted by inappropriate sideline behavior.

Back to top

Front Row Players

World Rugby Law 3.8 requires that, with 15 or fewer players, there must be three players adequately trained for the front row.

Capital requires that a side be prepared at the beginning of a league match to play with contested scrums. If there is not a front row to begin the match, the match will be counted as a forfeit. The teams may continue to play with uncontested scrums as a Played Forfeit.

Back to top

Overtime Procedures for Playoff Matches (15s)

For 15s playoffs only. [Approved by the USAR Senior Club Council on 11/16/2022 and 05/01/2023 (appended with Timeline).]

If the score is tied at the end of regulation time of an NCS Match, then the tie shall be broken by the following procedures:
1. Two five-minute halves of overtime shall be played.
2. If the score remains tied, then the Teams shall play a five-minute period of overtime with the Team scoring first determined as the winner (i.e. sudden death).
3. If the score remains tied, then the Teams shall compete in kicks at goal.

(a) At the end of regulation time, there shall be a five-minute break.
(b) At the end of the first five-minute half of overtime, there shall be a two-minute break.
(c) At the end of the second five-minute half of overtime, if the score is still tied, there shall be a two-minute break.
(d) At the end of the five-minute sudden death period, if the score is still tied, there shall be a two-minute break.

Kicking Format:
– Five players who were on the field at the completion of the sudden death period will be nominated to take part in the place-kicking competition.
– They have to kick from three areas on the 22m line – directly in front of the posts, on the 15m line to the left of the posts and on the 15m line to the right of the posts.
– A player from each team takes it in turns to kick, moving between the different positions, and the winner is the team with the most successful kicks after five attempts.
– The order and positions of kickers is as follows:
Kicker 1 from each team, from position 1
Kicker 2 from each team, from position 2
Kicker 3 from each team, from position 3
Kicker 4 from each team, from position 1
Kicker 5 from each team, from position 2
– If there are an equal number of successful kicks after five attempts, the competition moves into a sudden death basis until one team has more successful kicks than the other from the same number of attempts.

Back to top

Protest and Appeals

Members, individuals, and clubs aggrieved by a decision, determination, or ruling by the Capital competition committee or concerning any Capital policy regarding matches or other competition matters shall have the right to file a protest of the decision. The Capital Competitions Committee will not hear protests that are on the basis of (1) a club disagreement or protest on who the assigned referee is or (2) for an incorrect referee interpretation, call, or judgment.

A protest must be made in writing to the Capital Competitions Chair(s) within 3 days of the date of a protested match or within 10 days of the date of the notification of a decision.

A protest shall contain a factual summary of the basis for the protest; a copy of the rules, regulations, and/or policies pertinent to the protest; a description of any and all evidence relevant to the protest ;and a description of the relief requested by the individual or club making the protest.

The Capital Competitions Committee shall have 10 days from the date of the receipt of the protest or of the hearing, whichever is later, to render a written decision. However, a committee’s failure to issue a written decision within 10 days shall not be construed as grounds for granting the relief requested by the protest.

The individual or club who filed the protest shall have the right to file an appeal within 10 days of the date of the written ruling made by the Capital Committee to the Capital President.

Back to top

D4 Men-specific Forfeitures

If, in a single season, a team forfeits twice (or more), they are on probation during the next season.

During the probationary season, if the team forfeits once (or more), they are immediately ineligible for playoff competitions for the remainder of that season AND the subsequent season. Additional forfeits during a playoff ineligible season will result in further penalties which may be more severe, including possible removal from the D4 league.

This policy specifically relates to forfeitures which are not deemed egregious (e.g., giving proper notice to your opponent of a numbers issue). In the event of an egregious forfeiture, a team will immediately be put on probation for the next season. A subsequent forfeit during the probationary season will result in playoff ineligibility and may result in league removal for the next season, pending league discussion.

Back to top

Promotion and Relegation

Promotion and Relegation policies are in effect for the 2023-2024 seasons and beyond. The policies are slightly different between the Men’s and Women’s clubs due to different numbers of leagues and structures.

Men’s Clubs

Women’s Clubs (TBD)

Back to top