THE RULES OF THE GAME

HOW TO PLAY UNDERWATER RUGBY

EQUIPMENT

Underwater rugby players will need the following equipment:

  • Diving mask, preferably with a low profile and wide peripheral vision
     

  • Snorkel

  • Pair of fins with no protruding clasps to prevent injuries

  • Water polo cap to denote your team and player number

  • A pair of swim trunks for men and a one-piece swimsuit for women, ideally high-cut and close-fitting. Players typically have two sets of swim gear in light and dark colours to help with team identification

Optionally, players also use the following equipment to help with their game:

  • Fin keepers can be very useful to keep your fins on

  • Neoprene socks, or even normal cotton socks, can help avoid blisters from wearing fins and can also improve their fit

  • Mouthguards

  • Rash guards can help prevent accidental scratches

THE Play Area

Underwater rugby is played in a deep pool of depth 3.5 - 5 metres, with measurements between 12 - 18 metres in length and 8 - 12 metres in width.

In Singapore, we train at the diving pool at Queenstown Swimming complex, which has a depth of 4.5 metres. Our usual court dimensions are 12.4m by 7.5m.

Two baskets sunk at each end of the playing area serve as goals

The Positions

Underwater rugby is typically played with 12 players per team. Six are in the game at any one time, with up to six substitutes who may  swap with another player at any time during the game.

Players attempt to place a saltwater-filled, negatively buoyant rubber ball in the opposing team's basket, while defending their own goal basket from enemy attack. A goal is said to be scored once the ball passes beyond the rim of the basket.

There are three main positions in a UWR team: a Forward, a Back (or Defender), and a Goalkeeper (or Goalie). Each position is typically assigned two players who must work together to balance intensity of play and the need to breathe.

Each position comes with a unique set of challenges and responsibilities.

The Forward

When attacking, the Forward’s main job is to help transport the ball and lead the attack on the opponent’s basket. In defence, the Forward harries opponents and exploits opportunities to steal the ball  while covering any unprotected route to the goal.

 

The Back / Defender

Defenders protect the Goalkeeper from attacks below the rim of the goal basket, typically using their body length and fins to keeping opponents from coming close. In offensive play, Defenders typically cycle midway between the Forwards and the Goalkeepers, with one Defender aiding in the attack at all times.

 

The Goalie

Lastly, the Goalkeeper protects the goal in defensive play, keeping their upper back on top of the rim of the basket at all times, like an upside-down turtle! In offensive play, one Goalkeeper aids in the attack, while the other covers the position furthest back to protect from any fast breakaways.

 

One of the most interesting aspects of Underwater Rugby is also due to its relative youth. Teams are constantly rotating how they play the game and the strategies they employ to best fit their players. This means there is no one correct way to play, and player responsibilities and roles can change constantly depending on which team you are watching or playing against!

Gameplay and rules

Each game is usually split into two 10-15minute halves, depending on the tournament and time constraints, during which teams can also request for one 60-second timeout as well.  

Underwater rugby is a contact sport. Simply put a player may only be contacted when he/she is in possession of the ball. For safety, the rules also forbid contact around the neck and the head, twisting limbs, violent kicking and hitting and Infringements and are punishable with a foul or penalty. On serious infractions, players may even be told to sit out of a game for 2 minutes in the “sin bin”, leaving their team to play with a man down.

 

In tournament, 3 referees help to keep play, ensuring that no one is breaking any rules:

 

  • A deck referee officiating time and surface play

  • Two SCUBA underwater referees observing bottom of pool play

 

These referees will have some sort of noise making device to produce signals audible to players underwater and on the surface to inform them of referee decisions or infractions.

 

With the youth of the Underwater Rugby scene, rule changes are frequent and occur every few years to ensure safe and appropriate play. Further reading and the official rules can be found on the CMAS website: https://www.cmas.org/document?sessionId=&fileId=5336&language=1

Underwater Sports

You can also check out some of our sister sports!

TRAINING TIMES

Thursdays
Time 7pm to 9pm

Saturdays

Time: 9am to 11am

 

Sundays

Time: 8am to 10am

VENUE

Queenstown Swimming Complex,

473 Stirling Rd, Singapore 148948

473A Stirling Rd, 148949

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