HOW TO PLAY UNDERWATER RUGBY
(writeup courtesy of UWRA)
Underwater rugby players will need the following equipment:
Diving mask (preferably low profile with wide peripheral vision)
Snorkel (preferably with no purge valve)
Fins (Plastic, fibreglass, rubber)
Water polo cap and swimmers
Neoprene socks (optional, helps avoid blisters from wearing fins, and can improve fitment of fins)
Fin keepers (optional, helps avoid fins being pulled off during play)
Underwater rugby is played in a deep pool (3.5 - 5 metres in depth), in a rectangular court between 12 - 18 metres in length and 8 - 12 metres in width. In Singapore, we train in the diving pool at Queenstown Swimming complex, which has a depth of 4.5 metres. The goal baskets are stainless steel baskets mounted at the bottom of the pool at each end of the playing area.
Six players on two teams are in the water, with up to six substitutes on the exchange bench who can swap with another player at any time in the game, as many times as desired.
The objective for the six players in the water is to take the saltwater-filled rubber ball and score in the opposing team's basket, and defend their own goal against the opposition's attack.
There are three player positions in underwater rugby: forward, defender (or back) and goalie (or goalkeeper). Each position is unique and requires a specific set of skills. The forward's aim is to exploit opportunities to gain possession of the ball, and lead the attack on the opposition's basket. During a defensive play, the defender sits in front of the basket and aims to prevent the opposition from approaching the goal. The goalie lies on top of the basket to block open attacks on the goal.
Gameplay and rules
A game usually lasts for 10-15 minutes per half (depending on individual tournament rules), and each team can request one sixty-second time-out per half.
There are three referees - one on the edge of the pool officiating time and surface play (deck referee), one on scuba observing bottom of pool play, and one freedive referee who observes the game and liaises with the deck referee. The referees have buzzers which produce signals that are audible to players both underwater and on the surface.
The rules of underwater rugby are fairly simple. The player with possession of the ball is allowed to attack any other player, but other players may only attack the player with possession of the ball. Attacking around the neck and the head, twisting limbs, kicking and hitting are not allowed, and are punishable if it occurs.