Getting to grips with rugby union pitch dimensions and markings can be difficult at first. The range of acceptable dimensions for rugby pitches is fairly wide, whilst the various solid and dashed lines you see around the field can be confusing for those who are new to the sport.
In this blog we will address:
- Pitch dimensions
- Pitch markings
- Post dimensions and other considerations
RUGBY UNION PITCH DIMENSIONS
Rugby union pitches feature several different areas:
- The field of play refers to the area within the touchlines and between the try lines
- The area within the touchlines and between the dead-ball lines is the playing area
- The entire field including the playing area and perimeter is the playing enclosure
- The boundary outside the touchlines is the perimeter area
With rugby union pitches, the field of play is typically 100m long from try line to try line and 70m wide. Beyond these try lines, are the in-goal areas where players can score tries, adding 6-22m at either end of the playing area. In total, the playing area is around 7,208-10,080 sq m.
ARE ALL RUGBY PITCHES THE SAME SIZE?
There is a range of acceptable dimensions for a rugby union pitch: the length of the field of play can vary between 94-100m, whilst the width can range from 68-70m. As we touched on above, the in-goal area at either end can be between 6 and 22m in length.
LENGTH OF A RUGBY PITCH
Considering just the field of play, the length of a rugby pitch is 94-100m. If we take into account the in-goal areas as well, the full playing area varies in length between 106 and 144m.
WIDTH OF A RUGBY PITCH
The width of a rugby pitch ranges from 68-70m, with less room for variation due to the tactical significance of pitch width in the game.
THE PERIMETER AREA
In rugby union, the perimeter of the pitch houses technical areas. These provide space for substitutes, training staff, and the sin bin.
Most rugby union pitches leave at least a metre between the touchlines and any technical areas, avoiding any collisions in the event that a player comes off the field at speed. As a general rule and as per World Rugby regulations, the perimeter should be at least 5m wide to prevent injuries.
WHAT IS THE MINIMUM SIZE OF A RUGBY PITCH?
The minimum length of the playing area of a rugby union pitch is 106m, with at least 94m from try line to try line and an extra 6m each for the two in-goal areas. As we know, the width must be no less than 68m, making a total minimum playing area of 7,208 sq m.
RUGBY UNION PITCH MARKINGS
Rugby union pitch markings consist of solid lines, dashed lines, and crosses.
WHAT ARE THE MARKINGS ON A RUGBY PITCH?
For rugby union pitches, there are several types of solid line markings:
- The touchlines, which run along the edge of the field
- The try lines at either end of the field of play on
- The dead-ball lines at either end of the playing area
- The halfway line in the middle of the pitch
- The 22-metre lines (as the name suggests, these are 22m away from the try lines)
There are also dashed line markings to indicate distances from the main solid lines, including:
- Dashed lines positioned 5 and 15m away from the touchlines on either side, running the length of the pitch
- Two dashed lines running across the pitch, 10m either side of the halfway line
- Two dashed lines running across the pitch at either end, 5m from the try line
In addition to these lines, there is also a cross at the centre of the pitch. At kick-off, the player kicking the ball stands here.
RUGBY PITCH MARKINGS EXPLAINED
Now that you understand where all of the markings should be positioned, it’s time to learn about their purposes.
|Touchlines||The touchlines on rugby union pitches run from dead-ball line to dead-ball line and mark the outer boundary of the playing area. If a player crosses these solid lines whilst carrying the ball, the gameplay is stopped and the other team is awarded a lineout to get the ball back into play.|
|Try lines||There are two solid try lines at either end of a rugby union pitch. To score a try during the game, a player must carry the ball over the try line and touch it on the ground within the in-goal area.|
|Dead-ball lines||The two solid lines right at each edge mark the end of the playing area. If a player carries the ball over the dead-ball line by the attacking team, the defending team is awarded a 22-metre drop-out (see 22-metre lines below).|
|Halfway line||The solid halfway line runs across the pitch in the middle. At kick-off, the ball is kicked into the opposing team’s half by a player who stands at the central cross on the halfway line.|
|22-metre lines||The solid lines 22 metres out from each try line are used in the event of a 22-metre drop-out, where a player kicks the ball into the opposing half from on or behind their 22-metre line. During open play, a player can choose to kick the ball into touch if they are behind their 22-metre line, resulting in a lineout at the point where the ball crosses the touchline.|
|Dashed lines||The various dashed lines indicate the distance from the touchlines (5 and 15m), the try lines (5m), and the halfway line (10m):
POST DIMENSIONS AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Rugby posts are placed in the centre of the try line at either end of the field of play. Unlike the length and width of the pitch itself, the distance between the two posts must be exactly 5.6m – both posts must be at least 3.4m high, although some will be higher than this.
HOW FAR ABOVE THE GROUND IS THE TOP EDGE OF THE CROSSBAR?
The top edge of the crossbar must be 3m above the ground. As with the distance between the posts, the rules state that this is an exact measurement: the crossbar cannot be any lower or higher than 3m for professional-level games.
Rugby posts are standardised in this way because of the important role that goal kicks play in rugby union – to score a goal kick, a player must kick the ball through the upright posts above the crossbar, so it’s important that this goal area is always the same size.
HOW MANY LAPS OF A RUGBY PITCH IS A MILE?
One mile is equivalent to 1609 metres. If we consider the entire playing area and take into account the acceptable variations in pitch dimensions, then you would have run a mile in roughly four laps around the pitch.
HOW BIG IS A RUGBY PITCH COMPARED TO A FOOTBALL PITCH?
The FA recommends that adult football clubs in the national league system should play on football pitches that are 100m in length by 64m in width. This means that rugby union pitches are between 4 and 6m wider than football pitches.
In terms of length, the field of play between the try lines could be between 94-100m, so is shorter than a standard football pitch. That said, if you take into account the full playing area including the in-goal zone, rugby pitches are much longer at 106 to 144m.
HOW MANY FLAGS ARE ON A RUGBY PITCH?
There are 14 flags on a rugby pitch (see the diagram below). Four of these flags sit at the junction of the try lines and touchlines, whilst another four are positioned at the point where the dead-ball lines meet the touchlines. The remaining six flags are placed where the halfway line and 22-metre lines cross the touchlines.
Hopefully this guide has taught you everything you need to know about rugby union pitch dimensions, markings, and posts. To explore our range of hybrid and synthetic rugby pitches, visit this page. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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