Underwater Rugby is a popular sport in Europe and is played regularly in the United States. The sport participates at the World level, and the next World Championships are scheduled for 1999 in Germany. Underwater Rugby is a three dimensional underwater sport. There are 15 players on a team: six in the water with five exchange (substitute) players and four reserves. The reserve players cannot play in a game already started with 11 players.
The players wear mask, fins, snorkels, wrist bands and numbered water polo caps and must have matching swim suits - white or dark (white or dark blue/black). The Home team wears the dark colors - suits, wrist bands and caps. Ear protectors are required. Fins may not be longer than 24 (60 cm) and no mono fins or fins with metal inserts are allowed.
The playing area is between 3.5 and 5 meters deep (10 - 15) and 12-18 meters long (36 - 54) by 8 to 12 meters wide (24 -36). The goals are basket-like (16-18 or 40-45 cm in diameter) and placed on the bottom of the pool at either end. The goals resemble old fashioned, open wire school waste baskets with padded rims.
The ball is about 10 (52 cm) in circumference and is black and white or solid red. It is a little larger than a softball, is filled with salt water and is negatively buoyant.
There are three referees: two in the water and one on the pool deck. Only during zone or world championships, one water referee uses scuba. Substitution is on the fly from the parallel exchange lanes. The game is two 15 minute halves with a four minutes half time. Penalties are assessed for a variety of fouls and incur two minutes out of the water while the team plays short. Fouls include attack (removal of) on opponents mask, fins or snorkel. Players may not pull, hold or remove an opponents swim suit. Play is started by a water referee placing the ball on the bottom of the pool in the center of play; each team lines up at their end of the pool along the edge. At the sound of a whistle, all go for the ball, passing it toward the opposing goal in a leap froging manner. The goalie defends the goal but may not hold onto it or put his/her body into the basket to prevent a score - a foul.
The rules and a short (edutainment) video are available from the Society office.
Rules are $12.00 each, and the video may be borrowed at no cost other than postage. For rules, video, play and other information, contact the National Director or the Underwater Society of America at PO Box 628, Daly City CA 94017; phone or message 650 583 8492/fax 650 583 0614; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UNDERWATER RUGBY MATERIALS AVAILABLE:
USOA NATIONAL U/W RUGBY DIRECTOR: