How Long Is A Rugby Game?

Rugby Game Clock

Professional rugby games are typically 80 minutes long and divided into two 40 minute halves, though they can vary in length based on the type of rugby being played. 15s, or rugby union matches, consist of two 40-minute halves, and these timed halves generally run without stoppage, much like association football. Although rugby union games are 80 minutes in total, they generally take around 100-120 minutes to complete in real-time. This takes into account a 15-minute halftime and any injury or game stoppages.

Rugby sevens matches consist of two seven-minute halves. These 14-minute games are extremely quick, and often allow rugby sevens teams to play two or three matches in a day. Sevens games generally take 20 minutes in real-time to complete, with a two-minute halftime and other injury and game stoppages included.


Stoppages

There are a few instances in which a rugby game stops, one of which is halftime. After 40 minutes of play in a rugby union game, each team is granted a 15-minute break. At higher levels, rugby union teams will leave the field for the locker room during halftime. Rugby sevens halftime only lasts two minutes, in order to keep the flow of games quick. Referees in both union and sevens games may stop the game for up to a minute for either an injury or a discussion with other officials about a ruling. The referee can also stop the game clock for player substitutions, a new ball, or to replace equipment while the ball is dead. There are also circumstances where a game may be halted for poor weather conditions.

End of Game Process

Games or halves do not end right when the clock hits zero. At the 40th and 80th-minute marks in rugby union, the match enters the ‘final play’ scenario. The same is done for rugby sevens at the 7th and 14th-minute marks. This scenario continues the game until a dead ball occurs. Dead ball situations will end the game or half for all but a few scenarios. If a restart of play from kickoff, lineout, or scrum occurs after a score is awarded, the play must be finished. A free-kick or penalty to the team with possession will not end the half, and neither will a kick or touch directly from a penalty. The scoring team must still attempt a conversion if a try is scored.

Extra Time

Most rugby games end in a tie if time runs out and the score is level. However, there are scenarios where a winner must be determined, such as the knockout stage in the Rugby World Cup. If two teams are tied after 80 minutes of play in rugby union, they then play 20 more minutes of extra time. Similar to association football, the teams switch sides after 10 minutes, then play another 10. If the game is still tied after 100 minutes, the teams will play 10 more minutes of sudden death. It is extremely rare, but if teams are still tied after 110 minutes, each team takes five penalty kicks 22 meters from the goalposts to decide the match in a penalty shootout.

FAQ

How long is a rugby sevens game?

Rugby sevens games consist of two seven-minute halves or 14 minutes in total. Normally, halftimes in rugby sevens are two minutes in length. With the setup time, and having to get new teams on the field, it normally takes about 20 minutes to complete a rugby sevens match. Due to the quickness of these games, large tournaments can be completed over weekends, and each team can play two to three rugby sevens games a day.

How long is an under-15 rugby match?

Under-15 matches usually have two 30-minute halves. The length of the game is 60 minutes. Halftimes are quicker at younger levels, taking closer to five or 10 minutes. Due to this shortened halftime, an under-15 rugby match can be completed in around 75 to 90 minutes in real-time. The games are shortened at younger levels due to the physicality of the game, as younger players are learning the game and need more injury prevention measures.

How long is an under-13 rugby match?

Under-13 matches are also shortened for the purpose of protecting younger players from injury. Learning to tackle in rugby is a process, and newer players are more likely to make mistakes that lead to injuries. With this intention in mind, under-13 games consist of only 25-minute halves, or 50 minutes in total. With a five to 10-minute halftime, the real-time length of an under-13 rugby match is 60 to 75 minutes.