15.1           Numbering players

For International Matches, Players should be numbered from left to right as follows:

Loose head prop 1
Hooker 2
Tight head prop 3
Left lock 4
Right lock 5
Left flanker 6
Right flanker 7
Number eight 8
Scrum half 9
Fly half 10
Left wing 11
Left centre 12
Right centre 13
Right wing 14
Full back 15

Replacements/substitutes as in 15.1.1 below.

15.1.1        In any International Match two specialist front row Players are required to be selected by each Union as replacements/substitutes. These replacement Front Row Players shall be numbered 16 and 17. The other replacements/substitutes must be numbered from 18 to 23 with Forwards numbered before Backs.

(a)     Replacement/substitute Forwards (including 16 and 17) shall appear in order from Front Row to Number Eight.

(b)     Replacement/substitute Backs shall appear in order from Scrum half to Full back.

15.1.2        Without limiting the effect of Regulation 9.16, 72 hours prior to the kick-off of an International Match the Participating Unions must announce and exchange a list of the 15 Players who will start the Match and up to 8 replacements/substitutes.

15.2           Replacements and Substitutes in Matches in which a National Representative Team is playing

15.2.1        (a)     Not more than 8 Players are to be available under Law 3 as replacements or substitutes. The Players nominated as replacements or substitutes may be changed into kit ready to play, but they must be seated in the stand (where available) or in some other suitable designated area within the playing enclosure, but not on the touch- line. Replacements or substitutes shall not enter the playing area until permitted to do so by a Match Official.

(b)     the medical practitioner appointed under Law 3, is to be the nominated Match doctor of the visited Union in attendance at the Match. He should be seated as near as practicable to the Players’ entrance from the field-of-play.

(c)     If a Player sustains a bleeding or open wound (“blood injury”) the Player must leave the playing area. The Match doctor shall determine whether a player has a blood injury that requires the Player to leave the field for treatment. If so the Player shall remain off the field until such time as the bleeding has been controlled, the wound covered or dressed and in the opinion of the Match doctor the Player is able to resume playing provided it is within the time period prescribed within Law 3. For the avoidance of doubt a player that has left the playing area with a blood injury shall not be entitled to resume playing if he does not return to the playing area within the time prescribed in Law 3.

(d)     If the nominated Match doctor gives his opinion that a Player should not continue playing on account of his injury, (whether such injury is a blood injury or otherwise) that Player shall not be allowed to resume playing.  The opinion of the nominated Match doctor shall be conveyed to the Player’s Union or its representative and it is then for that Union to decide whether or not a replacement shall be introduced.

(e)     A nominated representative of the Union, known to the referee, should stand on the touch-line with the replacement or substitute Player and signify that the replacement or substitute Player is ready to come on the field of play.

15.3           Match Day Doctor

15.3.1        In respect of all International Matches, a Match Day Doctor shall be appointed by the Host Union. The role of the Match Day Doctor is set out in the World Rugby Match Day Doctor Manual available at The Match Day Doctor Manual may be amended from time to time in accordance with best practice.

15.4        Match Officials

15.4.1    Match Officials shall be selected for International Matches in accordance with the guidelines or procedures adopted by Council from time to time.

15.4.2    A coach and/or other representative(s) of a Union must not make any contact (whether in person or by technological, non-verbal or other means) with any Match Official(s) for an International Match on the day of the International Match save as permitted by Regulation 15.4.3 below.

15.4.3    A coach and/or other representative(s) of a Union is permitted to:

(a)    speak to a Match Official(s) in person on the day of an International Match in relation to matters not relating to the Match; 

(b)    ask a Match Official(s) a question(s) in and/or nearby to the Union’s changing room at such time as, and in the event that, the Match Official visits the Union’s changing room on the day of the International Match; and

(c)    ask a Match Official(s) a question(s) at another time and/or location provided that the question(s) and the time and location have been pre-approved by the relevant Match Official manager, who may also attend at his election;

provided that at all times the World Rugby Code of Conduct is observed.

15.5           Postponement of an International Match

15.5.1        After full consultation with the visiting Union, the visited Union shall have the sole right and discretion to determine whether or not an International Match shall be postponed on account of adverse weather conditions or the state of the ground.

15.5.2        Travelling and hotel expenses incurred by the visiting Union in connection with any such futile visit shall be paid by the visited Union.

Tours Agreement

15.6           International Tours between Tier One Unions during the Global Release Periods specified in Regulation 9 shall be subject to the provisions of the Tier One Rugby World Tours Agreement (the “Tours Agreement”).

15.7           The integrity and organisational efficiency of an International Tour is undermined in the absence of clear and binding terms and conditions that set out the duties and obligations of the Host Union and the Visiting Union and/or if the conclusion and signing of the Tours Agreement is delayed.

15.8           Unions have a responsibility to ensure that International Tour arrangements, Match location(s) and kick-off times are agreed and communicated at the earliest opportunity so that other stakeholders including supporters, broadcasters and other commercial partners may plan accordingly.

15.9           It is therefore a condition of World Rugby approval of any International Tour governed by the Tours Agreement that the Unions concerned comply with the provisions of the conditions for the finalisation, signing and implementation of the Tours Agreement (“Finalisation Conditions”).

Finalisation conditions

15.10         The purpose of the Tours Agreement and the establishment of Finalisation Conditions is to harmonise the basis on which Tours take place and to improve the efficiency of the manner in which the Agreement is finalised between Unions.

15.11         It is recognised that Unions need a degree of flexibility in structuring their tour arrangements, however this flexibility must not undermine the certain organisational and regulatory terms and conditions that apply to the International Tour. 

15.12         The Tours Agreement is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonisation of issues where uniformity is required yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how other relevant touring issues may be implemented.

15.13         Unions that are scheduled to host an International Tour or participate as a Visiting Union in an International Tour shall, as soon as reasonably practicable following approval of the International Tour by Council, discuss and agree the arrangements that will be in place for the Tour and which shall be included in the Tours Agreement. Both the Visiting Union and Host Union shall consult on the applicable arrangements with a view to reaching consensus and agreement on all issues. The Tours Agreement must be finalised and signed as soon as reasonably practicable. In any event:

(a)     Match Venues for the Tour must be confirmed to World Rugby and notified to the Visiting Union preferably nine months, but no later than six months, prior to the commencement of the Tour and may not be changed without the prior approval of the Visiting Union, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld; and

(b)     the Tour Agreement must be concluded and signed by both Unions via authorised signatories at least six weeks prior to the commencement of the International Tour.

15.14         If the Tours Agreement is not finalised within eight weeks of the commencement of the Tour then the Host Union must notify the CEO. The CEO shall be entitled to resolve any outstanding issue(s) subject always to those provisions of the Tours Agreement which shall be binding on the Host Union and Visiting Union in any event.

15.15         On receipt of notification pursuant to Regulation 15.14, the CEO (or his designee) shall be entitled to adopt such procedures as he considers appropriate and to receive what evidence and/or information he requires, however each Union shall be given the opportunity to set out its position. Each Union shall provide such assistance and information and/or documentation as the CEO (or his designee) may require. The CEO’s decision(s) shall be final and binding on notification to the Unions and shall be implemented immediately by the relevant Unions.

Solidarity, Best versus Best

15.16         It is a fundamental imperative of the Game that the integrity and high standards of International Rugby Matches and International Tours are maintained. High quality International Rugby is in the best interests of the sport at all levels as it promotes the sport, maintains the integrity and solidarity of the game and its competitive dynamic. It encourages new participants and respects the interests of the public and all Rugby stakeholders. In the best interests of the sport at all levels Unions will adopt selection principles and criteria that support the Best versus Best policy and act in good faith in this regard.

CEO dispute resolution in relation to the Tours Agreement

15.17         For disputes arising under Clauses 5.5, 20.2, 22.9, 22.16, 23.7 (and/or where the CEO otherwise agrees to deal with the matter pursuant to Clause 25.3(a)) the CEO (or his designee) shall on receipt of notification of the dispute issue and/or alleged breach determine the procedures that he wishes to adopt to resolve the matter. The CEO (or his designee) shall have full discretion in relation to such procedures and what evidence and/or information he requires. However each Union shall be given the opportunity to set out its position and each Union shall provide such assistance and information and/or documentation as the CEO (or his designee) may require. The CEO (or his designee) shall make a decision as soon as reasonably practicable. Such decision shall be final and binding on notification to the Unions and implemented immediately by the relevant Union(s).

Team kit

15.18         At least three (3) months prior to the commencement of an International Tour Unions shall exchange Team kit colours and agree if there is any clash of Team kits. If a clash exists between the proposed Team kits, the CEO of World Rugby or his nominee will seek to resolve the matter. However, in the event of a clash of kits, in the absence of any agreement to the contrary, the Host Union shall be entitled to wear its home kit.