The Rugby Virginia Youth League groups players school grade level and gender. The levels of play are:
Pre-K & 2nd Grade - Coed Tag (Not offered by VYI at this time)
3rd & 4th grade - Coed Tag
5th & 6th grade - Tackle
7th & 8th grade - Tackle*
9th - 12th grade - JV and Varsity Tackle*
*Boys and Girls play separately.
In Tag rugby a two-handed tag below the waist and above the knees replaces the tackle. The two-handed tag is designed to orient players towards proper body positioning and contact level, when they make transition from tag to tackle rugbyy. Purposeful collisions between players are against the rules.
Tackle rugby is played under rule modifications designed to promote safety in consideration of the player's age, size, and physical and mental maturity. Both tacklers and ball carriers are taught how to tackle and be tackled safely. In particular, rugby tackles are quite different from football tackles. Like touch rugby, as paradoxical as it no doubt sounds to those new to rugby, tackle rugby is safe, even to the point of a lower injury rate than other sports. Both coaches and referees emphasize safe play during practices and games.
When dangerous or even potentially dangerous play occurs, mainly due to the player forgetting what he's been taught, players are discouraged from that style of play and appropriately penalized (admonishments, penalties, temporary in-game suspensions, and if necessary in the extreme; expulsion. Fortunately, the rugby "spirit" prevails and even at the most competitive levels of rugby, foul play is uncommon).