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Secondary School Rugby Grading to align for more consistency.

The Thames Valley Secondary Schools boys’ rugby grading system has taken a significant step towards aligning with the current junior grading system to allow a smoother transition between the 2 competitions.

Towards the end of 2018 the Thames Valley Secondary Schools Rugby Management Board and Rugby Administrators in Schools undertook a review of registration data to ascertain where the problem lay, particularly in the ‘development grade’ and what could be done about it.

After consultation with the secondary schools, the decision was made to align the secondary schools grading with that this is currently in place at junior level.

This resulted in the removal of the ‘development’ grade completely and the instigation of 2 new grades.

These are:

  • Under 15’s open weight
  • Open Grade (U19 as of 1st January and enrolled at school – includes 1st XV).

All students must be enrolled at secondary school to participate in the competition.

Rugby Development Officer and current Thames Valley Secondary Schools Rugby Management Board Chairman Bill Cooksley stated that:

“given the current state of the game at secondary school level – not just in Thames valley but throughout the country – we believe that this is the right move to provide meaningful, even competitions and provide an opportunity for maximum participation.

There was also a bit of a swelling towards allowing clubs to take control of the U15’s grade however we felt that at this stage secondary school students must remain in a school team. The recent release of the NZ Rugby’s secondary schools review would back that up with one of the recommendations that this be the case.

The U15 grade also allows a smoother transition from the junior U13’s grade up to the next grade with the thought that a lot of the teammates can stay together. This will not always be the case however as some students head out of the district for their secondary education”

The Open grade will include the 1st XV’s and the plan is to start the season with grading games so that once again even, meaningful competitions are developed.

The aim would be to have a minimum of 8 teams total entered into each grade which may mean a 4 / 4 split after grading has been completed however the full format had not been decided at time of printing.

Thames Valley Secondary Schools Rugby Grades


To be eligible to play in the Thames Valley Secondary Schools Competition all players must qualify under the following criteria:

    1. Be enrolled as a bona fide (Year 9 or above) student at the school of representation and studying at least 80% of a programme that is part of the timetable provided by the school for at least four weeks immediately prior to the event.
    2. Have a satisfactory attendance record at the school.  The final decision will be at the Principal’s discretion.
    3. Be under 19 years of age at the first of January in the year of the competition.


    1. All correct Ages, Birth Dates and Weights must be entered on the Registration form as provided by the TVMB.


The Grading list shall be as set out below, or as amended by the TVMB.

    1. Boys Open Grade (Including 1st XV) Open Weight
    • Boys Under 15’s 14 years Open Weight
    • 13 years Open Weight
    • 12 years Open Weight
    1. Girls 1st XV Open Weight
    • Bona-fide College Players

Year 9 players will be ineligible to play in the year 8 (Primary School) competition provided that each player’s school has an U15’s team or a team is available with the TVRFU.

Club registered U13 players may play for an U15 team, if required, for up to 2 competition games. Players who play 3 or more competition games in the higher grade will be ineligible to return to U13 grade and must remain in the U15 team for the remainder of the season.