Playing Environment

This includes the field of play as well as the immediate surrounding area.
Barriers, poles, pylons, and advertising hoardings must be ideally 5m from the touchline. If obstacles cannot be removed, they must be suitably covered to provide protection to players.
If areas of the playing surface comprise and asphalt/tartan track it should be suitably covered as well.

The playing surface should be grass, artificial grass (conforming to WR regulation 22), sand or clay. It must be firm and free of hazards, including stones and glass.

If there is surface water sufficient to realistically raise the risk of drowning if a player is knocked unconscious, the game should not commence. The decision to start a game where ground water is present is at the sole discretion of the referee and common sense should prevail.

Weather Conditions

  • Hot Conditions
    Research has not identified a specific temperature and/or humidity when playing a rugby game is not advised.The Heat Index has been found to be a better measure of heat stress and considers air temperatures at various relative humidities. The Heat Index in Hong Kong is available via the HK Observatory ( the Heat index is <32 degrees, the risk to players of heat stress is minimal.If the Heat Index is >40 degrees, the risk to players is likely and the game should not start unless heat reducing measures are in place.

    If the Heat Index is >51 degrees, the risk is extreme, and the game should be postponed.

    Heat reducing measures include:
    – Provision of fans in changing rooms
    – Provision of pitchside shade
    – Water and towels placed in ice water and available alongside the field
    – Water breaks held regularly eg a 2 min break at each 20min point of each half
    – Halftime break increased to 15 mins

  • Lightning/ T8 Signal

    No play should start if lightening is present in the immediate vicinity. Weather predictions are available via the HK Observatory ( If the T8 signal or above is hoisted, rugby games should not commence.

For more details, please view further information in Safe Playing Environment Policy (PDF) from HK Rugby Union website.


– – –