How long is a rugby match?

How long is a rugby match?

Still known as “Rugby Union” in English-speaking countries, rugby is a team sport. It is practiced around an oval ball, on a rectangular playing surface, of synthetic or grass quality and having variable dimensions.

This sporting discipline has been around since 1863. Like many others, it opposes two teams. Each with the objective of registering against the opponent the maximum number of points. Points are scored through tries, penalties and drops, under the refereeing of match officials. This opposition is also and above all done in a well-specified regulatory time. Let’s see in detail how this time is distributed for a game of rugby.


The regulation duration of a rugby match

Regular time for a rugby match has been stopped since 1871 in British colleges by the Rugby Union. Subsequently, it was codified and exported internationally through the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB).

It should be noted that the duration of rugby matches is delimited in principle. However, it can also depend on the type of championship organized, or depend on the number of players present on the rugby field .

In principle, a rugby match takes place in 80 minutes due to 40 minutes per period of play with a half-time lasting 10 minutes. To this are necessarily added the additional time due to ball outings, substitutions, stoppages of play on the one hand.  Let’s have a look some other articles: Estadio Olimpico Nilton Santos | National Stadium | Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The duration may also increase due to overtime to decide between the two teams. This case usually occurs in knockout matches in which it is absolutely necessary to determine a winner at the end of the rugby match.


Exceptional situations affecting the duration of a rugby match

The situations in question are linked to the type of championship organized and the number of players per team.

With regard in particular to the type of championship, we note the senior championships which obey the international duration indicated above. At the same time, the under-17 and 19 championships have a reduced duration of five (05) minutes per game period, i.e. 35 minutes each, for a total duration of 70 minutes.

Regarding the constraint related to the number of players per team, it should be noted that there are rugby matches organized with 7, 13 and 15 players. Of course, this is done with significantly different durations.

  • For matches with 7 players: The duration of a match is limited to 14 minutes, ie 2 periods of play of 7 minutes separated by a half-time of 2 minutes. The final of such a match is played over a 20-minute match, ie 10 minutes per period of play.  It is important to note that the organization of these matches obeys certain very specific rules which justify its duration.
  • For matches at 13 and at 15: The duration remains that of principle, namely 80 minutes due to 40 minutes per period of play. However, certain rules specific to this type of match can strongly influence its duration.



Rugby represents a sporting discipline which tends to be more and more popularized. To date, it brings together nearly a hundred teams and more than 3 billion cumulative viewers. Rugby competitions have the participation of national federations from all continents. The growing enthusiasm favors the enactment of new rules of the game, both at the institutional, infrastructural and technical levels. It goes without saying that even the duration of rugby matches could experience some adjustments, to the delight of its amateurs and the professionals who practice it.

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