The NZ Junior Rugby Festival in Queenstown is an awe-inspiring event held at one of the world's most picturesque rugby grounds in the world; nestled below the magnificent Remarkables mountain range is the Queenstown Events Centre, home of the festival. Prepare for a captivating rugby adventure surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

Central Otago is a haven for adventure seekers, and offers a multitude of experiences for travelling teams. Immerse yourselves in majestic mountains and the serene shores of Lake Wakatipu, discovering the unique energy that enhances your rugby journey.

Beyond matches, Queenstown provides abundant opportunities for exploration, making it worthwhile to extend your stay. Engage in team-building amidst awe-inspiring landscapes or indulge in adrenaline-pumping activities.

Don't miss out on visiting iconic stores like the Cookie Time bar or Remarkable Lolli shop that bring childhood dreams to life.

The NZ Junior Rugby Festival is undeniably the ultimate rugby tour, attracting teams from NZ and across Australia. Secure your place in this extraordinary event by registering early.

For more information on the region visit  https://www.queenstownnz.co.nz/


Under 10s


*Born 2013, or after

Under 11s


*Born 2012, or after

Under 12s


*Born 2011, or after

Under 13s


*Born 2010, or after


The main reason kids play rugby is to have fun. While it's natural to want to win and be competitive, which we support, it shouldn't come at the cost of a child's enjoyment and development. The festival format has been designed to ensure that teams don't get knocked out and every team gets to play the same number of games. 5-6. Each game will last 25 mins. We'll do our best to keep teams from the same union apart, giving clubs a chance to meet and play teams they would never normally have the opportunity to play. Global Games events are for non-rep and selection teams. 

“The purpose of the NZ Junior Rugby Festival is to give all junior players the opportunity to participate against clubs from around the country and the world on a foundation of sportsmanship, enjoyment and friendship, all the while creating lifelong memories with their mates on tour.” 


In the event that scores become one sided, (more than 20 points lead) both coaches should meet at half time with the referee to find a solution for a more enjoyable game for both sets of players. There are no extra/bonus points for teams who beat other teams by big scores, so once the game is won, make it fun.


Game Sheets will be required to be filled out online before each match, via Sporty. Games sheets not only inform us who played in that match, but also help us select all of the awards. Team managers submit final game sheets at the end of the match and data is collected live.


An update will be emailed out to managers with all timings closer to the event, but the following pages are a good outline of the schedule and areas to think about


10:00am - 5:00pm
Teams allowed onto the fields to set-up marquees 

12:00pm - 4:30pm
Teams can sign-in and collect their event packs 

12:00pm - 4:30pm
Onsite weigh-in open  
(for teams that have booked in)


Teams are allowed to arrive at Grounds 

Compulsory coaches meeting (Only 1 rep from every team) 

Opening ceremony commences 

First Game

Games conclude


Teams are allowed to arrive at Grounds 

First Game

Games conclude

2:30pm - 3:30pm
Prize Giving


The New Zealand Junior Rugby Festival is played in accordance with World Rugby & NZRU “Laws of the Game: Coaches attending must have completed the compulsory NZ Rugby’s Coaching Small Blacks Course.

Our rules are played in accord with Small Blacks Rugby Development Model, which covers all rugby Under 6 to Under 13s.

The philosophy is that the game must be safe and enjoyable for all participants.

The rules and format are based around ensuring the players have as much fun and as possible and a focus on development. It’s ok to go out to win, however it is the responsibility of management, referees, parents and supporters to assist all players in developing the fundamental skills required to play the game safely and in accordance with the Laws of the Game.

Adapted from the NZRU Small Blacks Rugby Handbook, these guidelines are to be followed by all participants and spectators at the New Zealand Junior Rugby Festival.


Field: ½ size field
Ball: Size 3
Players: 10 per side (5 forwards/5 backs).
5 subs
Coaches/Management: Must be behind dead ball line during matches with reserves
Subs: Teams can make subs at 1/4 time intervals, no rolling subs and ALL PLAYERS must play half a game.
Tackle: All tackles must be below the sternum
Scrums: 5 players, no contesting or pushing. Opposition backlines back 5m, halfback must start and stay at the tunnel of scrum until the ball has been cleared from the locks feet. Locks cannot pick and go.
Lineouts: Uncontested. 2.5m in from touch. 5 players – No lifting, lines from 1m apart, backlines back 5m, no player to cross the line of touch (LOT) until ball in halfbacks hand.
Kick-Offs: The scoring team will restart play with a punt or drop kick from halfway, and can only do so when referee is ready to restart the game. Teams need to be given a reasonable chance to get into position for kick offs.
Penalties: Tap and pass. Opposition 5m back
Conversions: No conversions
Hands off: Players may fend to the


Field: Full Field 
Ball: Size 4 
Players: 15 per side, with numbered jerseys
Coaches/Management: Must be behind dead ball line during matches with reserves 
Subs: Teams can make subs at 1/4 time intervals, no rolling subs and ALL PLAYERS must play half a game. 
Tackle: All tackles must be below the sternum. 
Scrums: For under 12’s and above, scrums can be contested with a push up to 1 1⁄2 metres. Scrums cannot be intentionally wheeled off the square. It is accepted there is usually a natural bias which cannot go more than 45 degrees,
For all scrums opposition backlines 5m back from hindmost foot of scrum, halfback must start at the tunnel of the scrum and cannot move forward of the tunnel. Once the ball has entered the scrum can then move back to the No.8 feet and stand anywhere along the off side line (No.8 feet).
Lineouts: Contesting is allowed, lines 1m apart - No lifting. Backlines back 10m
Kick-Offs: The scoring team will restart play with a punt or drop kick from halfway, and can only do so when referee is ready to restart the game. Teams need to be given a reasonable chance to get into position for kick offs. Opposition back 10m 

Penalties: Normal. Opposition 10m back 
Conversions: No wider than the 15m line. 
Hands off: Players may fend to the body but not to the face or neck region. 
Number 8 running from back of scrum: No. 8 will be allowed to run from the base of the scrum, providing he detaches legally (i.e. the ball must be at this feet) and he picks the ball up correctly. 
Line out quick throw ins: There are no laws listed restricting quick THROW Ins consequently these are permitted. A quick THROW IN cannot occur if a lineout has been formed. A lineout is considered formed if two players from either team have lined up along the line of touch. 


Set a positive example for children by respecting that rugby is a sport played for fun and enjoyment.

Never harass players, coaches, or officials. Anyone deemed to be abusive will be asked to leave the grounds immediately.

Applaud the performances of both teams and be positive towards the referees, acknowledging their efforts.

Let the children play their game, not your game and praise the actual efforts of players, rather than just the results.

Do not criticize or put down players, coaches, or referees.



Most rugby unions in NZ play under different weight and grading systems, so there is no way we can create a model that suits everyone.

We do our very best so that as many players can take part in a safe environment against teams of similar size and age.

It is up to club and team and club management to ensure players meet the weight restriction for their age group before arriving. If players are near the weight restriction during the season, it is your responsibility to inform them and their families they may be unable to enter. It’s heartbreaking for the players to come all the way and have no idea that they are going to be told they can’t play. If any opposition puts in a formal complaint about size of player/s, those in question will be weighed in again.

If clubs or teams play players above the limits, they risk losing points towards major prizes and receiving a club wide ban from attending for two years. Due to some teams and clubs not following these rules, we have set up a separate team to manage this area during the festival. It’s just not worth the risk, as not only will the player/s in question have to sit out the rest of the event, but it can affect the whole club returning.

Teams can only play 2 dispensations per game, and only one can be on the field at a time (both must play half a game each)

Age groups means under the age as of 1st January 2023.

Note: Any players that have been dispensated by their provincial union to play up or down a grade can still play with their team at the festival, if they have played in the same team all year, have not played any rugby in a higher age group than the one they are playing in during the NZJRF and they meet the weight requirement.




Please know that there will be media on site and there will be film and camera footage taken at the event. By attending, everyone agrees that these images and videos may be used in promotional materials and possibly in the media. If you do not wish to have your team player/s to be filmed or have photos taken of them, please inform us before the event


We are excited to announce that we are developing a new app in partnership with Sporty https://www.sporty.co.nz The app will revolutionize the way team managers and attendees experience the NZJRF. In addition to enabling team managers to stay in touch with event management and coordinate safety processes, our app will also provide access to key event information, maps, news updates, and draw and results.


We have 3 marquee hire packages for teams that want them. Please book these by the 1st August!

  • Option 1: $1395.00 - 6m x 9m marquee - Team Name Sign - 2 trestle table - 10 chairs - 1 BBQ & Gas Bottle - Fire Extinguisher
  • Option 2: $1095.00 - 6m x 6m marquee - Team Name Sign - Trestle Table - 6 Chairs - BBQ & Gas Bottle - Fire Extinguisher
  • Option 3: $685.00 - 6m x 3m marquee - Team Name Sign - Trestle Table - 6 Chairs

Links to book and purchase will be sent out in April.


With so many kids at the event, the odd brother or sister sometimes goes off to watch their own game. If you have found or lost a child at the NZJRF, please report to the event Portacom. We will send a message out to locate their family as quickly as possible.

With so many kids at the event, it’s important to have a centralized platform that helps us stay connected and informed. The new app will make it easier than ever for team managers and attendees to navigate the event, stay up-to-date on news and results, and report lost or found children. We will be providing login details to allteam managers prior to the event and will offer a tutorial session during the team managers meeting to ensure everyone is comfortable with the app.

We are committed to ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all attendees at the NZJRF, and the new app is just one way we are doing that. We welcome any feedback or suggestions you may have, and look forward to seeing you at the event.


As you can imagine, managing parking for 5,000 people arriving and departing from a venue can be quite the operation. The Queenstown Events Centre has very limited parking available, so the best option is to carpool or arrange for a bus to drop off and pick up attendees. Please note that not every car will be able to park at the Events Centre, as parking space is limited and we must leave room for other members who use the venue. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in helping to make the event run smoothly for everyone involved.


All team marquees need to be set-up 10:00am - 5:00pm, Friday 1st September. If at any time you are driving onto the fields to set up, you must:

  • Drive below 10km/hour
  • Have your hazard lights on
  • Follow directions from our marshals in high vis vests
  • Be extremely careful of kids running about.

There are a few rules that we have with the marquee set ups:

  • Don’t set up your marquee within 5m of any of the playing fields
  • Avoid putting large pegs onto any ground markings. These indicate where the drainage pipes run and power lines run.
  • Follow the direction of any of our marshals. If you have any questions about it on the day, please don’t hesitate to ask our team.


If you have any queries about the festival during the event, please visit HQ which will be located at the top of the grandstand. A copy of the draw will also be available there.


There will be a good range of vendor food trucks consisting of a variety of food and beverages to keep you all energized during games. Eftpos is available at most vendors. We encourage players and supporters to bring water bottles as there will also be a free water station at the festival.