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Rules of Wheelchair Rugby

Quad rugby is a unique physical team sport played by male and female athletes. Wheelchair rugby rules allow for some paralyzing disabilities such as tetraplegia or quadriplegia.

QUAD RUGBY RULES: The IWRF govern the sport-specific wheelchair rugby equipment and modifications.

They also oversee the basic rules for playing a game of rugby while seated in a quad chair.

The rules of wheelchair rugby combine the regulatory laws of basketball rules, team handball, and ice hockey.

The sport is a joint initiative between the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation and the International Rugby Board. But, wheelchair rugby rules and regulations were originally invented in 1977 in Canada.

At that time, many people referred to the game as ‘Murderball Rules‘. That was because of its wide perception as an aggressive activity.

Wheelchair Rugby is now a Paralympic sport. It gets played by tetraplegic athletes in more than 25 countries worldwide. It is also under development in many others.

Wheelchair Rugby Rules and Regulations

Aim of Wheelchair Quad Rugby Game

Wheelchair rugby is a game contested by two team of chair-bound athletes. The simple aim is to score the most points by the end of play.

Playing Court

The playing arena is often a hardwood basketball court with specific markings. In fact, wheelchair basketball rules use the same type of playing court.

Indoor court markings include baselines, sidelines, and a mid-court line. There are also two key (goal) areas and center circle.

Wheelchair Rugby Rules for Equipment

Players compete in customized sport-specific manual chairs. They must be under the IWRF Official Wheelchair Rules of the game. Competitors must also play with an official rugby game ball.

Game Duration

Quad Rugby: Wheelchair Rugby Rules and RegulationsAs a rule, regulation games take approximately 115 minutes to complete. They get played in four 8-minute quarters. There should be a 2-minute break at the end of the first and third quarters with a 5-minute break at half time.

Each team can have four 30-second time-outs (called by players on the floor). They also get two 1-minute time-outs that may get called from the team’s bench.

A two-minute break is within the rules and taken between overtime periods. Both teams get an extra 30-second timeout for each overtime period played.

The Rules of Wheelchair Rugby Players

There can be 12 players in each team but a only 4 can play on the court at one time. Players get assigned a numerical sport class. The class defines a measurement of their functional ability.

The numbers range from one of seven different increments. They get calculated in 0.5 increases from 0.5 (the least function) to 3.5 (the highest level of function).

General Quad Rugby Rules and Regulations

  • Team players get up to 40 seconds to attempt scoring a goal on each possession of the ball. An exception would be when there is less time on the game clock.
  • Players have 10 seconds to inbound the ball after a goal gets scored or after any stoppage in play.
  • When a team inbounds the ball in their own end they have 12 seconds to advance the ball over the mid-court line.
  • You cannot remain in the opposing team’s key area (goal area) for more than 10 seconds while in control of the ball.
  • Any player in possession of the ball must dribble or pass it at least once every 10 seconds.
  • The defending team must have no more than three players in their key area while defending it.
  • Wheelchair rugby is a contact sport. Chair to chair contact is playing within the rules. But, physical body contact between players is against the rules.
  • Another illegal infringement is striking another player’s wheelchair. The danger areas is anywhere behind the axle of the rear wheel. Contact in is not allowed if it causes the chair to rotate in a horizontal or vertical direction.

Scoring in Wheelchair Rugby Rules

You score points by carrying the ball over your opposing team’s goal line. At least two wheels of the wheelchair must cross the goal line for a successful goal. The player who scores must also have firm control of the ball.

Winning a Game of Quad Rugby

The team with most points after regulation play is the winner. An overtime period of 3 minutes gets played in the event of a tie. Additional overtime periods take place until a team gets determined to have won the game.

Wheelchair Rugby Equipment

A series of checks should be undertaken to ensure that all manual quad equipment is wheelchair ready and appropriate to play rugby.

Quad Rugby Chairs

Athletes with tetraplegia compete in manual wheelchairs. The design of the chairs has adaptations for playing in competitions. IWRF official international rules of the sport include detailed specifications for the chairs. This helps to ensure safety and fairness in the game.

Newcomers to the sport can use any manual wheelchair. But it must meet legal requirements to get considered acceptable for competitive play.

Rugby Wheelchairs for Offensive Play

Offensive chairs for players are set up for speed and mobility. They usually contain a front bumper and wings. That helps to prevent other wheelchairs from hooking it. These chairs get used by players with more function or a numerical sport class between 2.0 and 3.5.

Rugby Wheelchairs for Defensive Play

Defensive wheelchairs contain bumpers set up to hook and hold other players. These wheelchairs are most often used by players with less function or a numerical sport class between 0.5 and 1.5.


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