About Underwater Rugby
Under water rugby was invented in Köln, Germany 1961 and became popular in the Nordic countries under the name, UW-Polo. Before the first Championship in 1978 the rules had to be merged (different number of players, 4 vs. 8, playing above the surface, etc). The game has since then evolved and now involved 13 counties at the latest championship.
Underwater rugby is played in a pool were the lenght is between 12-18m, the width is between 8-12m and the depth is between 3.5 - 5m. The game consists of 15 minutes halves with a five minutes half time break. Each team is allowed to take one 60 seconds time out per game. The game clock stops for any infringements during the game.
Each team has 15 players, 12 of who play in any one game and three possible substitutes. During the game 6 players are in the pool with 6 exchange players on the side who can be substituted at any time. The players wear fins, a diving mask and snorkel.
A plastic ball filled with salt water is used to score a goal. The goals are placed on the bottom of each side of the pool and are made of steel.
The teams start at each end of the pool with one hand on the wall. The ball is in the middle of the pool, on the bottom. When the referee sounds the buzzer both teams race to get possession of the ball.
There are different team configurations but generally a team has 2 forwards (center/right), 2 backs and 2 goalkeeper/left wing. The idea is to keep possession of the ball and outwit your opponents by using skill, speed, maneuverability and breath hold.
The rules of Underwater Rugby are fairly simple. Basically it is a contact sport, a player can attack another player if they have the ball or if the other player has the ball. Any infringement of the rules are judged by 2 referees in the water and one deck referee.
Kicks, hits, strangling or playing above the surface can be punished by warnings, free-throw or 2 minutes penalties. If the referees judge that an almost sure goal is stopped a penalty through can be awarded.
The competitions in Underwater Rugby range for club to National to Zone to World titles. There are also Championships for under 21 years national teams.
Underwater Rugby is played by all ages, shapes and sizes. Quite a few of the national team players have played over 20 years. It is a sport that does not cause the injuries from running, stopping suddenly or being run into but requires a lot of routine since there is not much communication under the surface and unless you know were your own players are your pass will not reach the right destination.
The game is the only true 3D-team sport were both the ball and the players can use all three dimensions.