Underwater Rugby An Odd Sports To Play

What do you know about underwater rugby? This article will provide you with some important information about the sport.

Rugby is considered a contact sport above water. Rugby is a hugely popular sport with millions of fans and leagues all over the globe. This full-contact team sport aims to get the ball in the opponent’s goal, which is underwater. Over the years, rugby has evolved into underwater rugby, and it is now being played by more people.

You might find underwater rugby a little strange. We’ll cover every aspect of underwater rugby that you should know.

What is Underwater Rugby?

Underwater rugby is one that’s played in an artificial swimming pool. It is a team sport in which two teams compete to outscore each other’s goalkeepers.

Although underwater rugby is a game played underwater, it is not the same as rugby football. Underwater rugby was developed in Cologne, Germany, in the 1960s. The object of the game is scoring by sending the slightly buoyant ball to the goal of the opposing team.

The swimming pool can accommodate between 12 and 18 meters in length and 8 to 12 meters in width. Each half lasts fifteen minutes, with the other lasting five minutes. It is divided into two halves. Two teams compete in this sport. Each team has six players in the pool and six substitutes. One team can have as many as fifteen players.

Since the 1980s, there have been international competitions in Underwater Rugby. There are many competitions, from club level to international.

What’s the Objective of Underwater Rugby

Using a playing ball, the purpose is to score as many goals as possible. Their Goalie will defend their goal and place the balls in the net. The 6 members of the team must abandon the ball to the opposing team and use the saltwater-filled playing ball to defend their goal.

Each team must perform the match underwater, and the players will try to score more points than their opponent.

The players of each team are usually positioned as either a forward, defender, or goalie.

History of Underwater Rugby

History of underwater rugby

In 1961, underwater rugby was started in Koln, Germany. It became very popular in the Nordic countries, where it is known as UW-Polo. The rules were merged before the 1978 first Championship. Since then, the game has evolved to include 13 countries at the most recent championship.

First Rules:

Grimmeisen continued to promote the idea of underwater rugby competition in order to give the sport serious competition. Im Hallenbad Süd in Mülheim/Ruhr, he set up the first-ever underwater rugby competition rules and the “Battle for the Golden Ball.”

The inaugural was held on November 5, 1965. Six clubs sent teams: DUC Bochum, DUC Dusseldorf, and DUC Duisburg. DUC Essen, DUC Duisburg and DUC Essen. TSC Delphin Lüdenscheid was the last. The rules allowed 8-player teams. DLRG Mülheim won against DUC Duisburg, for whom Dr. Grimmeisen was a member.

First Tournament:

Since then, the tournament has been held each year. This makes it the oldest tournament in all of sports history. Cologne’s version of the game was played only for a brief time in Cologne. It has since been forgotten. The Cologne team also tried underwater rugby.

To advertise the game internationally, Grimmeisen got in touch with the two most important WUF nations: CMAS (France) and the USSR. He also offered demo games and coverage to the media. Unfortunately, there was no interest. Only one French magazine for the sport, L’Equipe, published a brief article in its April 9, 1965 issue.

Union of German Sport Divers (VDST):

Official German Championships have been held since 1972 when the sport was officially recognized by the Union of German Sport Divers. (An unofficial German Championship took place in 1971.) Mulheim was the location of the first German Championship. The first German Champions were TSC Mulheim.

Origin Of Underwater Rugby

In 1961, underwater rugby was started in Koln, Germany. It became very popular in the Nordic countries, where it is known as UW-Polo. The rules were merged before the 1978 first Championship. Since then, the game has evolved to include 13 countries at the most recent championship.

First Underwater Ball:

Bersuda filled the first underwater ball with salt water. The ball’s density was higher than normal water, so it did not float to the surface but slowly sank to the bottom. Within certain limits, the salt solution could control the sink rate. Water polo balls are used because soccer balls are too big to be practical.

First Official Game:

The 1963 national games saw the debut of the “Cologne Discipline,” a competition sport that used an underwater ball. However, interest was low at the time.

Underwater Club:

Franz Josef Grimmeisen, a member of the German Underwater Club in Duisburg, made the decision to turn this activity into a competitive sport. Mulheim’s Germany Lifeguard Association (DLRG), which was founded by TSC Mulheim/Ruhr in 1967, had established a divers’ club and got in touch with DUC Duisburg about the game.

Grimmeisen organized the first-ever underwater rugby match with their support on Sunday, October 4, 1964. It was played between DUC Duisburg and DLRG Mulheim. DUC Duisburg won it 5-2.

Governing Bodies

  • World Underwater Federation

Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques is an international federation representing underwater sports and sciences. It oversees international recognition and training programs for recreational snorkelers and scuba divers.

It is also known as the World Underwater Federation in English and Confederacion Mundial de Actividades Subacuaticas in Spanish. It was founded in Monaco in January 1959, making it one of the oldest organizations for underwater diving.

CMAS’ founding member and key advocate were Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a French underwater explorer and diving pioneer. He was elected to be the inaugural President, with Luigi Ferraro (an Italian underwater pioneer), as Vice-President.

CMAS replaced the Comite des Sports Sous-Marins, the Underwater Sports Committee of the Confederation Internationale de la Peche Sportive CIPS (International Confederation of Sport Fishing).

How to Play Underwater Rugby?


The following equipment is required for underwater rugby players:

  • Diving mask, preferably a low profile, and large peripheral vision.
  • Snorkel.
  • To prevent injury, pair of fins without protruding clasps.
  • Water polo caps to signify your team or player number.
  • One pair of swim trunks (for men) and one-piece swimsuits (for women) that are both high-cut and well-fitting.

Players Can Also Choose to use the Following Equipment for Their Game:

  • To keep your fins in good condition, you can use fin keepers.
  • Neoprene socks or normal cotton socks can prevent blisters from wearing fins. They can also help improve the fit of fins.
  • Mouthguards.
  • Rash guards are a good way to prevent accidental scratches.

The Play Area

Underwater rugby can be played in a pool with depths between 3.5 and 5 meters. It has dimensions between 12-18 meters in length, 8-12 meters in width, and 12-18 meters in length.

Goals are two baskets that are sunk at each corner of the playing field.

The Positions

In the water, there are usually 12 players per team. Six players are present at any given time. There may be six substitutes who can swap with any other player during the game.

The goal of the game is to place a negatively buoyant, saltwater-filled rubber ball into the basket of an opposing team while protecting their own basket from attack. Once the ball reaches the basket’s rim, it is considered a goal.

A UWR team has three major positions: a forward, a back (or defender), and a goalkeeper (or goalie). Two players are usually assigned to each position. They must work together in order to maintain a balance between intensity and the need to breathe.

Every position has its own set of challenges and responsibilities.

The Forward

The Forward is responsible for carrying the ball and leading the attack on the opponent’s basket when attacking. The Forward is a defender who harasses opponents and takes advantage of opportunities to steal the ball while also covering any route that may be unprotected to the goal.

The Back / Defender

Defenders are responsible for protecting the Goalkeeper against attacks below the goal basket’s rim. They typically use their body length and fins in order to stop opponents from getting close. The offensive play has Defenders cycling in a middle range between the Goalkeepers and Forwards. One Defender assists with the attack.

The Goalie

When playing defense, the goalkeeper must keep the goal secure. They keep their back above the basket’s rim at all times. It is like a turtle upside down! One Goalkeeper assists in offensive play while the other protects against any quick breakaways.

Underwater Rugby is relatively new, which is one of its most exciting features. Each team has a different style of play and strategy to suit its players. There is no correct or incorrect way to play the game. Thus, roles and responsibilities might vary based on your opponent.

The Ball

A ball must descend at a rate between 1,000 and 1,250mm per second in order to be in compliance with the rules. The bladder is filled in with saltwater to create negative buoyancy. You can color the balls black, white, or completely red. There are two sizes for official balls. The ball must be between 490mm and 510mm in diameter for juniors and women and 520mm to 554mm for men.

Fitness Requirements

Underwater rugby at a competitive level is physically demanding. It requires endurance, strength, power, spatial awareness, and teamwork. But being physically strong does not guarantee success. Players must combine strategic and tactical play with their physical abilities.

Underwater rugby injuries are rare and mostly restricted to bruising or bleeding noses because the water will absorb and soften hits. It is almost impossible to drown, and there are at least 11 other lifeguards in the pool that can assist players who are struggling.

Underwater Rugby Rules

  • Each match lasts 15 minutes. Players can request a 60-second break.
  • All players must remain on the pool’s edge with one hand on it.
  • During the game, it is completely forbidden for the players to remove each other’s bathing costumes. If a player deliberately splashes water on the face of another player, uses foul language, or hides the ball, it is considered foul.
  • It is against the rules for players to grab any other player’s snorkel, fins, or mask.
  • The artificial pool in which the sport takes place should be between 3.5 and 5 meters deep.
  • Three referees are placed at each end of the pool, on the surface or bottom. They use buzzers to signal the water by using signals that can be heard inside the pool.
  • A player cannot be attacked by an attacker if they have both dived. The attacker has 45 seconds to score a goal during this time.
  • Each team has the right to request a timeout lasting up to one minute.
  • Two teams each have 15 players. Twelve of them go underwater, and the other three remain on the deck as substitutes.
  • Together with the referee, the designated team leader is responsible for promoting good behavior and managing the rules.
  • The designated referee can approve the replacement of the playing ball during a match.
  • Before the match begins, the ball must be placed on the line drawn in the middle of the water.
  • Underwater rugby balls have a minimum perimeter of 520 mm. It can be extended up to 540mm in the U-21 men’s event, while it should be between 490 and 510mm for women’s matches.
  • A penalty throw shootout is held if there is a tie during the match. Three throws are given to each team.
  • Referees will issue a time-based penalty if any team receives similar warnings.

Underwater Rugby World Championships

There are many competitions in Underwater Rugby. These range from club to national to zone to world titles. There are also Championships open to under-21-year-old national teams.

All ages and shapes can play underwater rugby. Many of the national team’s players have been playing for over 20 years. Although it is an easy sport to play, you won’t get any injuries from stopping abruptly or running. It also requires a lot more routine because there is very little communication below the surface. Your pass will not reach its destination if you don’t know where your players are.

The only true three-dimensional team sport in which both the ball and the players may move in all three dimensions is this game.

YearDateChampionshipLocation eventMen TeamsWomen TeamsNationsGold (M)Silver (M)Bronze (M)Gold (W)Silver (W)Bronze (W)
1980Jan. 1 – 21st World ChampionshipsMülheim, Germany77DenmarkGermanySwitzerland
1995May 12 – 142nd World ChampionshipsMalmö, Sweden66DenmarkGermanySwitzerland
1987May 28 – 303rd World ChampionshipsZürich, Switzerland77SwitzerlandDenmarkGermany
1991May 8 – 114th World ChampionshipsCopenhagen, Denmark969SwitzerlandNorwayGermanySwitzerlandNorwayGermany
1995Apr. 11 – 155th World ChampionshipsCali, Colombia10710SwitzerlandDenmarkNorwayNorwayGermanySwitzerland
1999May 25 – 306th World ChampionshipsEssen, Germany858SwitzerlandDenmarkGermanySwitzerlandNorwayGermany
2003May 27 – 317th World ChampionshipsFredericia, Denmark11711SwitzerlandNorwayFinlandGermanySwitzerlandColombia
2007Jul. 31 – Aug. 48th World Championships(Part of 1st CMAS Games)Bari, Italy13913FinlandSwitzerlandNorwayGermanySwitzerlandNorway
2011Aug. 15 – 219th World ChampionshipsHelsinki, Finland14714NorwayGermanySwitzerlandNorwaySwitzerlandGermany
2015Jul. 26 – Aug. 110th World ChampionshipsCali, Colombia12913NorwayGermanyColombiaGermanyNorwayColombia
2019Jul. 25 – Aug. 311th World ChampionshipsGraz, Austria171418ColombiaNorwayGermanyNorwayGermanyColombia
2023Jul. 7 – 1512th World ChampionshipsMontreal, Canada

How Will Underwater Rugby Improve Your Health?

Increases Your Flexibility

You are likely to be flexible when you’re an active participant in underwater rugby. Because you move your hands, legs, and other parts of your body in different ways, this is a sign that you are flexible. This makes your muscles stronger and more flexible.

Reduce Stress Levels

Stress is a common problem for many people. It is very common, and many people die from it.

The best way to reduce stress is to go to the gym or do other activities. Are they the only way to reduce stress? No! It can be considered an underwater sport. You can meditate by learning new breathing techniques.

Underwater rugby will help you forget about all your problems and reduce stress.

Reduces Your Chances of Developing Chronic Disorders

Many people are currently suffering from chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Poor lifestyle is often the cause. This is usually due to high cholesterol in your diet and a lack of exercise.

You will also eat a lot of calories. Underwater rugby will help you burn more calories and prevent you from getting such diseases.

Increases Concentration

You need to be alert underwater as one mistake can cause you serious injury. This will make you more attentive underwater. This is the same approach you should use in your everyday life.

Underwater rugby allows you to focus on your tasks and be more productive. This will allow you to achieve greater success in all you do.

Suitable For Those With Arthritis

Arthritis can cause stiff and painful joints. This can cause problems with movement and render you unable for heavy lifting. There are many ways to treat arthritis. However, these are only temporary solutions.

You can relieve your joint pain and swelling by diving, finswimming, or underwater rugby. Hydrotherapy is the professional name for this type of treatment.

Improved Blood Circulation

You won’t get muscle cramps if you have better blood circulation. You can have better blood circulation through sub-sea sports. You experience a higher-pressure gradient when you’re in the water than when you’re out of it.

High oxygen levels are necessary for your muscles to transport blood to every part of the body. Underwater rugby ensures that you are not deficient in oxygen when exercising.

How to Watch Underwater Rugby?

Local tournaments require that you jump in the pool wearing a snorkel and mask to view the game. Although this works, it is difficult. You can always watch it from the surface if you aren’t feeling adventurous or too cold.

It is much more enjoyable to watch official and international games. Most tournaments have live-streaming feeds. With the help of waterproof cameras and fast Internet connections, you can simply open your browser and go to YouTube.


Where can I Play Underwater Rugby?

The UNSW team was the first Underwater Rugby team to be established in Australia. Currently, at least one team plays in every state in Australia. The UNSW Underwater Rugby team has met regularly in Sydney, Australia, for competitions and training sessions since 2006.

Who Organizes Underwater Rugby?

UNSW Underwater Rugby is the club that runs Underwater Rugby in Sydney. Anyone can join. The cost is $12 for regular members and $12/$6 for UNSW students (non-Arc/Arc).

How Much Does it Cost to Play?

The best value sport is underwater rugby. Your first session is completely free. The cost of Wednesday night training at $6 (or $12 for non-Arc members), and deep pool sessions at $12 are available after that. A block of training can be purchased – typically on a monthly basis.

The price will vary depending on how many sessions are included, but it will save you money over the casual rates.

What Should I Bring?

Your swimmers, towel, and water bottle are essential. Bring your snorkel, mask, or fins. It is good to have gear that fits well. No problem if you don’t have the gear; the club can lend it to you. Most guys prefer to play on a budget, but boardies are acceptable. A one-piece swimsuit is recommended for girls.

Is Underwater Rugby a Rough Sport?

Yes, underwater rugby is a little bit rough sport. But if you make proper safety preparations, it won’t hurt you. While underwater rugby is a contact sport, the water provides a great cushion for impact and makes it difficult to get hurt. Water polo caps are worn with ear protectors to protect against burst eardrums. Safety is a priority in underwater rugby.

Is Underwater Rugby Dangerous?

Underwater rugby can be dangerous for uninformed and unskilled participants who are at risk from swimming and breath-holding. That’s why the events strictly enforce the rules of underwater rugby. These rules are intended to prevent violence and drowning.

Although this contact sport is not for everyone, water absorbs quite a bit of impact, so collision risk in water is significantly lower. The most common injuries we sustain are finger sprains, scrapes, and bruises.

Is Underwater Rugby Hard?

Yes, underwater rugby is hard if you’re not a good swimmer, water polo player, free diver, or someone who enjoys being in the water in general. The biggest challenges for experienced surface swimmers are learning to fin-swim and snorkel.

Some people find it difficult to play a three-dimensional sport. These initial obstacles can take several months to overcome, according to our experience. To perform at a high level, you need to have the following skills: cardiovascular fitness, stamina and strength, speed, speed, ball handling, teamwork, strategy, and endurance. Mastery of any pursuit can take years.

Wrapping Up

You should look into getting into underwater rugby if you’re interested. This sport is great fun, and it’s a wonderful community. Although it’s not yet a popular sport, it’s not unlikely that it will soon be. You shouldn’t miss the next thrilling underwater rugby match.

Previous articleThe Top 10 Ugliest American Football Players
Next articlePeter Dinklage Wife Net Worth, Biography, Career
Al Amin Sagor is simply a movie freak who is passionate about writing entertainment content. He loves to watch web series, and movies and write on celebrity gossip or trendy movie news. He also covers media and entertainment news on various online platforms. He is one of the "Jewel" of The News Titan.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here