What is visually impaired rugby?

There are two formats of rugby suitable for blind and partially sighted people, called VI Rugby and Blind Rugby. Both formats cater for people across the spectrum of sight loss, from B1 to B5, and are based off the 7s format. The concept is the same as mainstream rugby – pass backwards and run forwards with the aim of scoring a try over the opposition’s try line.

Blind Rugby was developed by the Worcester Warriors Community Foundation. It involves 7 players on the pitch and a B1 channel. Only the two players with the greatest sight loss (B1) and the player with the most useful sight (B5) are allowed in this channel. Tackles are made by wrapping your arms around the opposition like a hug. The two teams each have a colour to call out so you can know where people are – for example the red team would call ‘red, red, red’ and the blue team would call ‘blue, blue, blue’.

VI Rugby was developed by the Change Foundation. There are 7 players on each team with varying levels of sight loss, and tackles are ‘touch’ only. The referee commentates the game so players know where the ball and players are at all times.

How do I get involved with visually impaired rugby?

To find your local blind or VI rugby offer please contact Alex Bassan or Chris Stephenson

Also check out the BBS Activity Finder:


Both formats of the game use an audible rugby ball which is coloured fluorescent yellow. Inflatable rugby posts are often used.

Pathways and Competition

Matches are organised between local VI and blind rugby clubs. There have been international matches to align with major championships, including VI rugby teams travelling to New Zealand for the 2017 Lions Tour and to Japan for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.


For information on how to get a classification, visit the BBS Classifications page here:

Useful links:

Blind Rugby:

VI Rugby: