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.

2011 World Championship - Finland

2011 World Championship - Finland

The game

Underwater rugby is played in a pool were the length 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. Teams are made up of 15 players where 12 players compete in any single game and 3 are reserves.

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 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. It is a sport that causes few injuries. This sport is unique and requires all players to have a great understanding of one another as communication is limited under the water. 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.

Goalies and Backs defend the goal from attacks

Goalies and Backs defend the goal from attacks

World Championship Cali 2015

World Championship Cali 2015

underwater rugby in australia

Whilst UWR has been played around the world for decades, it is still a relatively new sport in Australia.

The first club was formed in 2007 by Celine Steinfeld at the University of New South Wales, who learned about the sport whilst on international student exchange in Sweden in 2004. Celine brought a backpack full of filled UWR balls from Sweden and in the early days, milk crates were used as makeshift goals. An annual tournament, Steinfeld Cup, is held in Sydney, named in honour of Celine's contribution to the establishment and growth of the sport in Australia.

There are clubs accross Australia and an estimated 300 underwater rugby players in Australia today.