Youth rugby is played under two sets of rules - touch rugby and tackle rugby.
U9/U11 - Touch rugby is available to boys and girls in the U9 and U11 age groups. PRU Youth League rules require that U9/U11 teams only play touch rugby.
U13/U15/U17 - Touch and/or Tackle rugby is available to boys and girls in the U13, U15, and 17 age groups. PRU Youth League rules permit U13/U15/U17 teams to play either touch or tackle rugby, depending on the club’s preferences. Number of players interested, youth sport organization (eg, CYA) requirements, and other considerations may factor into the decision to offer touch and/or tackle rugby to these age groups.
The PRU Youth League decided that tackle rugby will not be played by U9/U11 players, with the exception that a 10 y/o may play in the U13 age group (that is, with 11 and 12 y/o’s) after consultation among the player, parents, and coach.
Touch rugby used to be called non-contact rugby to distinguish it from tackle rugby. We simply call it touch rugby now to recognize that the players do bump into each other and fall to the ground, but the emphasis is on the two-hand tag (replacing the tackle) and purposeful collisions between players are against the rules. Injuries are no more common than in any other youth sport (eg, soccer).
Tackle rugby is played under rule modifications designed to promote safety in consideration of the player’s age, size, and physical and mental maturity. Both tacklers and ball carriers are taught how to tackle and be tackled safely. In particular, rugby tackles are quite different from football tackles. Like touch rugby, as paradoxical as it no doubt sounds to those new to rugby, tackle rugby is safe, even to the point of a lower injury rate than other sports. Both coaches and referees emphasize safe play during practices and games.
When dangerous or even potentially dangerous play occurs, mainly due to the player forgetting what he’s been taught, players are discouraged from that style of play and appropriately penalized (admonishments, penalties, temporary suspensions, and if necessary in the extreme, disciplinary action; fortunately, the rugby "spirit" prevails and even at the most competitive levels of rugby, foul play is uncommon).