Touch Rugby

For a brief overview of touch rugby, be sure to check out the IRB's "A Beginner's Guide to Rugby Union" - Modified Rugby, a Game for All

The online guide features an overview of rugby's variations and small-sided games.

Touch Simplified Playing Rules

1)   Scoring: A touchdown will be awarded when a player places the ball on or over the score line prior to being touched. A touchdown will be worth one point. The Dummy Half is not permitted to score touchdowns.

2) Substitution Box: Teams may interchange players at any time. Players coming on to the field may not do so until the player being replaced has come off. Substitutions must occur at or within the team’s substitution box.

3) Possession of the Ball: A change of possession shall occur when:–
*The ball goes to ground.
* The Dummy half is touched while in possession.
* The Dummy half places the ball in the Touchdown zone.
* The 6th Touch occurs.
* The player in possession steps on or over the boundary of the field of play.
* A roll ball is performed incorrectly.
* A tap is performed incorrectly.
At a change of possession play is restarted with a roll ball.

4) Passing: A player may pass, knock, throw or otherwise deliver the ball to any onside player in the attacking team. Passing forward is NOT permitted.

5)The Tap: The tap is taken by placing the ball on the ground on the mark, releasing the ball from both hands, tapping the ball with the foot a distance of not more than one metre and retrieving the ball cleanly. Any player from the attacking team may take the tap.

6) The Penalty: When a player/team is penalised the non offending team shall restart play with a tap. The tap is taken at the mark and the defending team must retire ten metres from the mark until the ball has been tapped.

Play restarts with a tap when the following infringements occur;
* Forward Pass
* Touch and Pass
* Roll ball performed off the mark
* Performing a roll ball prior to a touch being made
* Defenders offside at the roll ball (5 metres)
* Defenders offside at the tap (10 metres)
* Deliberately delaying play
* More than six players on the field
* Incorrect substitution
* Falsely claiming a touch
* Using more than the minimum force to make a touch
* Misconduct

7) Roll ball: A means of restarting play. Players must perform the roll ball on the mark while facing their opponent’s defending score line and rolling the ball backwards between their legs a distance of not more than one metre. Players must not delay performing the roll ball.

8) The Touch: Players from both teams are permitted to affect the touch. A touch is contact with any part of the body, ball, clothing or hair. Minimum force is to be used at all times. The team in possession is entitled to six touches. A touch is made with minimum of 1 hand. 

9) Touch and Pass: A player is not to pass the ball after a touch has been made.

10) Dummy Half: The dummy half is the person who picks up the ball after a team-mate has performed a roll ball.

11) Offside/Onside: After a touch has been made all defending players must retire 5 metres from the mark. Defenders cannot move forward until the dummy half has touched the ball.

12) Sideline: If a player with the ball touches or crosses the sideline s/he is deemed to be out of play and a change of possession occurs. Play restarts with a roll ball 5 metres in from where the player went out. If a touch is made before the player goes out, the touch counts.

13) Obstruction: Players of the attacking team are not to obstruct defending players from attempting to affect a touch. Defending players are not to obstruct/interfere with attacking players supporting the ball carrier.

14) The Field of Play: The field is 70m long (score line to score line) and 50m wide. Substitution boxes measuring 20m in length shall be situated on both sides of the field at halfway. The Touchdown zone is the area beyond the score line.

15) Team Composition: A team may consist of up to 14 players. A maximum of six (6) are allowed on the field at any one time. A minimum of four players are required for the match to be played.

16) The Toss: The captain winning the toss shall receive possession of the ball and a choice of direction and substitution box for the first half. The Referee will supervise the toss.

17) Duration: The match at Touch Tournament level shall be 20 minutes each way with a 3 minute break at half time. Organisations may alter the duration of matches to suit their particular requirements.

18) Extra Time and the Drop Off: When a match is drawn and a single winner is required, extra time is played and teams drop off players every two minutes until down to 3. The first team to score a Touchdown wins the match once both teams have had possession.

19) Player Attire: All team members must be correctly attired in team uniforms. Footwear with moulded soles is permitted. Bare feet, spikes and footwear with screw in studs are not permitted. Players are not to wear any item of jewellery that might be dangerous.

20) The Referee: The Referee is the sole judge on matters of fact and is required to adjudicate on the rules of the game during play. The Referee may impose any sanction necessary to control the match. All officials, players and coaches involved in the match are under the control of the Referee.

21) Foul Play will Not be Tolerated: Any foul play (the Referee being the sole judge) will result in the offending player being penalised, sent to the sin bin for a period of time, or being sent from the field for the remainder of the match, depending on the severity of the offence.

22) Mixed Teams: A mixed team is made up of a ratio of male/female players. The team is not permitted to field more than three male players or not less than one male player at any time.


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