This guide examines how past players young and old as well as beginning players can benefit from playing touch rugby, as a sport on its own standing or in preparation for the contact form of the game. Touch rugby therefore appeals to everyone no matter your physical ability, size, gender or age. It also doesn't matter if you're a current or past player or if this is your first introduction to the game, touch rugby is easy to learn and you can progress at your own pace, energy and fitness level.
Here’s the basic elements of how touch rugby works:
• There are no scrums, nor rucks and mauls, and a “tackle” occurs when an opposing player touches the ball carrier with one hand.
• When touched, the ball carrier stops moving, places the ball between his feet, and rolls it backwards. One of the ball carrier's teammates will approach and pick the ball up, either running with it or passing it out.
• Possession gets transferred (change over) to the other team when a penalty occurs. For example when a pass is dropped, ball is passed forward, when the ball goes out of bounds or the team in possession fails to score within the allotted six downs ["touches"]
Touch rugby blends the restarting element of League rugby with the continuity element of Union rugby. This combination allows players to experience the two different codes of rugby, as well as get a feel for the game without having to worry about the physicality.
Working the Fundamentals
Here are a few examples of those fundamental laws and skills:
• Backwards passing: Arguably the most important law in the game is that the ball may only be passed backwards.
• Running in support: It’s important for the ball carrier to be able to pass the ball to his supporting players. Positional play and creating the overlap on the inside or outside of the ball carrier is where the skills come in play and enhances the enjoyment for all.
• Restarting play: During a game, the action briefly pauses when the ball carrier gets touched. When these pauses occur, both the attacking and defending teams will have to quickly re-arrange themselves before the action resumes — especially with regard to being onside and at the correct distance from the player restarting play.
• The defensive line: On defense, no skill is more important than the team-wide ability to get into, and stay in, a defensively-sound line across the field.
Touch rugby teaches young/new players all of these principles simultaneously, and the learning environment is both fun and safe.
The Rules of the Game
Simple rules of International Rules Touch Rugby
A touchdown will be awarded when a player places the ball on or over the scoreline prior to being touched. A touchdown will be worth one point. The Dummy Half is not permitted to score touchdowns.
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 rollball is performed incorrectly.
· a tap is performed incorrectly.
At a change of possession play is restarted with a rollball.
A player may pass, knock, throw or otherwise deliver the ball to any onside player in the attacking team. Passing forward is NOT permitted.
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.
When a player/team is penalized the non offending team shall restart play with a tap. The tap is taken at the mark and the defending team must retire ten meters from the mark until the ball has been tapped.
Play restarts with a tap when the following infringements occur;
· Forward Pass
· Touch and Pass
· Rollball performed off the mark
· Performing a rollball prior to a touch being made
· Defenders offside at the rollball (5 meters)
· Defenders offside at the tap (10 meters)
· 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
A means of restarting play. Players must perform the rollball on the mark while facing their opponent’s defending scoreline and rolling the ball backwards between their legs a distance of not more than one meter. Players must not delay performing the rollball.
Players from both teams are permitted to effect the touch. A touch is contact with any part of the body, ball, clothing or hair. A minimum of force is to be used at all times. The team in possession is entitled to 6 touches.
Touch and Pass/ Touch Pass
A player is not to pass the ball after a touch has been made.
The Dummy Half
The dummy half is the person who picks up the ball after a team-mate has performed a rollball.
After a touch has been made all defending players must retire 5 meters from the mark. Defenders cannot move forward until the dummy half has touched the ball.
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 rollball 5 meters in from where the player went out. If a touch is made before the player goes out, the touch counts.
Players of the attacking team are not to obstruct defending players from attempting to effect a touch. Defending players are not to obstruct/interfere with attacking players supporting the ball carrier.
The Field of Play
The field is 70m long (scoreline to scoreline) 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 scoreline.
A team may consist of up to 12 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.
All team members must be correctly attired in team uniforms. Footwear with molded soles are permitted. Bare feet, spikes and footwear with screw-in studs are not permitted. Players are not to wear any item of jewelery that might be dangerous.
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.
Foul Play will Not be Tolerated
Any foul play (the referee being the sole judge) will result in the offending player being penalized, 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 offense.
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. (for Tournaments)