Rules of Play
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Players and match officials must endeavor to ensure the IRB Laws of the Game, modified by the following playing rules, are observed when playing Tag Rugby.In Tag Rugby there is no tackling, no kicking, no scrums and no line-outs. It is the most basic form of rugby and is ideal for physical education classes and as an introduction to rugby.


The object of the game is to score a try (5 points) by placing the ball on or behind the opponents’ goal line. A penalty try will be awarded if a try would probably have been scored but for foul play by the defending team.

For the sake of safety, ball-carriers must remain on their feet at all times and they are not allowed to score a try by diving over the goal line. If a player grounds the ball while on the knees, the try should be allowed but, afterwards, all players should be reminded that they should stay on their feet. A player may not be prevented from grounding a ball by any physical contact (including placing a hand between ball and ground).

For safety reasons, where Tag Rugby is played indoors or in restricted areas, a try can be scored by the ball-carrier crossing the vertical plane of the goal line without grounding the ball. This allows players to have their head up and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

When a try is scored, the game is restarted by a free pass from the centre of the pitch by the non-scoring team.


Tag Rugby is played between teams of equal numbers of players, each team containing not more than seven players and not less than five players. Each team can have an agreed number of substitutes. Substituted players can be re-used at any time. Substitutions can only take place when the ball is ‘dead’ or at half time and always with the referee’s knowledge.


The ball can only be passed sideways or backwards through the air, not handed to another player. If the ball is handed to another player or passed or knocked forwards (towards the opponents’ dead-ball line) then a free pass is awarded to the non-infringing team, unless advantage occurs. In order to keep the game flowing, referees should play advantage wherever possible.

Free Pass

(a) A free pass is used to start or restart the match from the center of the halfway line at the beginning of each half, from the touch line (at the place where the ball went into touch) when the ball goes into touch, and from where the referee makes a mark when an infringement has taken place.

(b) At a free pass, the opponents must be 5 meters back from the mark. They cannot start moving forward until the ball leaves the hands of the passer. The player taking the free pass must start with the ball in both hands and, when instructed by the referee who will declare “Play”, pass the ball backwards through the air to a team-mate. For safety reasons, the receiver of the pass must not start more than 2 meters from the free pass mark. The player making the free pass must pass the ball and cannot just run with the ball when the referee declares “Play”.

(c) If an infringement takes place or the ball goes into touch over the goal line or within 5 meters of the goal line, then the free pass must be awarded to the non-infringing team 5 meters from the goal line. This gives more space for both attacking and defending teams.


A tag occurs when an opponent simultaneously touches the ball-carrier with both hands anywhere from the waist to the knees, and the referee declares “Tag”. The intent of the tag is just to make contact with the ball-carrier. The tag is not to be any form of push, shove, grab, pull, or block.

Foul Play

a) The ball-carrier may run and dodge potential taggers, but must not fend them off by using a hand or the ball.

b) Players must not intentionally make contact with opponents. Such contact includes, but is not limited to, pulling, pushing, running in front of or barging an opponent, or forcing the ball-carrier into touch. If such contact is made the referee must stop play, and the offender must be reminded of the non-contact nature of the game.

c) The ball must not be pulled from the ball-carrier’s grasp.

d) Players must not kick the ball.

e) The game is intended to be played with players on their feet with ball in hand. If the ball goes to ground, players can pick it up but they must not dive to the floor to recover the ball.In the event of foul play a free pass is awarded to the non-infringing team at the place of the infringement.