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Touch Rugby

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Touch Rugby

Touch rugby is a fun, minimal contact sport for all ages and abilities focusing on fitness and skill. Tackles are replaced by touches. Touch rugby differs from rugby through the method of tackling which involves touching the opponents using their hands on any part of the body, clothing, or the ball.

See Also:
Rugby League, Rugby Union

An Overview of Touch Rugby

Touch Rugby League is a fast, skilful and action packed team sport, played in a fun and social atmosphere, without any of the tackling you see in a traditional game of Rugby.

The simple aim of Touch Rugby is to score a try by grounding the ball over the opposition's try line. To stop the other team from scoring you must touch the player with the ball. A legal touch is on any part of the body, clothing or ball and constitutes a tackle. After six touches the ball is handed over from the attacking team to the defending team.

How many players?

Normally the game is played six-a-side on a pitch measuring roughly 60m x 40m, but it's adaptable from four to nine-a-side (any more than that and you may as well get two games going). We recommend players younger than 13 play in a separate group.

Where do I play?

You can play touch in any open space, ideally on grass, so your local park or rugby club are perfect. It can be played indoors in sports halls but make sure touchlines (edges) and trylines (ends) are well away from walls (more than 5m). There are 270 official Touch Centres nationwide, so visit findrugby.com for your nearest.

What are the rules?

For anyone who hasn't played touch before, or perhaps is a little rusty, here is a basic outline of the rules:

• Play starts and restarts at the centre with a tap of the ball on the ground with the foot and then picking it up. Penalties are performed the same way

• Re-starts and penalties require the defending team to retreat 10 metres.

• A try is scored by grounding the ball on, or behind, the try-line. One point is awarded.

• A touch can be on any part of the body, clothing or the ball. A player claims the touch by raising a hand and shouting, "touch". We recommend that the touch takes place on the arm or shoulder.

• When touched, the player in possession must place the ball on the ground at the exact point of the touch. Play is re-started by stepping over the ball. This is known as a roll ball, when the ball must not roll more than a metre. A player may not perform a roll ball unless touched.

• After 6 touches possession changes to the other team. The attacking team begins play on the first down, starting with a roll ball.

• All defending players must retreat 5 metres in line with the mark of touch. The defending team cannot move forward until play restarts, nor interfere with play while retreating. A restart occurs the moment the ball is tapped or a player touches the ball at the roll ball.

• The ball must be passed backwards at all times. If passed forward or dropped, or if a player crosses the sideline before being touched, change of possession will occur by means of a roll ball.

• No kicking is allowed.

• If a ball is dropped or passed to the ground, a changeover of possession occurs where the ball first landed. A roll ball starts the game again.

• The player picking up the ball (known as the dummy-half) may run but if touched a changeover occurs. The dummy-half may not score and a changeover roll ball will be awarded if this occurs. This rule can be introduced as the game develops.

• So now you know the basics, you can go out and give it a go!


Playing Touch Rugby provides you with a healthy workout in a fun environment and help you to burn up to 610 calories per hour.


Cost depends on the club and session attended.


Visit the play touch rugby website to find your nearest touch rugby session.


  • Rugby Ball
  • Water bottle
  • Appropriate Clothing (shorts and a t shirt if it's good weather or tracksuit pants and jacket)
  • Footwear (trainers for indoors, but boots with studs or moulds for outside)

Find Touch Rugby Activities Near You

Use the search below to find local activities near you.

National Governing Bodies

England Touch Association

Contact Name
Gregg Cropper
Contact Email

Rugby Football Union

Contact Name
General Enquiries
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
0871 222 2120

Rugby League

Contact Name
General Enquiries
Contact Email
Contact Telephone
0844 477 7113

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