Love getting fit in summer and having fun with friends? Touch rugby is an energetic fun sport that can be played causally or competitively. Traditionally played in Australia and New Zealand, it is now expanding internationally. It originated from rugby league in the 1960s with the tackle being replaced by a touch. Get out of your comfortable couch, get out in the sun and have some fun playing touch rugby.
The main aim of touch is to score as many tries as possible and not allow the opposition to score any. Teams are generally split into three positions which are wings (the players are on either side of the field), links (players are on the insides of the wings) and middles (players are on the inside of the links). When your team is in attack the middles should set up the play to their team the best opportunity to score a try. The links and wings generally follow the directions of the middles. In deference the team has to defend which involves all the players to stop the other team from scoring a try.
It is easy to learn and can be played by both sexes. The mixed version is particularly popular with social players and is widely played in schools. It is generally played on a field but can also be seen played on the beach over summer. The balls are oval and slightly smaller than rugby league balls. There are 6 players from each team on a field and substitutions can be made at any time. The standard duration of a game is 40 minutes.
Now don’t worry if you’re not up with the touch lingo, below are some common terms that will make you sound like a professional.
Touch: It is performed by the defence team or any part of the body of the current ball carrier. The defensive player can shout ‘Touch’ which alerts everyone that the player has been touched. It forces the attacking team to stop and restart play.
Dummy Half: the dummy half is the player who receives the ball following the rollball.
Rollball: A rollball must be performed once a player in possession is touched by the opposition or after a turnover. It is performed by placing the ball on the mark on the ground and then rolling the ball backwards or stepping over it.
Dump: A dump is a quick rollball to further attacking opportunities.
General Touch Rules:
One of the best things about learning to play Touch Rugby is that there are not many rules. As long as you can carry and pass a ball you will be able to pick up the rules along the way.
The possession transfers to the other team:
-After the sixth touch or a try
-If acting half gets touched
-From an intercept or dropped ball
-If the referee indicates a turnover.
-Defending team must be at least 10 metres from the other team when the ball is tapped to start play
-If the defending team make a touch they must go back 5 metres from the mark on the ground where it occurred and stay there until the dummy half plays the ball. If they don’t they will be penalised
-If there is a penalty the defending team must go back at least 10 metres from the mark of penalty.
Granted to the non-defending team if
-The ball travels more than one metre after the rollball is performed
-Forward pass or obstruction
-The ball is passed after a touch has been made or if the player is offside
-A player does not perform a rollball on the mark
- An aggressive tackle
Touch is a fun sport to play anywhere and anytime. The rules are easy and the best way to learn is to start playing and pick up along the way. Get your friends together and get the ball over the opposition’s line as many times as you can to lead your team to victory.