What is touch rugby?

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Touch rugby may be an offshoot from the popular sport of rugby, but it’s starting to earn a name for itself as a sport in its own right.

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Touch rugby, or TOUCH, as it’s commonly known, is similar to standard rugby, except there is minimal contact. This means, there is no tackling, rucking, kicking, mauling or lineouts. Instead, players touch their opponents using their hands on any part of the person’s body, clothing or the ball.


Touch rugby has its roots in Australia, where the game was initially played as a warm-up to rugby in the 1960s. Now, it has become a sport in its own right, and is especially suited to players who want to learn rugby but prefer a safer, less contact-heavy sport. It’s estimated that around 15,000 adults play touch rugby in England alone. Many rugby league teams play touch rugby as part of their training sessions, and it’s commonly taught in schools and junior clubs to get younger audiences interested in the sport.

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Rules of the game

According to Play Touch Rugby League the aim of touch rugby is to score a try by grounding a ball over the opposition’s try line.

Like standard rugby, where rules of the game can be learned through a rugby drill video, like those at Rugby Drill Video, the ball is passed backwards and there are six opportunities to score.

Touching an opponent with the ball ensures the other team doesn’t score. The attacking team hands the ball over to the defending team after six touches.

Teams normally consist of around five or six players, and any number of substitutions can be used. Usually, the game is played in two, 20-minute halves. Teams can be mixed gender, with players of varying ability, and with minimal equipment needed, it’s a sport that can be played almost anywhere.

Skills gained

With the game of touch rugby focusing on honing ball handling skills, agility and running, it’s a fantastic way for males and females of any age to get fit. This sport is also great for learning evasion and support play, and developing the fundamentals of defence and attack, without the worry of getting hurt or injured in the process. Just because it may be considered a gentler version of rugby, doesn’t mean to say that the game is not fast paced or exciting.

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