Palm Beach Touch Rugby Club

The Basics

What Is Touch Rugby?

Touch rugby is a fast paced, fun, field game. All you need is a ball, a field and some friends. The game is played with 6 players from each side on the field at a time. But with very frequent substitutions, teams usually consist of 12 to 14 players. There are no forward passes, kicking, tackling or blocking and the game is minimal contact. Any touch using above minimal force is not allowed.

The object of the game is to advance the ball (slightly larger but same shape as a football) downfield (kind of like a football field) by passing the ball sideways or backwards between teammates who attempt to evade opposition defenders and score touchdowns by touching the ball to the ground on or over the goal line. Each touchdown is worth 1 point if scored by a male player, 2 points if scored by a female player. The defenders attempt to stop the attacking team by touching the body, clothing or hair of the player with the ball. After 6 touches, the defenders get the ball and the attackers become defenders. Simple right? The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

We will be adding video clips and photos soon! In the mean time, you can click this link to see some great clips on Touch Rugby Video Links


Touch rugby began in Australia in the 1960’s as a social game and training for a game called rugby league but has expanded throughout the world such that the Touch World Cup now attracts up to 20 nations including the USA. The United States holds its own National Championship tournament yearly. The next one is this November in Phoenix, Arizona.

Why Touch Rugby?

Touch Rugby is suitable for both beginners and experienced players. You can play in either men's, women's or mixed divisions.

Touch Rugby is a minimal contact recreational sport that is about playing the game on the field and also the social atmosphere afterwards.

Touch Rugby is a fun game for the local park or even the beach, it is easy to learn and a great way to get in shape.

Touch Rugby can also be used for simple dodging, chasing and warm-up activities.

Understanding the Game
Object of the Game
The object of the game is for each team to score touchdowns and to prevent the opposition from scoring. The ball may be passed, knocked or handed between onside players of the attacking team who may in turn run or otherwise move with the ball in an attempt to gain territorial advantage and score.

Defending players prevent the attacking team from gaining a territorial advantage by touching the ball carrier. Either defending or attacking players may initiate the touch.

Start of Game
The team that wins the coin toss chooses the direction of play and must start with a tap from the middle of the field; the defending team must be back 10 meters for the start of play and after each touchdown.

Duration of Game
Duration of the game can be varied to suit your local circumstances. But as a guide try 2x 10-minute halves

Size of the Field
Size of the field can vary but the game will generally be played on half a rugby field (playing across the field). Posts are not required to play Touch Rugby.

Number of Players
Teams can consist of up to a maximum of 14 players, 6 on the field at anyone time, it is suggested that teams of between 8 and 10 helps to encourage maximum involvement and activity.

Method of Scoring
A touchdown (worth 1 point) is awarded when an attacking player places the ball on the ground, on or over the defending teams scoreline; after a team scores, the play begins again with a tap in the middle of the field by the non scoring team.

The person who takes the role of dummy half can cross the try-line but not score.

The Basics
The Touch
Players of both defending and attacking teams are to use the minimum force necessary to affect the touch. A touch can be made on any part of the person, their clothing or the ball.

After a touch has been affected, the player in possession is required to stop, return to the mark where the touch occurred if the mark has been over-run, and perform a Rollball without delay.

After being touched 6 times the ball is handed over to the other side.

If a touch is considered to be too strong a penalty will be awarded against the offending team.

The dummy half (the person who receives the ball from the player starting the game) is not allowed to be caught while in possession of the ball. If the dummy half is caught with the ball, possession is handed over to the opposition who will recommence play with a Rollball

The Rollball
The Rollball is affected by the attacking player positioning on the mark, facing the defenders scoreline, standing parallel to the sidelines, and rolling the ball backwards along the ground between their feet. If the ball is rolled more than 1 meter a penalty will be awarded to the opposition.

Voluntary Rollball
Vountary Rollball is when the player is not touched and rolls the ball between their legs, this is not allowed and will result in a penalty to the opposition.

The Penalty
If someone is penalised their team must retreat 10 meters.

A penalty is taken by placing the ball on the ground, letting go of the ball, touching the ball with your foot and picking up the ball.

A forward Pass is when the ball is passed in front of the player who possessed the ball. In this situation the ruling will be a penalty.
A Touch and Pass is when the person who is touched then passes the ball. Again the ruling will be a penalty.

An attacking player is offside when that player is forward of another attacking player who has possession or who last had possession of the ball.

A defending player is offside when that player has not retreated the required 5 meters (Rollball) or 10 meters (Penalty and restart of play after touchdowns) at recommencement of play.

For all offside incidents the opposition will be awarded a penalty.

General Rules
Over Stepping or Off the Mark
Occurs when the player who has been touched goes past the point where they were touched. In this case a penalty will be awarded to the opposition

Ball to Ground
When the ball goes to ground for any reason, possession changes and the game is recommenced with a Rollball.

Shepherding or Obstruction
Will result in a penalty being awarded to the opposition

Happens at recommencement of play when a defender does not retreat straight back 5 meters to an on-side position and thereby obstructs the attacking player. This will result in a penalty being awarded to the opposition.

Minor offences
Bickering with refs, shouldering, leg trips etc... the referee will initiate an automatic substitute between the offending player and another team player in the sub box.

Repeated offences
For repeated offences the referee will yellowcard the player and have that player move to the sin bin for a period of five minutes without replacement (sin bin - oppositions deadball line).

Foul play of any nature (the referee being the sole judge)
Will result in the offending player being sent from the field without replacement.

General Principles of Attack
In Attack
The aim of the game is to score more touchdowns than the opposition; this is achieved by advancing towards the try line. At times it can be tactically advantageous to move towards the sideline to enable more room for further attacking plays

In Defence
When defending try to deny your opponents time and space by moving forward and making the touch. The faster you move up on the attacking team the less advancement toward your try line they will make.

Support the Ball Carrier at all Times
Close support of the ball carrier allows more options in attack and means possession can be maintained. Close support also means no ground needs to be lost by having to pass the ball a long way backwards to a team-mate. Remember a pass directly sideways is allowed and can often be the most effective pass

Interchange players as much as possible
A fresh set of legs on the field can be the difference between winning and losing. Look to interchange your players while on attack and in the area of the interchange box. Once you have made a touchdown it is good to get a whole new set of players out there to keep up the intensity.