Beginner’s Guide to Touch Rugby: Your Path to a Fun and Inclusive Game

Touch Rugby is a fantastic, fast-paced sport that combines the excitement of rugby with a reduced contact element, making it accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re new to the sport or a seasoned athlete looking for a change of pace, this comprehensive beginner’s guide will help you understand the basics, rules, strategies, and the wonderful world of Touch Rugby.

Chapter 1: Introduction to Touch Rugby

What Is Touch Rugby?

Touch Rugby is a non-contact version of rugby that focuses on skill, agility, and teamwork. In this game, players aim to score points by touching their opponent’s body, usually with a light touch of the hand, while carrying the ball. It’s an exhilarating sport that combines fitness, strategy, and camaraderie.

Chapter 2: Rules and Regulations

Basic Rules

  • No Contact: In Touch Rugby, there is absolutely no tackling or physical contact. Players must use their hands to touch their opponents.
  • Six Touches: Each team is allowed six touches or tackles to try and score a try (touchdown). After the sixth touch, possession is turned over to the opposing team.
  • The Six-Touch Count: The referee counts the touches as players make them. After the sixth touch, the referee will signal a turnover.
  • Roll Ball: After a touch, the attacking player must roll the ball backward with their foot to initiate play. The defending team must retreat 5 meters from the roll ball.


  • Try: A try is scored when a player with possession crosses the opponent’s try line and places the ball on the ground.
  • Tapping Down: To score a try, a player must touch the ball down with a controlled touch on or behind the try line.


  • Unlimited Substitutions: Teams can make substitutions freely during stoppages in play.

Offside and Penalties

  • Offside Line: Players from the defending team must retreat 5 meters from the location of the roll ball.
  • Penalties: Penalties can result from offside play, not retreating the required distance, or foul play. The non-offending team receives a fresh set of six touches.

Chapter 3: Playing Positions and Roles

Playing Positions

  • Middles: These players typically play in the center of the field and are involved in both attack and defense.
  • Links: Links are positioned on the outside and help to spread the play wide. They are also responsible for initiating the touch count.
  • Wings: Wings are positioned on the edges of the field and are often the fastest players on the team. They play a crucial role in scoring tries.

Basic Roles

  • Attack: Attackers aim to create scoring opportunities for their team, often using quick passes, dummy runs, and evasive maneuvers.
  • Defense: Defenders work to prevent the attacking team from scoring by making touches and ensuring players remain onside.

Chapter 4: Strategies and Techniques

Basic Strategies

  • Quick Passing: Ball movement is crucial in Touch Rugby. Teams often use quick, accurate passes to exploit gaps in the defense.
  • Switch Plays: Switching direction quickly can catch the opposition off guard and create space for attackers.
  • Dummies and Fakes: Effective use of dummies and fakes can wrong-foot defenders and create opportunities for try-scoring.
  • Spacing: Maintaining proper spacing on the field ensures that attackers have options and defenders are not drawn out of position.

Defensive Techniques

  • Touch Technique: Defenders aim to make a touch with a light and controlled touch of the hand, usually targeting the midsection or back.
  • Shutting Down Space: Effective defenders work together to close gaps and force attackers into making errors.

Chapter 5: Getting Started in Touch Rugby


  • Ball: A standard rugby ball is used in Touch Rugby.
  • Footwear: Comfortable running shoes or rugby boots with molded studs are recommended.
  • Clothing: Lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for running and physical activity.

Finding a Team

  • Local Clubs: Many areas have Touch Rugby clubs or leagues where you can join a team and participate in organized matches and tournaments.
  • Social Groups: Informal, social touch rugby games are often organized by groups of friends or coworkers.

Training and Skill Development

  • Basic Skills: Start with fundamental skills like passing, catching, and evading opponents.
  • Fitness: Touch Rugby requires speed and endurance, so regular fitness training is essential.
  • Game Understanding: Learn the rules and strategies of the game to enhance your performance.

Chapter 6: Benefits of Playing Touch Rugby

Physical Fitness

  • Cardiovascular Health: Touch Rugby provides an excellent cardiovascular workout.
  • Speed and Agility: The game enhances your speed, agility, and hand-eye coordination.

Teamwork and Socialization

  • Team Bonding: Touch Rugby fosters teamwork and camaraderie among players.
  • Social Interaction: It’s a great way to meet new people and form lasting friendships.


  • Accessible: Touch Rugby is inclusive and suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Fun and Enjoyment

  • Excitement: The fast-paced nature of the game keeps players engaged and entertained.

Chapter 7: Conclusion

Touch Rugby offers an exciting and inclusive way to enjoy the spirit of rugby without the physical contact. With the rules, positions, strategies, and benefits covered in this beginner’s guide, you’re well-equipped to step onto the field and begin your journey in this thrilling sport. Whether you’re looking for a new fitness challenge, a social activity, or a competitive outlet, Touch Rugby has something to offer everyone. So, grab a ball, round up some friends, and get ready to experience the excitement of Touch Rugby firsthand.


1. What is Touch Rugby?

Touch Rugby is a modified version of rugby that eliminates tackling and physical contact. Instead, players score points by making a light touch with their hand on an opponent while carrying the ball.

2. How many players are on a Touch Rugby team?

A standard Touch Rugby team consists of six players on the field at a time, divided into three attackers and three defenders. There are often substitutes available for rotation.

3. Is Touch Rugby suitable for beginners?

Absolutely! Touch Rugby is known for its inclusivity and is an excellent choice for beginners. It’s easy to pick up the basics, and you can gradually develop your skills and understanding of the game.

4. Do I need any special equipment to play Touch Rugby?

The equipment needed for Touch Rugby is minimal. You’ll require a standard rugby ball, suitable footwear (running shoes or rugby boots with molded studs), and comfortable sports clothing. Mouthguards and headgear are optional.

5. Are there different variations of Touch Rugby?

Yes, there are various forms of Touch Rugby, including mixed-gender, social, and competitive leagues. These variations may have slightly different rules, but the fundamental concept of non-contact play remains the same.

6. What are the basic rules of Touch Rugby?

Some core rules of Touch Rugby include no tackling or physical contact, a six-touch count before possession changes, and a roll ball to restart play after a touch. The rules may vary slightly depending on the level of play and competition.

7. How is scoring in Touch Rugby different from rugby?

In Touch Rugby, points are scored by grounding the ball over the opponent’s try line. The ball must be touched down with a controlled touch to register a try.

8. Can you explain the “six-touch count”?

The “six-touch count” refers to the maximum number of touches (touches made by defenders) that the attacking team is allowed before possession is turned over to the opposition. After the sixth touch, the attacking team performs a roll ball to restart play.

9. Are there positions in Touch Rugby like in rugby?

Yes, Touch Rugby typically has positions similar to rugby, including middles (center-field players), links (outer-field players), and wings (wide-field players). Each position has distinct roles in both attack and defense.

10. Where can I find a Touch Rugby team or league to join?

You can find Touch Rugby teams and leagues through local sports clubs, social groups, and community organizations. Many areas have organized Touch Rugby competitions that welcome new players.

11. Is Touch Rugby suitable for children and youth players?

Yes, Touch Rugby is an excellent sport for children and youth, as it emphasizes skill development, teamwork, and physical fitness without the risk of injury from contact. There are youth-specific Touch Rugby programs available in many regions.

12. What are the fitness benefits of playing Touch Rugby?

Touch Rugby provides cardiovascular exercise, improves agility, enhances hand-eye coordination, and promotes overall fitness. It’s an excellent way to stay active and healthy.

13. Is Touch Rugby played internationally?

Yes, Touch Rugby has a growing international presence, with various countries participating in international competitions and world championships. It’s a sport enjoyed by people around the world.

14. Can I play Touch Rugby for fun, or is it only for competitive players?

Touch Rugby caters to players of all skill levels and aspirations. You can enjoy it casually with friends and family in a social setting or pursue it competitively in organized leagues and tournaments.

15. Are there age restrictions for playing Touch Rugby?

Touch Rugby is suitable for players of all ages. It’s played at youth, adult, and senior levels, making it an inclusive sport for everyone.

16. How do I learn the rules and strategies of Touch Rugby?

Learning the rules and strategies of Touch Rugby can be accomplished through local clubs, coaches, or by participating in introductory sessions. Many resources, including rulebooks and instructional videos, are available online to help you get started.

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