New to Tag Rugby? Been introduced by a mate? Get to know the rules of our game here.


Basic Rules and How to Play

You only need to know a few rules start playing and enjoying Tag Rugby. For a visual guide to how to play Tag Rugby check out our video on the right. You can also check out a brief list of rules in the basics section at the bottom of the page.

The Rule Book

If you want to learn the rules in more depth you can check out the International Tag Federation Rule Book 2023. This contains a comprehensive list of the rules that are played worldwide including here in Britain. Also note that we have a few variations from the ITF rule book in Britain that can also be found below.

Try it first

Free Taster Sessions are the best way for new players to get to grips with the rules. Whether you are new to Rugby or a seasoned player, it’s an easy game to learn. Simply sign up and attend one of our sessions and we will go through the basics with you. If you can’t attend one, don’t worry as all new players in a league will receive a rules briefing from one of our friendly venue supervisors/referees before your first game.

  • The objective of the game is to be the team that has accumulated the most points at full time by scoring tries.
  • A try is scored by the attacking team when they place the ball on the ground on or over the try line.
  • A try is worth one point. In a mixed game, female tries are worth two points. There are no conversions in Tag Rugby.
  • Defenders must remove the ball carrier’s tag to stop their progress. The defender then holds up the tag and drops it to the ground marking where the player was tagged.
  • After a tag is made, play resumes by the attacker going back to where they were tagged, placing the ball on the ground and rolling it backwards with their foot. This is called a ‘play the ball’ or ‘roll ball’.
  • The defensive side is allowed one marker at the roll ball. The marker is a defender who is allowed to stand directly in front of the attacker within one metre during the roll ball.
  • The remainder of the defending team must be back seven metres from the attacking player during the roll ball and in line with the referee.
  • A dummy half is the attacking player who picks the ball up from the roll ball and distributes it. The dummy half is allowed to promote the ball whilst having only one or no tags on as long as they only take one step.
  • The defensive line – which will be back seven metres with the referee – can only move forward when the dummy half touches the ball. The dummy half can run with the ball and is allowed to be tagged. The dummy half can also score a try.
  • The marker must remain square with the attacking player rolling the ball and not move until the dummy half has touched the ball.
  • The dummy half has a limited time to pick up the ball after the roll ball. If delayed, the referee will start a three second count. If the ball has not been picked up by the end of the count, a turnover shall be awarded to the defending team and they will roll the ball from the same position. In NO instance is the marker allowed to dive on, pick up the ball or move around during the play the ball process until the dummy half has touched the ball. If this occurs, a penalty will be awarded to the attacking team. The referee may opt to start the 3 second count before the play the ball if the player who is playing the ball doesn’t play the ball immediately when returning to the mark.
  • Each team has six tags / plays to promote the ball before a changeover occurs and the defending team becomes the attacking team.
  • An attacker must stop and play a roll ball if he or she is caught in possession with only one tag or no tags on.
  • Players are not allowed to surrender. Surrendering is a voluntary tag, which will result in a penalty.
  • The ball is allowed to touch the ground as long as it is not propelled from hand/arm in a forward motion.
  • The game is minimal contact; an attacker cannot deliberately bump into a defender. A defender cannot change direction and move into an attacker’s path. Whoever initiates contact will be penalised. The onus is on the attacking player to avoid the defender.
  • The ball carrier is not allowed to protect his tag or fend off defenders. This is to say move a hand, elbow or the ball over the tags or push/knock away a defenders hand, accidentally as the defender is attempting to take off a tag.
  • If an attacker is tagged simultaneously to releasing the ball, the referee will call play on. (If the referee is unable to decide, the pass is allowed – play on. The advantage goes to attacking team).
  • If a ball carrier trips/falls and lands on their knees, it will be play on if a defender is not within tagging distance. If a ball carrier trips/falls and lands on their knees and a defender is within tagging distance, it will be deemed a tag.
  • A defender cannot dive on a loose ball passed, knocked back or knocked on by the attacking side.
  • A kicking team player can never dive, slip, or fall on a kicked ball.
  • A player can on releasing the ball from hands, kick the ball in any direction as long as it is not a ‘drop kick’ and as long as it stays below the height of the referee’s shoulder before bouncing.
  • A player can kick a loose ball as long as nobody from the opposing team are reaching for the ball with their hands and the kick goes stays the height of the referee’s shoulder before bouncing.

The following additional rules are used in venues playing extended rules. Any variations will be communicated locally. 8-a-side (mixed teams play with a maximum of four males on pitch).

  • Any player may take kick-offs.
  • 50/10s (See rule book for further detail of this rule).
  • 50/10s in open play must be kicked from behind your team’s kick-off line.
  • Bonus box.

Glossary – Substitute boxes will not be used (unless specified in a particular league/venue)

3.1 TTR leagues are played in variety of formats from 5-a-side to 8-a-side

3.4 Ringers are allowed in line with TTR Match regulations

3.6.1 Shirts are not regulated and do not need to be numbered

4.3 Bonus boxes (when used) can only be entered from the front or side for the bonus point to count

4.5 Drawn games that require a result will be decided by 1st try scorer unless otherwise stated in the competition guidelines

7 Female players to take Kick off (unless specified in a particular league/venue)

7.29 50/10 kicks will not be used (unless specified in a particular league/venue)

10.3 Sin Bin duration is at Referee discretion

10.8 Suspensions are not automatic but are at the discretion of the TTR Disciplinary Committee

10.8 Red cards come with a 5 point deduction from the match score from the team that incurred them