So to play Touch, you’ll need to know the rules! We try to keep these as basic as possible and these are listed below or available to download here. As always in rugby, the referee is the boss!

If you have any questions at all about the rules of the tournament, please email

Touch my Brum – Touch tournament rules

  • Game duration: Two 7-minute halves with a 1-minute half time.

  • Play starts and restarts at the centre with a “tap”. This is performed by moving the ball on the ground with the foot, free from the hands, and then picking it up. Penalties are performed by the same procedure. On both a re-start and penalty the defending team must retreat at least 10 metres.

  • Six players are allowed on the field at any one time, with six reserves off the field. Reserves can be continuously substituted at any time from one side of the field, through the substitution box, which will be marked. The substituting players must make contact with each other behind the sideline.

  • The squad size may be 15 players, but only 12 of those players can play in each match. The players must be identified at the start of the match..

  • A try is scored by grounding the ball on, or behind, the try-line. One point is awarded for each try.

  • A legal touch is on any part of the body (apart from the head and neck), clothing and ball, and must be made with two hands. A player should claim a touch by “Touch”. The referee is the sole judge of the touch and has the discretion to overrule a claim. (Play to the whistle). An attacking player may affect the touch by deliberately touching the opposition.

  • When touched, the player in possession must place the ball on the ground at the exact point of the touch. Play is re-started as soon as the “dummy half” touches the ball . This is known as a ROLLBALL. The ball may not roll more than a metre. A player may not perform a rollball unless touched.

  • Running on after a Touch. After a Touch has been made the player in Possession is required to stop, return to the Mark where the Touch occurred if the Mark has been over-run, and then perform a Rollball without delay. Players are not to run on or play on after a deliberate Touch has been made.

    A player is to perform a Rollball under the following circumstances:

  • When a Touch has been made

  • When Possession changes following the sixth Touch

  • When Possession changes due to the ball being dropped to the ground or being knocked Forward

  • When Possession changes due to an Infringement by an attacking player at a Penalty, a Tap or a Rollball

  • When Possession changes after the Half is Touched or when the Half places the ball on or over the Scoreline

  • When Possession changes due to a player in Possession touching the Sideline, Dead Ball Line or any ground outside the Field of Play before a Touch is made; or

  • When so directed by the Referee

  • The player picking up the ball (the dummy-half or acting half) may run, but if touched a changeover occurs. The dummy-half may not score and a changeover (rollball) will be awarded if this occurs.

  • After 6 touches possession changes. The attacking team begins play on the “first down”, starting with a “rollball”.

  • All defending players must retire more than 5 metres in line with the mark of touch. The defending team cannot move forward until play restarts, nor interfere with play whilst retreating. A restart occurs the moment the ball is tapped or the dummy-half touches the ball at the roll ball.

  • If the attacking player, when making a quick start, is touched by an off-side defender, play is allowed to continue. If an attacking side gains no advantage, a penalty tap for the first down will be given.

  • When a rollball is taken within 5 metres of the scoreline the defending players must retreat with both feet to behind their scoreline before they can make the touch. If a player is touched in the touchdown zone before grounding the ball the touch counts and play is restarted on the 5-metre line. At all times no team may delay the game by deliberately delaying a roll ball.

  • If the ball is dropped or if a player crosses the sideline before being touched, change of possession will occur. This is by means of a roll ball.

  • Possession does not change if a player drops the ball following a Touch and before a Rollball

  • Mishandled Ball. Play is to continue if a player mishandles the ball providing the ball does not go to ground, even if in an effort to gain control, the ball is accidentally knocked Forward

  • Intercepts. Intercepts by Onside defending players are allowed. Following an intercept, play continues until the first Touch is made, a Try is scored, or a stoppage occurs as a result of a Rule Infringement.

  • Dead Heat Catch. If an attacker and a defender both gain control of the ball at the same time, the Touch counts and the attacking team retains Possession providing it is not the sixth Touch.

  • A penalty is awarded for the following infringements; a forward pass, offside play, performing a roll ball over the mark, claiming a Touch when none was made, interfering with the roll ball (running around the ruck), passing the ball once touched and deliberate time wasting. There is no kicking of the ball in touch and this will be treated as a forward pass. The referee must give the exact mark from where the Tap Ball must be taken. The defending team must retire 10 metres from the mark or behind the try-line. A penalty is taken as a “tap and go” in the same manner as at the commencement of the game

  • If the defending team unsuccessfully intercepts the ball or it is intentionally knocked down, the attacking team starts from a “first down” roll ball.

  • The principle of advantage will be applied.

  • No obstruction, excessive contact, verbal abuse or foul play will be tolerated – the referee is sole judge. A penalty will be awarded in such cases and a player can receive 2 minutes in the SIN BIN. Serious or continual foul play of any nature will result in the player being sent off without a replacement.

In case of a draw

  • If a win is needed (i.e. in a final or knockout stage) and at the end of play the teams are drawing on points, a “drop-off” procedure will occur.

  • Each time will drop one player from the field, and play will recommence for a further two minutes

  • If there is still no winner at the end of this two minutes of play, teams will each drop another player and play for a further two minutes. This will occur until there is a winning team

  • If no team has won after the teams have played for two minutes with three players, a coin toss will decide the outcome

Additional rules concerning “The Touch”

Touched while Attempting Score. If a player places the ball on the ground on or over the Scoreline at the same time that a Touch is made, the Touch counts and a Touchdown is not awarded.

Touched beyond Scoreline. If a Touch is made on or over the Scoreline before the ball is grounded, the player in Possession is to move from that point towards the team’s Defending Scoreline, to a position five (5) metres from the team’s Attacking Scoreline and perform a Rollball, provided it is not the sixth Touch. If the Touched player is the Half, Possession changes and the game recommences with a Rollball at the same position.

Touched behind Defending Scoreline. If a player in Possession is Touched while on or behind their defending Scoreline, the Touch counts and play is restarted with a Rollball five (5) metres infield from where the player in Possession was Touched.