- ZERO TOLERANCE. The most important rule about tag rugby is to have fun and enjoy yourself! Remember that both the opposition and the referee are also there to enjoy the game. ITRA implements a strict Zero Tolerance attitude on abuse towards referees, opposition players, team mates etc. Yellow and/or red cards will be issued immediately if there is any abuse during the game.
- SQUAD NUMBERS. ITRA Tag Rugby is played between two teams of 7 players on a pitch, roughly half the size of a normal soccer/GAA/rugby pitch. Your team can have a maximum of 12 players on your squad each game, allowing you make unlimited substitutions throughout the match. (For one day events, there is no limit to the number of players on your squad – but remember that the more players in your squad, the less time your have on the pitch!)
- GIRL ARE KEY! In mixed tag rugby, you must have at least 3 female players on the pitch at all times, including injuries and sin binning. While a guy scoring a try is worth just one point, a girl try is worth three so involving all the females on your team is hugely important.
- ABSOLUTELY NO CONTACT. ITRA Tag Rugby is a strict non-contact game. There are no scrums or line outs and tackling is strictly forbidden. With a strict Zero Tolerance attitude towards contact, the referee will stop immediately play and award a penalty against the team who initiated the contact. Both accidental/clumsy and deliberate/reckless contact will be penalised. The referee may also award a penalty to the defending team, if two players are running towards the ball and the referee predicts that contact may occur. Remember to run at spaces, not faces!
- SAFETY. Jewellery, watches, baseball caps, long fingernails, glasses etc are not allowed for your own, and your opponents’, safety. Players should wear the appropriate footwear for the weather conditions and venue with astro turf boots recommended in most instances. Runners may not be suitable in wet weather. T-shirts should also be tucked into your shorts to prevent finger injuries and from illegally blocking tags.
- WARM UP / COOL DOWN. To help prevent injuries, we recommend at least 10 minutes warm up (with stretches) before your game and 10 minutes cool down after the match. You can find sample exercise on the back of the Team Registration Form, which you will get from your VM each match day when you arrive at the venue.
- MATCH SHORTS & TAGS. For health and safety reasons, every player must wear a pair of tag shorts. These are special shorts without pockets that have a Velcro patch on each hip onto which you attach your match tags. Tag shorts from all reputable suppliers, including Tagrugby,com (01 6636369), are allowed in ITRA leagues. Your Venue Manager will also have match shorts for sale at the venue. Before your game, the referee will give 7 pairs of match tags to each team captain. The captain distributes the tags to the starting seven. You must have a tag on each hip before you receive the ball – the referee will call “Tag” and stop play if you receive the ball with just one tag on.
- KICKING. To start the match (or to restart after a try), a female player kicks off from the halfway line. The ball must travel at least 10 metres. Grubber kicks along the ground can be used at any stage, provided the ball remains below the referee’s shoulder height before bouncing.
- LENGTH OF GAMES. Matches in regular ITRA leagues usually last 45 minutes - 2 x 20 minute halves and 5 minutes for half-time. Matches in one day events are shorter
- ATTACKING AIM. When attaching, your team’s aim is to touch the ball down in the scoring zone, usually marked with yellow cones, without being “tagged” by an opponent. You try to evade the defenders by running, passing or kicking the ball...but never by blocking your tags with the ball or your hands!
- 5 TAGS TO SCORE. The attacking team has 5 “tag lives” to score a try. The referee calls “Tag 1” the first time an attacking player with the ball is tagged by the defending team. The next time one of your team is “tagged”, the referee calls “Tag 2” and so on until your team is tagged 5 times. If you do not score by the sixth tag, a “turnover” is awarded by the ref, which means that the other team receives possession. They then attempt to score a try using their 5 tag lives.
- ROLL BALL - ATTACKING. A “roll ball” is the main way to restart play and takes place after a tag has been made. If you have been “tagged” by a defender, you must stop, return to the mark where the tag took place and roll the ball through your legs to your team mate who should be standing directly behind you. This player behind you, who collects the roll ball, is called the “dummy half”. You cannot in any way block or impede the actions of the opposing player (“Marker”), directly in front of you.
- DUMMY HALF. Once the ball is rolled, the dummy half has three seconds to play it. They must decide to pass the ball to a team mate or run themselves.
- SCORING A TRY. To score a try, simply touch the ball down in the scoring zone (area marked with usually yellow cones). You are only allowed dive to score a try if there are no defenders close by.
- PASSING. You cannot pass the ball forward. If this happens or you accidentally drop the ball forward onto the ground, the game will be stopped by the referee, who will declare a “turnover”. Your team loses possession and play restarts with a roll ball awarded to opposition.
- “BALL AWAY!” If an attacking player is tagged at the same time as they are passing the ball, the advantage is given to the attacking team. The referee therefore calls “ball away” and play continues.
- PASSING IN THE SCORING ZONE. If a player is trying to pass to a team mate, they must do so before entering the scoring zone. If they pass to a team mate while in the scoring zone, the try is disallowed and a further tag and roll ball five metres out is awarded to the attacking team – please note it is not a turnover (possession is not awarded to the defending team).
- PENALTY RESTART. To restart the game after being awarded a penalty, you go to the mark where the penalty occurred and simply tap the ball against your foot and run or pass.
- OUT OF PLAY. If the ball hits off you and goes out over the sideline, the referee will stop play and award a “turnover” (possession) and roll ball to the opposition.
- PIROUETTE. Swiveling 360 degrees to avoid being tagged is a simple, yet very effective, attacking skill. If executing a pirouette, you cannot make contact with a defender – otherwise it is a penalty against you for initiating the contact.
- BLOCKING TAGS. Players cannot use the ball, their hands or their t-shirt to block their tags. If you do block your tag, the referee will stop play and award a penalty to the opposition.
- NO DIVING ON THE BALL. For safety reasons, you cannot dive on the ball when it is loose on the ground. In this occurs, the referee will stop play and award possession to the defending team.
- DEFENSIVE AIM. The defending team is trying to stop the opposition from scoring a try by grabbing a tag from the shorts of the attacking player who is carrying the ball. A “tag” simulates a tackle and requires great hand-eye coordination.
- MAKING A TAG. When you tag an opponent, you should hold the tag in the air so that the referee can see it and then place it on the ground where the ‘tag’ was made. This is now the “mark” from where the attacking “roll ball” takes place.
- DIVING TAG. One of the most spectacular skills of the game is a diving tag. You can dive to pull a tag off an attacking player, as long as you do not make contact with them. If you make contact, the referee will award a penalty against you.
- ROLL BALL - DEFENDING. A “roll ball” is the main way to restart play and takes place after a tag has been made. One defender called the “marker” can stand in front of the player rolling the ball, one metre away. The rest of the defenders must stand 7 metres behind the roll ball, in line with the referee. No defender can move until either:
- the ball is touched by the dummy half; or
- three seconds, as called by the referee, have passed.
This means that the ball is not immediately in play when it is rolled through the attacking player’s legs – it is only in play, when it is touched by their team mate or after 3 seconds.
- OFFSIDE. Every time there is a roll ball, all players in the defence, excluding the marker, must quickly retreat 7 metres, in line with the referee. This is to give the attacking team enough space to start an attack. Failure to retreat 7 metres on a roll ball will result in the referee stopping the game and awarding a penalty against the defending team for offside. Repeated failure to retreat the requisite distance may result in the referee sending the offending player to the sin bin (yellow card).
- DEFENDING A PENALTY. If a penalty is awarded, the defending team must retreat 10 metres back, in line with the referee. Repeated failure to retreat the requisite distance may result in the referee sending the offending player to the sin bin (yellow card).