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New tag laws for 2023

The International Tag Federation has confirmed two new laws for 2023, both of which come into effect in Ireland immediately.


Tag shorts must be correct-fitting and kept at waist level. They must not be clearly too large for the player. This is in response to a common tactic at elite level whereby players wear shorts which are too big, and wear them lower than the hips. This creates the appearance that their shorts are being pulled, in order to draw a penalty from an otherwise legal effort to take the tag.

Sanction: The referee will insist that the player leaves the pitch and may return upon changing into an appropriately sized pair.


The ITF has introduced the terminology of "negative play", whereby a player receives the ball and stops or retreats in order to entice the opposition forward. This commonly results in a "standoff" as a result of the attacking team declining to play.

Sanction: If a player initiatives negative play, then the referee will call upon them to "play now" and start a three-second count. if the player does not attack within the 3 seconds, a tag will be called. If a player of team repeatedly initiates negative play, they shall be warned first and then penalised.

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