The basics of Touch rugby and starting in Japan

August 6th, 2010By Category: Events

If you are interested in playing touch rugby, but have never seen or heard from it before, this will provide you with some background to the sport and how you can get involved while living in Japan.

Touch rugby originated from rugby league in the 60s and since has developed into a sport of its own right – including holding its own World Cup where the next will be played in Scotland in 2011.

The game itself is very simple, requiring very little equipment and it’s very easy to learn. In fact, it’s so easy to pick up that first time players will understand the basics the first time they play. Also, unlike the rugby you have likely seen on television, touch-rugby is a total non-contact sport, so there is a very small chance of injury. This is the main reason why it has become a popular social game – not only with the guys, but with mixed-gender and women-only games too!

Although there is a very strong competitive scene in touch rugby globally, the game is often played informally, similar to a pick-up game of soccer or basketball.

A game features two teams of six players. The usual game time for touch rugby at social tournaments in Japan is 15 minutes. A game would start with the attacking team tapping the ball on the half way line and then proceeding to run(move) towards the goal line with six passes needed in order to score a try.

The main aim of the game is to score as many “tries” as possible and prevent the opposition from scoring. When you score a try in touch rugby, it’s the same way as scoring a try in rugby union or rugby league where you have to put downward pressure on the ball within the in-goal area. Each try is worth one point and unlike the versions of rugby, kicking is not permitted so there is only one, simple way to score. Win by scoring the most tries by the end of the game.

If the attacking team does not score a try by the time the sixth touch is made, then the ball is given to the defending team and they become the attacking side – working together to score a try at the other end of the field. If however, the ball is dropped, passed forward or a player is touched and then makes a pass during the attacking teams 6 touches, this will be seen as an infringement and the defending side will receive the ball.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the player to first receive the ball after a touch is made is known as the dummy half. They cannot score a try, nor can they be caught with the ball. If they do, the ball will be given to the defending team. There you have it, that’s a basic over view of the game. Do you feel like you can play now?

Find out more at Fun With Touch Tokyo.

Author of this article

Glenn Lambert

Glenn Lambert is a kiwi who has been living and working in Japan since 2002, initially in Saitama, but can now be found in Tokyo itself. Glenn founded Fun with Touch and is an active sportsman having played basketball, OZ Tag and rugby union in Japan.

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  • Hi,

    Great guys, and I am so interested in playing touch rugby, Thanks guys for the information about that The basics of Touch rugby and starting in Japan. its really great news guys.

    Thanks for this information.

  • Mono_locco says:

    lol at this….it's so easy to play touch footy….. same rules as footy apply you just have to touch the person thats it and or take away their flag they have hanging of their side….. it really depends what country they have adapted from as it the way its played tends to change a little.


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