Touch Rugby – an introduction
Touch rugby is a branch of traditional rugby. Touch rugby is played differently from traditional rugby. The central difference between traditional rugby and touch rugby is the elimination of tackling from the game. Rather than tackling the opponent, touch rugby players touch the opponent with their hands on any part of the opponent’s body, clothing, or the ball itself.
Eliminating the tackling, and using touch instead means that touch rugby is not a full-contact sport, like traditional rugby, but a limited contact sport.
Touch rugby is not just played as an alternative of the more dangerous traditional rugby, but it is even incorporated in traditional rugby as a training aid. This is particularly the case in schools and junior clubs where concerns about the wellbeing of the players are taken more seriously and where the players are more vulnerable.
Touch rugby is also seen as a more relaxed variant of traditional rugby, easier to play and to enjoy especially for new-comers. It also requires less equipment, and it it is easier to set up a game as it does not require goalposts. In the UK all genders engage in this variant of rugby, and mixed-gender games are rather popular.
Touch rugby has spread to many parts of the globe and is now a popular sport activity for many people of varying ages. Touch rugby is also not restricted to grass fields but is played in the coastal regions also, being enjoyed on beaches played barefoot. This version of touch rugby is affectionately termed ‘Beach Touch’.
There are other rules that apply when playing touch rugby aside from tackling being replaced with ‘touches’ instead. There are also much clearer rules in touch rugby, and the removal of several other features of traditional rugby details such as scrums, line outs, rucks, mauls and kicks.