Tag Rugby

Tag Rugby

Tag Rugby, also known as rippa rugby, flag rugby league or flag rugby, is a non-contact team game in which each player wears a belt that has two velcro tags attached to it, or shorts with velcro patches. The mode of play is based on rugby league with many similarities to touch rugby. Attacking players attempt to dodge, evade and pass a rugby ball while defenders attempt to prevent them scoring by "tagging" - pulling a velcro attached tag from the ball carrier, rather than a full contact tackle. Tag rugby is used in development and training by the rugby league community, but it is also used by the rugby union community as a development game / training alternative.

Tag Rugby comes in several forms with OzTag and Mini Tag being some of the better known variations. Tag Rugby has the highest participation levels in Ireland and Australia.


Tag Rugby variants


OzTag is a non-contact form of rugby league. Former St George Dragons halfback Perry Haddock founded the sport while coaching the 1992 St George Jersey Flegg side.

Games are usually played over 40 minutes a half. The normal dimensions of the field are 70 metres x 50 metres. Eight players in each team are allowed on the field at a time.

The attacking team has six plays or tags to try and score a try or take the ball down field as close to the line as possible. Like most versions of tag rugby, a tackle is made when one of two velcro stripes, known as tags, is removed from the ball carrier's shorts.

Players can pass and kick the ball and tries are worth one point and there are no conversions. Kicking in general play is allowed but it must: be below shoulder height of the referee and on zero count with no play-the-ball (from playing a knock-on advantage for instance) or after the 4th tag.

Mini Tag

Like all forms of Tag Rugby Mini Tag is historically based on rugby league, but under-7s Mini Tag has some rugby union features, like an unlimited tackle count. It does not have an equivalent of the six tags law and instead tackled players must off-load the ball. Under-8s Mini Tag on the other hand, retains a six tag law (RFU Continuum 3.5.g) which requires that on the 7th tag the referee will stop the game and give the ball to the other side. The restart is with a free pass.

Mini Tag is currently the only form of rugby permitted by the English RFU for under-8 and under-7 age groups. Mini Tag requires the use of a size 3 rugby ball and does not allow scrums, line-outs or kicking.

Tag rugby worldwide


Since its beginnings in 1992, OzTag (or Walla Tag) has grown in popularity across Australia in urban and rural areas. Twenty-eight teams participated in the first season in summer 1992-1993 playing in the Cronulla and St George areas of Sydney. Today, more than 36,000 players take part in OzTag competitions nationally.

There are Oztag competitions running all over Australia, with the largest areas located in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. Competing teams are in six divisions: women's open, mixed, men's open and men's over-30s, 35s, and 40s.


Tag Rugby was pioneered by PE Teacher Nick Leonard in England in 1990 following an idea given to by an ex service man called Barry Johns. He described to Nick how navy servicemen on board ship or whilst playing on hard grounds overseas used the removal by defenders of bits of cord tucked down players shorts to simulate a tackle in rugby. Nick Leonard then devised a set of rules suitable for children using belts and coloured ribbons attached by Velcro and organised the first ever schools Tag Rugby festival at UCP Marjons, Plymouth in 1991. This annual event celebrated its 20th festival in 2011.

In 2003-4, the RFU introduced Mini Tag into its junior development program called The Three Stages of the Rugby Continuum, replacing touch rugby.

Tag Rugby also developed via IMBRL (Inter Message Board Rugby League) where message boards representing clubs took part in tournaments and friendly matches. Some developed into full- contact teams, others became tag teams and others folded. In 2008, a Tag Merit League was established based on the RL Merit League format. The league was developed with the intention to encourage new clubs outside the older IMBRL circuit to play tag rugby league. The Merit League operates on normal rugby league laws with tags taking the place of tackles.

In 2009 London based Try Tag Rugby began running floodlit adult Autumn and Winter Tag Rugby competitions at the Finsbury Park Athletics stadium in North London & Wandsworth Common in south-west London. In 2010 spring competitions took place at Willesden and Bermondsey, whilst summer competitions took place at Finsbury Park, Gladstone Park, King George's Park, Tooting Bec Common, Wormwood Scrubs and Southwark Park. Try Tag Rugby is the only organisation in London which runs social rugby under floodlights outside of summer as leagues ran in Rotherhithe, Bermondsey, Willesden and Finsbury Park in Autumn & Winter 2010. A charity Tag Rugby festival in conjunction with GOAL called the GOAL London Tag Rugby Championships took place on August 29, 2010. A repeat event is planned for 2011. Try Tag Rugby is hosting Oztag in July 2011 when the Australians visit London for two separate 3 match series against the London residents and Try Tag Rugby England. Try Tag Rugby play their London competitions under Oztag rules.[1]

International Tag Rugby League Festival

After the huge success of the inaugural Rochdale Swarm International Mixed Tag Rugby League Festivals, the event returns for its third year on the 28th of May 2011 for what promises to be an even bigger event.

In 2009 and 2010 Teams from France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales entered alongside a Teams drawn from Rochdale Fijians and the local Asian Community, plus Kiwi and Aussie exiles. This was complemented by teams from all across England The Festival was a non-contact, mixed gender 7-a-side competition, where at least 2 of the 7 are from the opposite sex.

With an unprecedented demand for places it is the biggest ever adult Tag Rugby League Festival held in the UK. [2]

The Pig 'n' Porter Tag Rugby festival, the largest in the world, is held each July on the grounds of Old Crescent Rugby Club, Limerick, Ireland. Over 120 teams take part in the weekend event. The popularity of the event can also be attributed to the aprés tag festivities which include a hog roast and live music.

The Malta International Tag Rugby Festival was launched in 2011 with seven teams competing in the inaugural edition from England, Scotland, France and the Maltese islands of Malta and Gozo. The festival is expected to make its mark as the hottest tag rugby festival in Europe with its next event in the 2012 summer. London's Try Tag Rugby All-Stars won the 2011 edition, Montpellier finished second. The festival is opened with a pub crawl through the historic three cities and completed with a Boat Party at the famous Blue Lagoon.


The Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) introduced Adult Tag Rugby to Ireland in 2000 in association with the Irish Rugby Football Union when the first ever league was run for 36 teams. Their league is known as Volvic Tag [3]. The Irish Rugby Football Union [4] began to run its own tag rugby leagues in 2007 following a split with ITRA. Astro Sports Leagues [5] in 2004 began the only weeknight tag rugby leagues that run 4 seasons of the year - called Rip Rugby. Rip Rugby is mixed tag rugby played on the latest generation astro-turf pitches - avoiding the issue of games cancelled due to waterlogged pitches.

The sport has become particularly popular in Ireland and in 2007, over 28,000 players in the two programmes making up more than 1,700 teams took part in Tag Rugby at 30 venues all over the country. This increased in 2008 and 2009.

There are four major types of Tag Rugby played there. They include men-only leagues, women-only leagues, mixed leagues (in which a minimum of three players must be female), and vets league (over-35s). Each type is usually played in four different ability categories ranging from A league (the most competitive) through B, C, and beginners league (the most inexperienced and usually the least competitive). Veterans leagues comprise of teams of players all over 35 yrs old.

Many companies pay for or sponsor company teams as a method of recreation hence this format of rugby's popularity and its non-contact nature makes it playable for mixed sex and age teams and inter-office competitions.

The Pig 'n' Porter Festival is held each July in Old Crescent RFC, Limerick.

New Zealand

In 2003 the New Zealand Rugby Union established "Rippa rugby" - a variant of tag rugby - as a developmental game for young children, and for primary school tournaments.[1]

KIWITAG is the original administration of Tag Rugby in New Zealand.[citation needed]

  • 1993-98 The game is played in pockets throughout the country – however no governance structure, common goals or standard rules in place
  • 2005–2007 Auckland Kiwitag Inc. established and recognised by the majority of the sports participants as the interim governing body of Tag Rugby throughout New Zealand.
  • 2008-2009 - New committee and chairman elected. Thus ensuring that the original established administration continues to govern the sport of Tag Rugby.

Event Management Achievements ►7 Auckland Regional Tournaments (2000–07) ►4 Invitational Supertag Tournaments(2004–07) ►3 Pacifika Tournaments (2004–07) ►1 Trans Tasman series (2006) ►1 World Cup (2007) ►1st National Tournament Feb 2008 - Taupo ►2nd Nationals Tournament Feb 2022 - Auckland ►3rd Nationals Auckland Feb 2010


Pacific Island Tag Association- refer to KIWITAG.COM


OzTag is known as flag rugby league or flag rugby in the United States. The American version of the rules is known as Eagletag.

See also

External links





United States


  1. ^ Small Blacks Rippa rugby

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