RFU REGULATION 15 – AGE GRADE RUGBY Appendix 2 Under 8s
Effective from 1 August 2016
UNDER 8s RULES OF PLAY (Tag Rugby)
Players and match officials must ensure that the following Rules of Play and RFU Regulation 15 www.englandrugby.com/governance/regulations are observed when playing at and Under 8.
These Under 8s Rules of Play set out below are mandatory for clubs and schools, and replace the previous Under 8s Rules of Play in their entirety.
Any terms defined in these Rules shall have the meanings set out in the World Rugby
Laws of the Game.
The key elements of the Under 8s Rules of Play are:
• Team numbers: a maximum of 6-a-side
• Maximum pitch size: 45 metres x 22 metres
• Ball Size: 3
• Maximum minutes each half: 10
• Scoring: Players permitted to go to ground to score tries
• No tackling
• No kicking, scrums or lineouts
a) The object of the game is to score a try by placing the ball with
downward pressure on or behind the opponents’ goal line. A penalty
try is awarded if a try would probably have been scored but for an
infringement by an opponent.
b) For safety reasons, where Tag Rugby is played indoors or in restricted
areas, a try can be scored by the ball carrier crossing the vertical
plane of the goal line without grounding the ball. This allows players
to have their head up and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
c) The sanction for all infringements is initially a free pass (see Rule 5).
a) Tag Rugby is played between teams of equal numbers of players,
each team containing a maximum of six players on the pitch at any
b) Rolling substitutions are permitted and substituted players can
return at any time. Substitutions can only take place when the ball is
dead and always with the referee’s permission.
c) Coaches are not permitted on the pitch when the game is in play and
the referee is encouraged to advise and guide the teams and players.
3. Pitch Size:
a) The maximum pitch size is 45 metres by 22 metres, plus 5 metres for
each in-goal area.
b) The referee and coaches may agree to reduce the pitch sizes provided
that they agree it is safe to do so.
c) Adjacent pitches should be no closer than 5 metres.
a) The ball may only be passed sideways or backwards (but not
forwards) through the air and may not be handed to another player.
c) If the ball is handed to another player or passed or knocked forwards
towards the opponents’ dead ball line then a free pass is awarded
to the non-offending team, unless advantage occurs to the nonoffending
d) In order to keep the game flowing, referees should play advantage
5. Free Passes:
a) The sanction for all infringements is initially a free pass.
b) A free pass is also awarded:
i. To start the match at the beginning of each half from the
centre of the pitch.
ii. From the side of the pitch when the ball or ball carrier
goes into touch at the point where the ball or ball carrier
went out of play.
iii. From where the referee makes a mark when an
infringement has taken place.
iv. After a try is scored, to restart the match by the nonscoring
team from the centre of the pitch.
v. When the ball is pulled from the ball carrier’s grasp.
c) At a free pass, the passer must start with the ball in both hands and,
when the referee calls “Play”, pass the ball backwards through the
air to a member of their team. For safety reasons, no player may run
until the pass is made.
d) i. At a free pass, the opposition must be 7 metres back from
the mark. They cannot start moving forward until the ball
leaves the hands of the player passing the ball.
ii. If an infringement takes place or the ball goes into touch
over the goal line or within 7 metres of the goal line, then
the free pass must be awarded to the non-offending side 7
metres from the goal line. This gives more space for both
attacking and defending teams to play in.
6. The Tag:
a) All players must wear a tag belt around their waist with two tags
attached to it by Velcro positioned over each hip. Tag belts are to be
securely fastened and any excess belt is to be tucked away so that
this cannot be pulled. Tag belts must be worn outside of shirts and
not obscured in any way. Tags must not be wrapped around the belt
or otherwise to prevent them from being pulled off.
b) The standard dimensions for a tag are 38cms in length by 5cms in
width although slight variations of a few millimetres are permitted.
They should be made of flexible plastic or plastic/canvas material.
Tags are generally provided in red, blue, green and yellow and must
sufficiently stand out against the player’s strip. The tags must not
be the same colour as the players’ shorts or shirts. Tags must be
positioned on the side of the hips (not at the front or back).
c) A “Tag” is the removal of one or two tags from the ball carrier’s belt.
Only the ball carrier can be tagged. The ball carrier can run and
dodge potential taggers but cannot fend them off using their hands
or the ball and cannot guard or shield their tags in any way. The ball
cannot be pulled out of the ball carrier’s hands at any time.
d) If a player does not have two tags on their belt, one on each hip,
they will be penalised if they become a ball carrier or if they tag
an opponent and a free pass will be awarded to the non-offending
team at the place of infringement (i.e. where the infringement was
ACTIONS BY THE BALL CARRIER:
e) When the ball carrier is tagged the ball must be passed to a team
mate within 3 seconds. The ball carrier must attempt to stop as
soon as possible; within approximately 3 strides, but the ball can
be passed in the act of stopping. If the pass takes longer than 3
seconds or the player takes more than approximately 3 strides a free
pass is awarded to the non-offending team at the place where the tag
f) After a ball carrier has been tagged, that player must go to the tagger,
retrieve their tag and place it back on their belt before re-joining
play. If the player continues to play and influences the game without
collecting their tag, a free pass is awarded to the non-offending team
at the place of infringement (i.e. the point at which that player had
g) Players are however only allowed one step to score a try after being
h) If the ball carrier is tagged whilst standing inside the opponents’ in goal area they must ground the ball immediately in order to score.
Referees may assist by advising the ball carrier “Touch the ball down
and I’ll award the try”, or similar.
ACTIONS BY THE TAGGER:
j) When a tag is made, the tagger must stop running, hold the tag
above their head and shout, “Tag”. At this stage the referee must
call, “Tag – Pass”.
k) If the ball carrier stops running within 1 metre of the tagger, the
tagger must move back towards their own goal line, at least 1 metre,
to allow room for the ball to be passed. If the tagger fails to retire at
least 1 metre before re-joining the game, they are to be considered
offside and a free pass will be awarded to the non-offending team at
the place of infringement (i.e. where the infringement was noticed).
l) Once the ball has been passed, the tagger must hand back the tag
to the player and cannot re-join the match until this has been done.
If a tagger continues to play and influences the match with an
opponent’s tag in their hand, or throws it to the floor, a free pass is
awarded to the non-offending team at the place of infringement.
m) i. To reward good defence and to promote the ball carrier’s
team keeping the ball alive by passing the ball before
being tagged, the team in possession of the ball will only
be allowed to be tagged a maximum of 6 times before
scoring a try. At the 7th tag, the referee will stop the game
and award a free pass to the other team at the point that
the tag took place. If the 7th tag takes place one step from
the goal line and the ball is grounded, the try will be
disallowed and the opposition will be given the ball for a
free pass 7 metres out from the goal line, in line with the
point the goal line was crossed.
ii. Coaches of the teams may agree to reduce the maximum
number of allowable tags to provide more of a challenge
to their players, both in attack and defence. If coaches
cannot agree then the 7th tag ruling will apply.
Offside only occurs at the time of the tag where the offside line is through
the centre of the ball except for the tagger for whom it is 1 metre further
back. When a tag is made, all the other players from the tagger’s team must
attempt to retire towards their own goal line until they are behind the ball.
If a player, in an offside position, intercepts, prevents or slows down a pass from the tagged player to a team mate, a free pass will be awarded to the
non-offending team. A player can, however, run from an onside position to
intercept a pass before it reaches the intended receiver.
8. Ball on the Ground:
a) Players of Tag Rugby must be encouraged to stay on their feet, with
the ball in hand. If the ball goes to ground, players can pick it up, run
and pass but they must not dive to the floor to recover the ball.
b) If the ball is passed other than forward and goes to ground, play will
continue and either team may pick up the ball. If the passed ball
rolls into touch a free pass will be taken from the touchline by the
opponents of the team who the ball touched last.
i. If the ball is passed or knocked forward (other than as
set out in (d)(ii) below), a free pass is awarded to the
non-offending team unless advantage occurs to the nonoffending
ii. Where the ball is on the ground over the goal line:
• If a team drop the ball over their own goal line, and
their opponents fall on it or touch it down a try shall be
• If a team drop the ball over their own goal line, and
then fall on it or touch it down a free pass shall be
awarded to the attacking team 7 metres from the goal
• If the team in possession drop the ball forward over the
goal line, and there is no advantage to their opponents,
a free pass shall be awarded to the defending team 7
metres from the goal line.
• If the team in possession drop the ball backwards over
the goal line and then touch it down or fall on it a
try shall be awarded.
• If the team team in possession team drop the ball
backwards over the goal line and their opponents touch
the ball down or fall on it, a free pass shall be awarded
to the defending team 7 metres out from the goal line.
In Tag Rugby, there is an emphasis on running with the ball, evasion,
running in support of the ball carrier, passing and running to tag the ball
carrier. The following are not permitted:
a) Tackling or contact: The only contact allowed between the two teams
is the removal of a tag from the belt of the ball carrier. Any other
type of contact on the ball carrier, such as shirt pulling, running in
front of or barging the ball carrier, forcing the ball carrier into touch,
etc must be penalised with a free pass and the players concerned
reminded of the rules;
b) Kicking of any kind;
c) Hand off or fend off (a hand off being the placing of an open
palmed hand against an opponent’s face or body while a fend off
is an outstretched arm by the ball carrier towards an opponent to
discourage that person from making a tag);
d) The ball carrier or a potential tagger must not deliberately make
contact with an opponent. If such contact is made the game must be
stopped, the offender spoken to, reminded of the non-contact rules
of tag and a free pass awarded to the non-offending team; and
e) The ball must not be pulled from the ball carrier’s grasp;
f) Acts of foul play.