Five-a-side 1 Touch Rugby Rules

  • The game is 40 minutes in duration. There is a 2-minute break between two 20-minute halves.
  • The field dimensions are approximately 40 x 35m. The referee will adjudicate their closest touchline and both try lines.  The opposing touchline furthest from the referee is adjudicated by the on-field players. 
  • Five (5) players are allowed on the field at any one time, with five (5) reserves off the field = 10 Players.
  • Reserves can be continuously substituted at any time from the side where the referee is positioned – provided the ball is not in play. The reserve may only come onto the field when the substituted player has crossed the side line and the substitution needs to be completed before the ball is live.
  • In play-off games – only players who have played more than 30% of the seasons fixtures will be eligible to compete. Any discrepancies need to be raised with the referee prior to the commencement of the games. 
  • The game always starts and re-starts from the half way line. The referee must signal for play to commence.
  • General play begins by passing the ball. Defending team must be 10 meters from the start of play.
  • A “Touch Down” or “Try” is scored when the ball is grounded behind the try-line (downward pressure must be applied).
  • A touch is made with hands only, on any part of the body, ball or clothing. It is “claimed” by raising one’s hand and shouting, “Touch”. The referee will use his discretion to decide whether player was in possession of the ball at the time of the “touch”.
  • The referee will not adjudicate whether a player has in fact been “touched” – this is up to player discretion.
  • The referee will ignore excessive claiming and players waiting for touches to be awarded. Continued excessive claiming will be penalized.
  • PLAY TO THE WHISTLE at all times.
  • Claiming a “touch” before it is made is against the spirit of the game and is a penalizable offence.
  • When touched, the ball must be placed at, or as close to the mark of the touch as possible (Failure to place the ball within 5 seconds’ results in a penalty). The attacking side begins play at that mark or in line with it.
  • If a side wishes to move the ball to the edge of the field to begin play – this needs to be via rolling or kicking of the ball. Any pass with be interpreted as the start of play and adjudicated accordingly. 
  • In the case of a forward pass or a dropped ball, play may commence where the ball is picked up or stops rolling. The defending team may not interfere with a rolling ball.
  • The offside line for the defending team is 5 meters from where the touch was made or the mark given by the referee. (In most instances, the referee will position himself as a marker for the defending team).
  • If a quick pass is taken, the defending player who is offside must cover a distance of 5 meters towards his own try line from where the infringement occurred, before being allowed to affect a valid Touch.
  • A defender within the 5 meter “offside” area, making an effort to retreat and not interfering with play, will not be penalized. Obstruction doesn’t apply if the defender retreats directly on one running line. The referee will use his discretion to make this decision.
  • Any holding of players or pulling of shirts will result in a penalty.
  • Behind the try-line the “no touch” rule applies. Once the player crosses the line into the field of play the ball is alive. Players may only run into the dead ball area once and must move outside this area within 15 seconds to avoid a turnover being avoided for intentional slowing of the game.
  • An intentional knockdown occurs when a player attempts to intercept the ball, and/or knocks it down (generally with his/her palm facing downwards) with a single hand. This results in a penalty. After being repeatedly warned, an intentional knockdown may result in a penalty try should the referee adjudicate that a try would have been scored.
  • Procedure for a penalty: The referee will give the mark where the offence occurred. The penalty must be taken from where the referee gives the mark. Once the referee confirms the mark, the attacking player may tap and run without passing. The defending team must retreat a full 10 meters before making a valid Touch.
  • Play may never be allowed to commence within 5 meters from the attacking try line. A defending player does not need to retreat further beyond his/her try to be deemed on side.



No referee will accept verbal abuse. Blatant swearing, excessive claims for forward passes and excessive claims for touch will not be tolerated. After a warning, players may be sent off for a ‘Period of Time’ in a position midway along the team’s touchdown zone line and no closer than five (5) meters to the touchdown zone. The dismissed player may not be replaced.  

A player dismissed after any previous ‘Period of Time’ dismissal, or for an offense such as gross misconduct or a dangerous act is to take no further part in that match and is to move to and remain not closer than ten (10) meters from the touchdown zone line.

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