The Game of Touch

Touch has a history in rugby league and before that in rugby union, it originated directly from the sport of rugby league in the 1960s, with the tackle of opposing players replaced by a touch. Touch is therefore not a contact sport but a limited-contact sport.

Distinctive features of Touch include the ease of learning, minimal equipment requirements and the ability to play it without fear of major injury. While it is generally played with two teams of six on-field players, some social competitions allow different number of players per team on the field. It is played by both sexes, and in age divisions from primary school children to over-50s. The mixed version of the game (where both male and female players are on the field at the same time) is particularly popular with social players, and it is widely played in schools.

Touch is a minimal contact sport played on a pitch half the size of a rugby field (i.e. 50m x 70m). The game emphasises running, agility, passing, catching and communication. There is no tackling, lineouts, scrumming or kicking involved. This make it appealing to a wide range of ages and abilities, from juniors to masters and from slight to heavy builds.

The main aim of the game is for each team to score "touchdowns" and to prevent the opposition from scoring (One touchdown equals one point). Teams are made up of 6 players on the field at any given time, with up to 8 substitute players on the sideline. Teams are categorized into Mens, Womens and Mixed divisions (mixed = 3 male + 3 female players). Players can substitute anytime during the game and as often as they like.

Attacking players must perform a "roll ball" (between the legs) once they have been touched by a defender. Defenders must retire in a straight line 5 meters from the "roll ball" mark. After 6 touches, the possession changes to the other team for their turn at attack. Penalties are awarded for a variety of infringements including, forward pass, offside, touch-and-pass, roll-ball over the mark and over-vigorous play.

 

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