​​​​​​​(​​​​​​​This module is still based on the rules found in the Touch New Zealand 8th Edition rulebook and there are some minor adaptations in place for our competition - see below. At this point we have not yet adopted the FIT 5th Edition playing rules.

1. Scoring: A touchdown will be awarded when a player places the ball on or over the score line

prior to being touched. A touchdown will be worth one point. The Dummy Half is not permitted to score touchdowns.

2. Substitutions: Teams may interchange players at any time. Players coming onto the field

may not do so until the player being replaced has come off. Substitutions must occur at or within

10m of half way.

3. Possession of the Ball: A change of possession shall occur when:

  • The ball goes to ground.
  • The Dummy half is touched while in possession.
  • The Dummy half places the ball in the Touchdown zone.
  • The 6th Touch occurs.
  • The player in possession steps on or over the boundary of the field of play.
  • A roll ball is performed incorrectly.
  • A tap is performed incorrectly.
  • At a change of possession play is restarted with a roll ball.

4. Passing: A player may pass, knock, throw or otherwise deliver the ball to any onside player in

the attacking team. Passing forward is NOT permitted.

5. The Tap: The tap is taken by placing the ball on the ground on the mark, releasing the ball from

both hands, tapping the ball with the foot a distance of not more than one metre and retrieving

the ball cleanly. Any player from the attacking team may take the tap.

6. The Penalty: When a player/team is penalised the non offending team shall restart play with a

tap. The tap is taken at the mark and the defending team must retire ten metres from the mark

until the ball has been tapped.

Play restarts with a tap when the following infringements occur:

  • Forward Pass
  • Touch and Pass
  • Roll ball performed off the mark
  • Performing a roll ball prior to a touch being made
  • Defenders offside at the roll ball (5 metres)
  • Defenders offside at the tap (10 metres)
  • Deliberately delaying play
  • More than six players on the field/Incorrect substitution
  • Falsely claiming a touch
  • Using more than the minimum force to make a touch
  • Misconduct

7. Roll ball: A means of restarting play. Players must perform the roll ball within a metre of the mark, while facing their opponent’s defending score line. They roll the ball backwards between their legs a distance

of not more than one metre. Players must not delay performing the roll ball. They must not

touch it when they step over it.

8. The Touch: Players from both teams are permitted to affect the touch. A touch is contact with

any part of the body, ball, clothing or hair attached to the ballcarrier. A minimum of force is to be used at all times and the defender must call “Touch” loudly. The team in possession is entitled to 6 touches.

9. Touch and Pass: A player is not to initiate a pass of the ball after a touch has been made.

10. The Dummy Half: The dummy half is the person who picks up the ball after a team-mate has

performed a roll ball. They can use their foot to control the ball when picking it up, however cannot delay picking the ball up.

11. Offside/Onside: After a touch has been made all defending players must retire 5 metres from

the mark by running straight towards their goal line, and not across field. Defenders cannot move forward until they have retreated 5m and the dummy half has touched the ball. If there is no dummy half in place, defenders can move forward as soon as the ball leaves the hands of the player rolling it.

12. Sideline: If a player with the ball touches or crosses the sideline s/he is deemed to be out of

play and a change of possession occurs. Play restarts with a roll ball 5 metres in from where the

player went out. If a touch is made before the player goes out, the touch counts.

13. Obstruction: Players of the attacking team are not to obstruct defending players from

attempting to affect a touch. Defending players are not to obstruct/interfere with attacking

players supporting the ball carrier.

14. Goal line attack/defense: Players touched within 5m of the goal line, must then take the subsequent roll ball 5m away from the goal line. Defenders who are defending their goal line must get BOTH feet on/behind the line and only advance once the dummy half has played the ball. They must continue to advance and cannot retreat towards their own goal line.

15. Beginning/ending the game: A member of each team either toss a coin, or perform rock/paper/scissors prior to the game. The winning team has possession of the ball to start the game with a tap OR chooses direction. This differs from regular Touch due to only being one period of play.

After 30mins, the hooter will sound. Upon this will be a “last play” at which point the next touch or stoppage will end the game.

16. Referees: All referees calls are final and are not to be disputed. Advantage may be played to the attacking team if there is an infringement by the defenders. Referees may also use their discretion in the Social Grade to assist players in understanding the rules instead of penalising. Any ongoing disputes around referee performance/decisions can be brought to the attention of the competition or referee managers.


If I touch clothing that has fallen off the ball carrier (such as a cap), does the touch count?

        NO. Touches only count for any clothing items attached to the ball carrier at the time the touch is made.

What if a player who has hardly ever played touch keeps making small errors (such as incorrect taps)? Will these always be penalised or change possession?

        Not necessarily. In the Social Grade, the referee may use their discretion to ask the player to redo an action, such as taking a tap correctly, in the effort to help players learn the game and correct behaviour. This is COMPLETELY at the referee’s discretion as to how/when it is applied, and should not be disputed on the ground.

When defending, can I leave the goal line as soon as the ball is played by the person rolling it?

        NO, you must wait with both feet on/behind the goal line until the dummy half touches the ball. However if there is no dummy half in place when the ball is played, you can advance once the ball is rolled.