If you have seen groups of boys and girls in the park playing some sort of a sport that vaguely resembles rugby, you have witnessed a Touch Rugby game. Touch Rugby, sometimes referred to as Touch Football or simply Touch, is a much safer and easier modification on traditional rugby.
Touch Rugby is not a tough game as regular rugby is. The main difference is that you don’t need to tackle a person, you just need to touch them. This results in fewer injuries as you don’t need so much safety equipment. It also allows for more age groups to play the game and also different genders. Actually, you can often see a lot of mixed games where both boys and girls play in mixed teams against each other in parks for fun.
Touch Rugby is considered by many a social game where people can play to have fun without the fear of injuring themselves.
But how did it all come to be?
The Establishment of Touch Rugby
Touch Rugby was not viewed as a sport at all in the beginning. It was originally a way for rugby players to practice without injuring one another. But with time it evolved into a legitimate sport.
You have Bob Dyke and Ray Vawdon of the South Sydney Junior Rugby League Club to thank for that as they are the original founders of Touch. The sport became most recognized in Australia and so the mentioned pair formed the South Sydney Touch Football Club in 1968, marking the formal establishment of Touch Rugby as a sport.
The first official game was played the same year while next year Dyke & Vawdon organized the first official competition at Snape Park, Sydney. After regulations were established and rules came into the official format it was first played in Brisbane in 1973 and only two years later spread to New Zealand as well.
It was in 1976 that the national body, the Australian Touch Football Association was established marking the start of the sport that is played all around the world today.
Generally speaking, the rules of Touch Rugby are a much more simplified version of Rugby. They have taken all the most dangerous aspects of the sport and replaced them with touches. Thus tackles are eliminated and in order to stop your opponent, you simply need to touch them.
Some traditional parts of rugby like scrums, mauls, rucks, kicks, and line-outs have been taken out here.
Although there is an established set of rules that are needed for competitions, many countries have some variations on the rules. But officially, the game is played between two teams of six people.
Who Plays Touch Rugby?
Touch Rugby originally developed in Australia, so it is natural that its popularity is the greatest there. From there it spread out to different parts of the world. Although it is not as popular today as regular rugby is, it is still played in various places around the world.
It is most popular in the South Pacific Part as well in the UK. It also has its own World Cup that consists of 20 nations that compete against each other. Besides Australia and New Zealand, Touch Rugby is also popular in the UK, the USA, Japan, Lebanon, South Africa, Papua New Guinea, Ireland, Fiji, the Cook Islands, Italy, Samoa, Tonga, to name a few.