Tag rugby, or flag rugby, is a non-contact team game in which each player wears a belt that has two velcro tags attached to it, or shorts with velcro patches. The mode of play is based on rugby league with many similarities to touch football, although tag rugby is often deemed as a closer simulation of the full contact codes of rugby than touch. Attacking players attempt to dodge, evade and pass a rugby ball while defenders attempt to prevent them scoring by "tagging" – pulling a velcro attached tag from the ball carrier, rather than a full contact tackle. Tag rugby is used in development and training by both rugby league and rugby union communities.
Tag rugby comes in several forms with OzTag and Mini Tag being some of the better known variations. Tag rugby has the highest participation levels in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
According to sportswriter Terry Godwin, writing in 1983, tag rugby was first developed in Gibraltar by the Gibraltar Rugby Union. Due to the lack of grass pitches, an alternative variant to rugby union was developed. A 10-inch cord was tucked into the waistband, and its removal by an opponent with a shout of "tag", was classed as a 'tackle'. If the attacking team had failed to score by the fourth 'tackle' the defending team were given possession of the ball.[nb 1]
The codified version of tag rugby was created and pioneered by physical education teacher Nick Leonard in England in 1990 following an idea given to by a former serviceman called Barry Johns. He described to Nick how navy servicemen on board ship or whilst playing on hard grounds overseas played the Gibraltar variant of rugby. Leonard then devised a set of rules suitable for children using belts and coloured ribbons attached by Velcro and organised the first ever schools Tag Rugby festival at UCP Marjons, Plymouth in 1991. This annual event celebrated its 20th festival in 2011.
OzTag is a non-contact form of rugby league, and is generally played by those who are too small for Rugby League. OzTag is a variation of British tag rugby. Cronulla Sharks & St George Dragons halfback Perry Haddock introduced the sport in Australia while coaching the 1992 St George Jersey Flegg side. Together with Chris Parkes, the two took the sport to fields across Australia. Today, it is played by over 200,000 players in organised leagues across the country.
Games are usually played over 20 minutes a half. The normal dimensions of the field are 70×50 metres. Eight players in each team are allowed on the field at a time.
The attacking team has five plays or tags to try and score a try or take the ball down field as close to the line as possible. Like most versions of tag rugby, a tackle is made when one of two velcro stripes, known as tags, is removed from the ball carrier's shorts.
Players can pass and kick the ball and tries are worth one point and there are no conversions. Kicking in general play is allowed but it must be below shoulder height of the referee and on zero count with no play-the-ball (from playing a knock-on advantage for instance) or after the 4th tag.
The rules of under-7s Mini Tag possess some rugby union features, like an unlimited tackle count. It does not have an equivalent of the six tags law and instead tackled players must off-load the ball. Under-8s Mini Tag on the other hand, retains a six tag law (RFU Continuum 3.5.g) which requires that on the 7th tag the referee will stop the game and give the ball to the other side. The restart is with a free pass. For the full set of rules of Mini Tag see the Mini Tag Rulebook.
Mini Tag is currently the only form of rugby permitted by the English RFU for under-7 and under-8 age groups. Mini Tag requires the use of a size 3 rugby ball and does not allow scrums, line-outs or kicking.
Since its beginnings in 1992, OzTag (or Walla Tag) has grown in popularity across Australia in urban and rural areas. Twenty-eight teams participated in the first season in summer 1992–1993 playing in the Cronulla and St George areas of Sydney. Today, more than 80,000 players take part in OzTag competitions nationally.
There are Oztag competitions running all over Australia, with the largest areas located in Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. Competing teams are in six divisions: women's open, mixed, men's open and men's over-30s, 35s, and 40s.
Tag rugby also developed via IMBRL (Inter Message Board Rugby League) where message boards representing clubs took part in tournaments and friendly matches. Some developed into full-contact teams, others became tag teams and others folded. In 2008, a Tag Merit League was established based on the RL Merit League format. The league was developed with the intention to encourage new clubs outside the older IMBRL circuit to play tag rugby league. The Merit League operates on normal rugby league laws with tags taking the place of tackles.
In 2009 Try Tag Rugby began running adult tag rugby competitions throughout London using OzTag rules. By the summer of 2011, over 1,000 players were regularly taking part in week night evening leagues across London at locations such as Finsbury Park, Gladstone Park, Wandsworth Town, Tooting Bec, Richmond, Shoreditch, Highbury and Southwark Park. The number of competitions continues to expand with over 240 teams competing across venues in London and Reading in the summer of 2014. Try Tag Rugby also host the annual London Tag Rugby Championships which attracts teams from across the UK and Europe. 42 teams registered for the event in 2013, playing 136 matches under 17 referees across nine pitches; a UK record for an adult Tag Rugby tournament. In September 2014 the Rugby Football League and Try Tag Rugby announced that they would be forming a partnership to increase participation in the sport across England. In early 2015 Try Tag Rugby announced they were expanding to Yorkshire, with leagues set to begin in April 2015. Try Tag Rugby have continued to grow the game substantially in 2016 with 507 teams competing in early summer leagues. 
Try Tag Rugby are the UK's official delegates of the European Tag Federation (ETF) and the International Tag Football Federation (ITFF). The Great Britain Tag Rugby Team has hosted inbound tours from Australia in 2011 and 2014, and the Tongan over 30s Men's team in 2013. The Great Britain mixed open and men's teams also competed in the 2012 Tag Rugby World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand, while 2013 saw the first annual Britain and Irish Cup. In 2016 Ireland won British & Irish Cup for a third time, by defeating Great Britain 4 - 2 across a record six categories.
The Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) introduced adult tag rugby to Ireland in 2000 in association with the Irish Rugby Football Union when the first ever league was run for 36 teams. Their league is known as Volvic Tag . The Irish Rugby Football Union  began to run its own tag rugby leagues in 2007 following a split with ITRA.
The sport has become particularly popular in Ireland and in 2007, over 28,000 players in the two programmes making up more than 1,700 teams took part in tag rugby at 50 venues all over the country. This increased in 2008 and 2009.
There are four major types of tag rugby played there. They include men-only leagues, women-only leagues, mixed leagues (in which a minimum of one player must be female with no more than four male players on the pitch), and vets league (over-35s). Each type is usually played in four different ability categories ranging from A league (the most competitive) through B, C, and beginners league (the most inexperienced and usually the least competitive). Veterans leagues comprise teams of players all over 35 yrs old.
Many companies pay for or sponsor company teams as a method of recreation hence this format of rugby's popularity and its non-contact nature makes it playable for mixed sex and age teams and inter-office competitions.
The Pig 'n' Porter Festival is held each July in Old Crescent RFC, Limerick. It is the largest single Tag Rugby tournament in the world with up to 150 tag teams taking part each year for the top prize. The tournament regularly attracts teams from England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands.
In 2014 the ITRA introduced Rep rules which aligned their laws with the International Tag Federation. Players have the opportunity of playing for their Regional Teams (Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick, Clare and Kildare) from which players can play in the Tag World Cup representing Ireland.
HKTag developed in direct association with Hong Kong Rugby League (HKRL), itself established in 2015. Leveraging the official rules of OzTag, tag rugby first appeared at the inaugural 2015 HKRL Nines, as a minimal contact, mixed format alternative to rugby league, and brought together more than 100 male and female players.
The growth of HKTag was the HKRL standout success of 2016. HKTag became the official governing body of Tag Rugby in Hong Kong and launched two more domestic competitions - Battle of Origin and HKTag Super League. This year also saw the introduction of regular social tag rugby sessions throughout spring and summer, which today continue all year round.
HKTag today has a solid community of members, participating in weekly Tag for All sessions, beginners' workshops, summer beach tag and seasonal competitions. The 2018 HKTag Challenge saw its highest ever participation, involving 12 teams and more than 140 players from all over the world.
In November 2018, Hong Kong sent a squad to the Tag World Cup in Coffs Harbour representing the mixed open and male open divisions.
Tag20 Group and Kiwitag amalgamated in 2010 and now administer a variation of tag rugby in New Zealand known as "Tag20 Rugby" which can be played "by all age groups from 5 to 55 and beyond". Prior to its amalgamation with the Tag20 Group Kiwitag had acted as an umbrella organisation for some of those playing tag rugby in New Zealand since its introduction to the country by John Ackland in 1993.
Tonga National Tag Team is the Tonga national tag team also known as Laione Hau or Tonga Tag. Established in October 2011, The first official national Tonga Tag team participated in the Pacific Cup hosted by New Zealand in February 2012. All variants of Tag Rugby and Flag Football are played in Tonga.
Samoan Tag Incorporated is the National Tag Sports body in Samoa. Established in 2018, The first official Tag tournament was held in Apia on 3 February 2018.
Sri Lanka Oztag, established in 2015, participated in its first official tournament in 2015, the Emerging Nations Tournament before competing at the 2015 World Cup. In 2016, Sri Lanka Oztag won the Emerging Nations Tournament and will be competing in the 2018 World Cup.
A tag game known as EagleTag, or non contact rugby league or flag rugby, is played in the United States using the same rules as Oz Tag. Another tag game based on the laws of rugby union, known as American flag rugby, takes place in a league every Saturday morning in July in Morris County, New Jersey.
The Rochdale Swarm International Mixed Tag Rugby League Festival returned for its 7th year on 1 August 2015. Teams from France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales regularly participate alongside teams drawn from Rochdale, including Fijians and the local Asian Community, plus Kiwi and Aussie exiles. This is complemented by teams from all across England. The festival is a non-contact, mixed gender 7-a-side competition, where at least 2 of the 7 are female.
The Pig 'n' Porter Tag Rugby festival, the largest in the world, is held each July on the grounds of Old Crescent Rugby Club, Limerick, Ireland. Over 120 teams take part in the weekend event. The popularity of the event can also be attributed to the après-tag festivities which include a hog roast and live music.
The Malta International Tag Rugby Festival was launched in 2011 with teams having contested the festival in its first two seasons from England, Scotland, France and the Maltese islands of Malta and Gozo. The festival is a partner event of the Malta Rugby League (MRL). London's Try Tag Rugby All-Stars have been a regular feature at the festival every year since its inception and the festival is becoming known as 'the hottest tag rugby festival in Europe'. Winners of the Malta International Tag Rugby Festival have been Try Tag Rugby All-Stars - UK (2011), Try Tag Rugby All-Stars - UK (2012) and Tumeke - UK (2013).
In December 2015 Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia hosted the Tag Rugby World Cup. In November 2018, the Tag Rugby World Cup will be held in Coffs Harbour, Australia.
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American flag rugby (AFR) is a mixed-gender, non-contact version of rugby union and is a variant of the sport Tag Rugby. American flag rugby is designed for American children entering grades K–9. The organization itself exists to provide free start up kits and support to any community looking to add a youth rugby program to their community. The program has received great praise in the USA including an article in Rugby magazine and a spot on Fox Sports Net. The initial program from Morris County has helped create various other programs start up and now encompasses thousands of kids and adults across America participating in the youth sport and starting up programs.Ashleigh Baxter
Ashleigh Baxter (born 21 December 1991) is a female rugby union player. She represented Ireland at the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup. She began playing Tag rugby before she joined a club in Lisburn; She now plays for Belfast Harlequins.Baxter studied Aerospace engineering at Queen's University Belfast.Beit Jala Lions
The Beit Jala Lions (Arabic:-لايونز بيت جالا) is a rugby union club situated in the town of Beit Jala near Bethlehem in the West Bank.The team was started in October 2007 by international rugby players and local guys and later encouraged by members of the Munster Supporters Club. Their first full match took place in March 2008 against the newly formed Ramallah Blue Snakes, in the town of al-Khader.
In October 2008, the team travelled to Cyprus to take part in the Paphos Tag Rugby Tournament 2008, and play against the Paphos Tigers and Limassol Crusaders. The same month, the team had a tag rugby match against the Ramallah Blue Snakes in the Taybeh Oktober festival.
Plans are being made to host a Tag Rugby Tournament in the Palestinian territories, with some teams coming from Ireland.Fosi Pala'amo
Fosi Pala'amo (born 23 August 1976) is a New Zealand professional rugby player of Samoan descent. Internationally, he plays for Samoa. He was born in Murupara, New Zealand to Samoan parents. He was formerly a player for the Irish team Leinster Rugby, but now works at Pfizer for a living and coaches the forwards on the Pfizer tag rugby team.Great Britain and Ireland National Tag Rugby Squad
The Great Britain and Ireland National Tag Rugby squad has been formed to represent the nation in the 2012 Tag Football World Cup in Auckland, New Zealand on 5 December 2012.
The side which is made up 2 teams to play mixed and men's will fly to Auckland in hopes of putting GB and I on the map next to World Champions Australia and New Zealand.
The origin of tag rugby originated in England by Nick Leonard.
The final sides are yet to be named.Irish Tag Rugby Association
The Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) is the official founding body of adult Tag Rugby in Ireland. Since 2000 it has organized nationwide tag rugby summer leagues, with the addition in 2003 of blitz days on weekends and in 2005 of spring leagues.Lewes Rugby Football Club
Lewes Rugby Football Club, was founded in 1930 and runs several rugby teams at various ages and competitive levels, including two senior men's sides, with the 1st XV currently playing in the Sussex 1 (level 9 of the English rugby union system) following their relegation from London 3 South East at the end of the 2018–19 season. Additional the club operates two senior women's sides, with the Ladies 1st XV currently playing in the Championship 2 South East league.
View images of Lewes RFCLewes RFC's home ground is the Stanley Turner Ground, Lewes.In 2008 the club working in partnership with Lewes District Council and the Sussex Rugby Football Union offered young people in the area the chance to learn and take park in Tag rugby as a means to increasing the profile of the sport in the area.Maddie Shevlin
Maddie Shevlin (born 21 September 1997) is an Australian rules footballer playing for Collingwood in the AFL Women's (AFLW). Initially a tag rugby player, Shevlin played with the Gungahlin Jets in the AFL Canberra for two seasons before she was drafted by Melbourne in the 2017 AFLW rookie draft. Delisted after one season, she was re-drafted by Collingwood in the 2018 national draft and made her debut in round 3 of the 2019 season.Mini rugby
Mini rugby, also known as New Image Rugby, is a form of rugby union designed to introduce the sport to children. It uses a smaller ball and pitch than standard rugby, and has eight to ten players a side.Invented in England in 1970, mini rugby was soon taken up by both the English Rugby Football Union (RFU) and the Welsh Rugby Union.The original game had four backs, and five forwards. There was no pushing in the scrum, which was made up of - two props, a hooker and a second row of two locks.
The International Rugby Board does not directly govern very junior levels of rugby but rather leaves local bodies to do things as they see fit. Consequently, different countries have different junior versions of rugby designed to appeal to, and be safe for, younger children.Peter Fitzgibbon
Peter Fitzgibbon is an Irish international rugby union referee. He has been on the IRB Elite panel (the highest level in the world) since 2009. He works full-time for the Irish Rugby Football Union as referee development officer in the Leisure Rugby department, which deals with casual play and the IRFU's tag rugby events. He is a member of the Munster Association of Referees. and also played rugby for Thomond RFC.Pig 'n' Porter
Limerick's Pig 'n' Porter is the largest tag rugby festival in the world. Since its inception in July 2001, the three-day event has been held every July in Limerick, Ireland, hosted by Old Crescent in association with the Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA). The biggest attendance ever was at the event's 10th anniversary in 2011 with close to 150 teams taking part.
The festival itself, with food provided by various local restaurants and vendors, complemented by live music, adds to the rugby spectacle and attracts in excess of 4,000 people to the venue every year. The support for the on-field spectacle brings a huge amount of colour and glamour to the city to cheer on the participating teams.
Each team consists of at least 7 players, male and female, who must play side by side throughout the day as the competition gets whittled down from the vast number starting out to the 4 divisional finals, usually taking place around 5 o'clock on the Saturday evening. Generally, the Tag Rugby blitz commences on the Saturday morning and concludes in the early evening with festivities and entertainment in the rugby club and inside the city carrying on late into the night.
The competition has drawn entries from teams throughout Ireland as well as England, Wales, Scotland, France, Australia, Germany and Holland.Potomac Athletic Club RFC
The Potomac Athletic Club Rugby Team (PAC Rugby) of Washington, D.C. is a rugby union club based in Washington, D.C. PAC was one of the founding members of the now-defunct SuperLeague. PAC Rugby has played in the national club championship playoffs, and are former national champions. Certain PAC players selected to play for national, and regional representative sides.
In addition to multiple sides of senior men's rugby the club also has a sizable youth program co-ed youth tag rugby.Rugby league in England
Rugby league is played across England but is most popular in Northern England, especially Yorkshire and Lancashire where the game originated. These areas are the heartland of rugby league. The sport is also popular in Cumbria where the amateur game is particularly powerful.Rugby union in Gibraltar
Rugby union is a popular sport since its introduction by British military personnel in the 19th Century.Tag Rugby Trust
The Tag Rugby Trust is a rugby based charity, formed in 2002. The trust was established to help improve the lives of children in the United Kingdom, but mainly in some of the most underprivileged regions of the world. They currently work with government schools and orphanages in Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, India, Kenya, Mexico and Romania using the game of Tag Rugby as a vehicle. Volunteers from the U.K .and the underprivileged areas work closely with children in a coaching capacity, which make a life changing difference to all parties involved. In conjunction with the tours the trust continually donates equipment to enhance the development of the Tag Rugby and Rugby in the underprivileged regions.Thinus Delport
Thinus Delport (born 2 February 1975 in Port Elizabeth) is a South African ex rugby union player who played at wing or fullback for Worcester Warriors and South Africa.
He started his career playing for the Lions from U21 level and he made his senior debut in 1997. Playing in the Super 12 for the Lions formerly known as The Cats.
Delport began his English career at Gloucester. Whilst there he started the 2003 Powergen Cup Final in which Gloucester defeated Northampton Saints. Delport joined Worcester from Gloucester in 2004. Delport left Worcester Warriors in 2007 and became a television rugby presenter
He made his international debut on the Springboks' 1997 European tour. However, it was three years before he made his test debut against Canada in East London (2000).
Delport also played in the Tsunami Memorial game representing the southern hemisphere alongside some of the world’s greatest players.
It was announced in March 2008 that Delport would be moving to Japanese Side Kobelco Steelers at the end of the season, to pursue a new rugby career there.On 24 June 2010 it was announced Delport had signed a 1-year deal at National 1 outfit Stourbridge as a player coach.
After retirement he has also played an amateur game for the Old Patesian veterans, a local Gloucestershire club, in which they beat their rivals: Smiths Industries, in the third team's cup.
In 2014 Delport became an ambassador for Project Zulu, a UK based charity running the educational development projects in the Madadeni township, KZN, South Africa. In February 2015 he visited the Madadeni township to host their first schools tag rugby tournament.
Delport is also an ambassador and active member of Rugby for Heroes, a UK based charity helping active and retired service men and women make the transition to civilian life, using Rugby as a medium. He works alongside patrons Mike Tindall OBE and Nick Knowles to build up the profile of the charity.Tonga National Tag Team
Tonga's National Tag Rugby Team is also known as Laione Hau ("Victorious Lion"). The figurative symbol of the lion is synonymous with The King of Tonga and historic battles fought and conquered by Tongan kings and warriors. The governing body for tag rugby or flag football for Tonga is called Tonga Tag. Tag rugby is the original creation of this growing sport. In most parts of The United States and Canada they called it flag football or American flag rugby. An increasing number of countries participate in the sport of tag rugby, including Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, USA, France, Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Fiji and Tonga. The International Woman's Flag Football Association also runs a tournament that involves countries like the United States, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Mexico.
Tonga Tag plays most variants of tag rugby and flag football; tag rugby is the most predominant in Tonga. Although Tonga has been represented in the past, they have been residential teams. Laione Hau or Tonga Tag is the first official Tonga national tag team.Wheelchair rugby
Wheelchair rugby (originally murderball, and known as quad rugby in the United States) is a team sport for athletes with a disability. It is practised in over twenty-five countries around the world and is a summer Paralympic sport.
The US name is based on the requirement that all wheelchair rugby players need to have disabilities that include at least some loss of function in at least three limbs. Although most have spinal cord injuries, players may also qualify through multiple amputations, neurological disorders or other medical conditions. Players are assigned a functional level in points, and each team is limited to fielding a team with a total of eight points.
Wheelchair rugby is played indoors on a hardwood court, and physical contact between wheelchairs is an integral part of the game. The rules include elements from wheelchair basketball, ice hockey, handball and rugby union.
The sport is governed by the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) which was established in 1993.
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