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The difference between touch & Contact Rugby

Aimen ball_edited.jpg

Rugby is an evasion game played in many different forms.

Before we can discuss the differences, we need to understand what each is.

Well to start, there is no such thing as just contact rugby. Its a simple mistake people make.

Contact rugby describes a collection of sports. As does 'Limited Contact', and then 'No Contact'


Contact Rugby - 

  • Rugby Union 

    • Rugby 7s

    • Rugby 10s

    • Rugby 15s

  • Rugby League

  • Beach Rugby

All of the above have a similarity - Tackling, or a physical contact challenge situation (rucking, mauling and more). With slight variations in each, however the concept is the same, there is a physical element to the game, be it tackling, scrummaging - this is the competitive skillset required to play and win. Games cannot be of mixed gender, and must be played as a single sex team.

Limited Contact Rugby - 

  • Touch Rugby/Touch Football - (Name variations by country)

  • Beach Touch


In Limited Contact the only physical contact that occurs is a 'Touch' made by the offense or defence in order to initiate one of the Touch count. Any touch that is deemed heavy or excessive is a penalty against the offending player. Games can be of mixed gender, and can be played as a single sex team or a variation of men & women.

No Contact Rugby - 

  • Tag Rugby

In Tag, players wear belts attached with velcro hanging tags. In order to be 'tackled' a defensive player must grab and remove one of a ball carriers tags. No physical contact between each player should occur. Games can be of mixed gender, and can be played as a single sex team or a variation of men & women

So no tackling means I am playing Touch Rugby ?


Touch is a specific game, with its own rules, gameplay & strategies.

Rugby union, league and contact variations all have a different set of rules and strategies - removing 1 element, 'tackling', does not mean you are now playing Touch as it is wholesomely different.

We play touch at training as a warm up, is this the same ?

Most clubs, coaches, players will utilise the concept of 'No Tackling' in order to train in systems and strategies. It has become known as 'touch' but is built on the principles of minimising contact sessions to avoid injury. A progression most use is to go into holding (similar to Rugby League) This is not the official sport of Touch Rugby. It is a training solution for Rugby Union and Rugby League

How does Oman Rugby work - is it Touch, Tag or Contact based?

Oman Rugby Committee are the governing body of all forms of Rugby within the Sultanate of Oman.

Currently the ORC is concentrating on TouchRugby - we define all of our events with OT6 - Oman Touch 6s

The long term aim is to build a National team of Oman in preparation for the 2032 Olympics - which is 7s rugby.

Going forward Rugby Union, 7s, 10s & 15s (OR7's, OR10s, OR15's) will be seen at some point in the Sultanate, as well as Beach rugby (Oman Beach).

For juniors <8 we will be introducing Tag rugby (Oman Junior Tag) in to schools in the foreseeable future.

All events will be denoted to represent the type of event as well - OR7's, OR15's, OB , OJT.

Read our overviews on each to understand the basic rules

Rugby Scrum

Rugby Union


Tag Rugby

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