EuroTag Rugby League Rules

These rules were developed by RLI to promote the game of Rugby League in Ireland, ‘Euro Tag’ is a pathway game to the 13-a-side full tackle game, and is a step up from Euro Touch (originally RLITouch).


‘EuroTag’ can vary in its intensity from a social version of Rugby League, similar to Master RL, to a training game that is close to being a full-contact version of the game.

The aim of ‘Euro Tag’ is to provide an environment in which to play a semi-contact version of Rugby League, which enables specific RL skills to be practiced whilst maintaining a lower risk of injury. A ‘tackle’ is made when a defender places a hand on the ball that is in the possession of an opponent.


Fields will vary depending on the location but as a general guide, each field will have a width of at least 40 metres and a length of at least 65 metres.


When playing in an informal setting, Uniforms are unnecessary, although it is advisable to have 2 different colours to help differentiate team mates.

In a more formal competition setting:

3.1. Teams are to be in the same colour jerseys/shirts. Which should, if possible, be badged with a Euro Tag and/or RLI or local competition badges.

3.2. Teams should have numbers on these jerseys/shirts.


4.1. Mens and Womens EuroTag: 7 people on the field; plus up to 6 reserves (13 players total)

4.2. Mixed: Whilst ‘EuroTag’ can be played with mixed teams, all players need to be aware of the level of contact involved. If necessary a rule could be applied that means only females can ‘tag’ females.

4.3 On field player numbers can be reduced if the field is considered to be too small


5.1. All players must register with their domestic governing body or club in order to play.

Registration of all players and their details is the responsibility of the club secretary, and is important not only for insurance purposes, but also to assist organisations in assessing participation rates


6.1. Insurance – Where the game is recognised as RL activity, registered players are covered by the governing body’s insurance policy. In the event of injury, an incident report form must be completed and signed by the player involved, any witnesses and the club secretary.

6.2 Where the game is not registered each participant will be required to sign a waiver, it is the responsibility of the host of the game/competition to ensure all players have signed waivers.

6.2. A failure to report the injury at the time of the incident may void that player’s right to make a claim.



Standard games are to run for 13 minutes in total. But this can be flexible and changed by agreement of the teams.


8.1. Scoring is in most cases only by tries only. 1 point per try

8.2. A try is scored by placing the ball down over the opponents try line without the ball being touched. Or by getting both feet into the in-goal area before the ball has been touched by a defender.


9.1. All jewellery and watches should be removed.

9.2. Fingernails should be trimmed.

9.3. Any player that experiences a loss of blood will need to clear or remove the blood in order to return to the game.


Euro Tag must always be considered as only a semi-contact version of Rugby League. Whilst ‘Fending-off’ a defender is permitted, a fend-off to the face or neck (above shoulder) is not, and should be penalised. Also, whilst a defender can grab onto the ball carrier in order to enable them to ‘tag’ the ball, defenders must not attempt to make a ‘full’ tackle that brings the ball carrier to the ground.


Unlimited substitutions can be made, but these must be made from the middle of the field and on one side of the field between the two substitution markers on half-way. Players coming onto the field must not enter onto the field until the other player has crossed the sideline.A failure to abide by these rules may result in a penalty to the non-infringing team on halfway (or where they have the ball – whichever provides the most advantage).


12.1. A tackle will be affected once the defensive player has made contact with his/her hand on the ball that is in an opponent’s possession. The Tackler should call ‘touch’ or ‘Tag’, but even if not called, where the ‘touch’ on the ball is obvious to all parties involved,the tackle is deemed to have been made.

12.2. A deliberate touch can only be made with the hand or lower part of the arm. A player cannot deliberately make a touch with the foot, leg or shoulder and doing so is considered dangerous.

12.3. “Phantom tag” when a player calls a ‘tag’ and then admits there was not a ‘tag’ made. This results in a penalty to the team in possession. Honesty is to be encouraged, and even though ‘rule bending’ is a part of most games, it is to be discouraged in EuroTag.

12.5. If the ball is tagged by a defender but the ball carrier then passes the ball, it will be deemed a ‘Tag and Pass’ and this results in a penalty, turnover. The same rule applies to a kick after the tag, i.e ‘Kick, Pass’.

12.6 When a ‘tackle’ has been called, the defender may keep his hand on the ball for a short period (2-3 seconds) of time to slow the play the ball down a little bit. However, if the ‘tagging’ player (defender) loses contact with the ball and tries to put their hand back on the ball to lengthen the delay, a penalty will be awarded to the ball carrier for interference at the play-the-ball.

12.7 When a ‘tackle’ has been called, the defender remains at the site of the play the ball, and acts as a single ‘marker’. This means they do not have to retreat the 5 yards, but the player must stay ‘square’ i.e. directly in front of the tackled player until the dummy half has picked up and either made a passing motion or taken a step with the ball, (see rules 15.3, 15.4 and 15.5) or the defender will be penalized for offside .

12.8 When a tackle is complete it will be called by the referee (or the defending captain)

12.9 Benefit of the doubt over contact with the ball goes to the defending team.

12.10 In the case where a ball carrier is surrounded or enveloped by defenders for some time, but the ball has not yet been tagged, to prevent excessive wrestling, a tackle can still be called.


13.1 A defender can, whilst attempting to get to the ball, pull the shirt or pull or push at the ball carriers arms when dealing with an attempted fend. The attacker can protect the ball and keep the defenders arms at bay. But, all players, either attacking or defending, may not deliberately attempt to change the momentum of an opponent, by barging, pulling, pushing or ‘tackling’. This is considered misconduct.
The first offence results in a Warning, a second offence results in a ‘Sin-binning’ of the offending player, who can only return after a try has been scored, by either team.


14.1. If the ball carrier raises the ball up to keep the ball out of the reach of a defender, the referee will call ‘Overhead’ and this results in a penalty turnover to the other team. However, if the ball carrier raises the ball and passes, play continues.


15.1. The play-the-ball should be made by rolling the ball back with the hand, and if necessary pushing the ball back to the dummy-half, with the foot. The tagged player must be standing on one foot and the other foot must appear to be assisting the ball backwards to the dummy-half. A failure to be standing on one foot will result in a penalty, turnover.

15.2. The play-the-ball must also be made on the mark (point of being tagged) or within one step of the mark. Players will be penalised for running off, or not returning to the mark before playing the ball (i.e. more than one step off the mark).

15.3. The defending team cannot advance forward from the off-side line (5m point) nor the marker move from the mark until the dummy-half has picked up the ball. However, the dummy-half must pick up the ball without delay. If the dummy-half delays to try to draw the defenders offside, the dummy-half will be penalised.

15.4. The player playing the ball must do so as soon as practically possible after being tagged. As a guide, it is expected that the player playing the ball does so within 2 seconds of being tagged. An unnecessary delay in playing the ball can be penalised.

15.5. If the ball is played with no dummy-half present, as long as a player from the same team is attempting to get to the ball, the defensive line will still not be allowed to move off the line until the ball is picked up. If there is no effort from the attacking team to get to the ball, the referee may blow a penalty for “dummy half delaying”.

15.6 Once the dummy half picks up the ball they must immediately make an attempt to pass or run with the ball. Standing still to draw the defence offside is not part of the game, and will result in a penalty for “dummy half delaying”.


16.1. An accidental forward pass, or dropped ball, whether it travels forward or not results in a turn over play-the-ball, zero tackle.

16.2. The restart of a new set of six is to be started upon the ref’s whistle or captain’s’ call. Quick restarts are not allowed. so that scoring opportunities are created from good tactics and not simply taking advantage of an unprepared defence.

16.3. Kicks may touch the ground, play continues.

16.4. ‘Advantage’ will apply if a forward pass or a fumble is caught by the opposition provided the ball does not hit the ground. If the ball is subsequently dropped before an advantage has been taken,the first offence is deemed to be the error and the team that committed the first offence will lose possession.

17.1. The game starts and restarts after a try with a ‘tap’ in the centre of the field. Any tap technique will do, i.e if the ball is on the ground it can be touched with the foot and then picked up, the ball can be held in the hands and touched off any part of the leg, below the knee. A rugby union style tap penalty, whilst legal, is to be discouraged because of the risk of dropping the ball.

17.2. The opening tap-off will be decided by a coin toss or other appropriate means.

17.3. Tap-offs after a score are performed by the non-scoring team.

17.4 A tap restart takes place after a ‘penalty, turn-over’ or ‘penalty’ has been called, at the place where the offence occurred

17.5 A ‘Zero tackle, play-the-ball’ restart takes place at the site of any miss-handling errors or when the sixth tackle has been completed and the ball has been turned over to the opposition.


18.1. Kicking the ball is permitted in EuroTag at any time during the set of six.

18.2. Kicks can go any height and any distance.

18.3. If a kick goes out of play on the full, the non-kicking team will be awarded a ‘zero tackle, play-the-ball’ from where it was kicked.

18.4. If the kicker re-gathers their own kick, they can score.

18.5 If a kick is successfully caught by a member of the kicking team, with both feet over the try line a try will be awarded, even though the ball has not been touched down.

18.6 If a kick is successfully caught, or touched with the hand and then dropped, by a member of the non-kicking team, with one or both feet over the try line the kick is deemed to have been ‘defused’ and a tap turnover will be awarded, to take place centre field, 5 meters out from the try line.

18.7 If the ball is kicked ‘dead’ (over the dead-ball line) from inside the attacking half of the field, the non-kicking team is awarded a tap turnover, centre field, 5 meters out from the try line. If the ball is kicked ‘dead’ (over the dead-ball line) from outside the attacking half of the field, the non-kicking team is awarded a tap turnover, centre field, in line with where the ball was kicked.

18.8 “Free Catch Rule” If a kick is not successfully caught but touched by the hand of a player on the non-kicking team, it is deemed to have been ‘defused’ and a turnover will occur where it was touched. (as in rule 18.6)

18.9 If a player catches a ball cleanly and plays on, the next tackle will be a ‘zero tackle’


19.1. If in general play a player in possession is tagged whilst either foot is behind their own try line, they must perform a dropout from centre field on their own try line. (which cannot be re-gathered by the kicking team).

19.2. Even if the dropout bounces in field and rolls over the sideline, the kicking team loses possession and the receiving team restarts the game with a ‘zero tackle, play-the-ball’ 5 meters in-field from where the ball went out.

19.3. If the dropout goes over the sideline on the full, it is a tap to the receiving team on the 5m line in the centre of the field.

19.4. In the unlikely event that the dropout goes the full length of the field and out over the dead-ball line at the other end of the field, the other team must perform a dropout.

19.5. A try is awarded even if the ball carrier is touched over the try line, provided that the ball carrier has had both feet over the line (NFL Touchdown rule).

19.6. If the ball carrier is touched between the 5metre line and the try line, before they have touched the ball down, the play-the-ball takes place back on the 5 metre line, unless it is the last tackle, in which case a turnover play-the-ball takes place on the 5 metre line.


20.1. A player cannot deliberately use a teammate to shield themselves from being tagged. If however a defenders direct route to a ball carrier is blocked by an attacking player without the ball, as long as that attacking player does not deliberately move to obstruct the defender there is no infringement. A deliberate obstruction results in a penalty turnover.


21.1. The defensive team must retreat 5 metres back from the mark of the play-the-ball as quickly as possible. The team must make it back to the referee or captain who is setting the on-side line. However, if they are offside when the play-the-ball takes place, if they continue to retreat so that they get back 5 metres from the mark, they are then on-side. Retreating/defensive players who do not retreat directly, are not attempting to get on-side as quickly as possible, and can be penalised for being off-side.

21.2. Advantage can be played and the ball carrier can ignore the touch of an off-side player and continue. If the advantage does not result in a try, and the attacking team are tagged, a penalty is still awarded. This is in effect a ‘free play’, as the attacking team will still be awarded a tap penalty and a new set of six.

21.3. Repeated offside infringements can result in a sin-binning (until a try is scored). However, this is a last resort and it is not in the spirit of the game


Dummy half CAN get touched and CAN score (this is different from other forms of touch and tag).


23.1. If a pass is thrown and a defensive player makes a play at the ball knocking it to the ground, the passing team will receive a new set of six. Starting with a zero tackle play-the-ball.

23.2. If a pass is thrown and a defensive player is merely attempting make a tag on the ball and the ball touches them,the passing team is responsible for the error, and this results in a turnover and zero tackle play-the-ball.


24.1. Control of the game can be done by an appointed referee, or by ‘captains’ agreement’.

24.2. ‘Captains’ agreement’ means that a player from each team sets the on-side and calls out the tackle count, and calls out any miss-handling errors or infringements. Each team will also appoint a vice-captain.

24.3. Most infringement are obvious, but if there is a dispute between the two captains, the decision is made by a vice-captain from one of the teams. This decision is undisputable. The right to make this indisputable decision switches from team to team on each occasion.

24.4. The game is always meant to be played in a spirit of cooperation and fun. But in cases of repeated deliberate infringements or dissent, a player can be sin-binned until a try is scored, or sent-off for the rest of the game.


25.1. Competitions may wish to include additional rules to the game this is permitted as long as agreed by the captains of all competing teams and The EuroTag Rules Committee.

25.2. ‘Alternative Touch and Scoring’ this rule allows for certain players to effect the tackle by the same as in touch, if this is the case all players scores are to be considered equal. EG. All women’s try’s are worth the same as men however the tackle is affected when a defending women makes contact with the ball carrier with the hand or upper arm.

25.3. ‘Conversion Rule’ : After a try the scoring player will have an attempt at goal to add an extra point, Two goalposts will be placed at the back of the in goal in the centre 5 metres apart, the shot at goal is a kick taken out of the hands, a minimum of 10m from the try line, in line with where the try was scored, the kick must bounce before traveling through the uprights in order to add the extra point.

25.4. ‘Alternative player numbers and field dimensions’. It is possible to play EuroTag Rugby League on any sized pitch with any number of players however it is advised to try to keep the scale of the original rules. (see pitch dimensions above)

25.3. ‘Alternative restart’. An alternative form of restarting play is a must take kick taken out of the hands and from the centre spot, if the receiving team catches cleanly they will proceed to a tap restart at the centre spot, if it is dropped the kicking team will start play for the centre spot with a tap. The scoring team kicks off. The ball must go at least 10m high and must travel 10m too. If the ball lands in the field of play (within the area marked as the side lines and try line- not the dead ball line)

25.5. ‘Excessive Contact Rule’. In the event of contact becoming excess in the eyes of the referee or one of the participating captains, a warning will be issued to both teams, if the excessive contact persists the remainder of the game will be played under modified “touch” rules:

Both teams will lose one player, the tackle will be effect by a one handed touch, no markers are permitted and the overhead rule is negated.

EuroTag Rugby League Rules (R11) © Declan Foy and Des Foy, 2015-2018. All Rights Reserved.