Topsham to host inaugural Devon Walking Rugby Festival

03 Feb 2018 11:40 | Sara Raine

THE first Devon Walking Rugby Festival will take place at Topsham RFC on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

The event is open to men and women of all ages.

Matches will start at 2pm, but the club will be open from 12noon.

Clubs/organisations can enter a team of up to seven players + reserves or individuals can just turn up on the day and a Devon Barbarians side or sides will be formed.

The rules of walking rugby are below.

For more information or to enter a team, contact John Carroll on 01392 876048 or


The following walking rugby rules based on existing guidelines will be implemented for the Devon RFU Walking Rugby Festival…

1. Players must not run at any time during a game. Sanction: Penalty.

2. Object of the game: to score more tries than the opposition by carrying the ball over the opposition try-line from in-field to try area. The ball must be carried over the try line (both feet on or over the try line) or touched down over the try line before being touch-tackled.

3. The ball may be carried any distance and transferred between team-mates by passing. All passes must be backwards or transverse. A pass must leave the hands of the passer before it reaches the receiver.

4. A defending player can arrest an attack with a simultaneous two-handed touch-tackle on the ball carrier between shoulders & knees (including arms) accompanied by the word “touch” after which the defender should step back/retreat 1 metre. When tackled, the attacking player must pass the ball correctly without delay and within one pace/metre. If the attacker does not pass without delay, they lose possession (a turnover). If a defender interferes with the pass in any way after the touch or challenge, a penalty is awarded to the attacker. A hand-off is not allowed. Nor walking straight at a defender with head down - inviting contact. An over-robust tackle will be penalised.

5. A touch or turn-over sets an off-side line at that point parallel to the try-lines. All defending players must retire behind that line before taking further part in the game. A defending player who is off-side and interfering with play should be penalised unless advantage to the non-offending team applies.

6. A penalty should be taken at the point of the offence indicated by the referee and may be taken quickly. At a penalty the off-side line is three metres and all defenders in front of the off-side line are off-side and should retreat. The penalty taker should tap the ball with his foot or knee and may walk or pass, and on-side defenders may advance. If off-side defenders interfere with the penalty, then further three metre advances may be imposed. No penalty can be taken closer than three metres from a try-line by attack or defence.

7. A ball hitting or touching a player and going forward and hitting the ground or another player is a knock-on, resulting in a scrum or turnover, but advantage may be played. Possession will be awarded to the team not responsible for any breakdown. A deliberate knock-down by a defender should be penalised.

8. At the start of a quarter and after a score, play starts with a tap and pass at the centre of the pitch. After a score the re-start is by the team that did not score. All defenders should be three metres back from the ball and can advance on the tap.

9. Three to seven players per team on the pitch at any one time. If extra players are available, then rolling substitutes can be employed so that all can be involved.

10. Pitch size: depends on number of players per team (allow 5 to 7 metres width per player), with a maximum width of 40 metres, and maximum length of 30 metres.

11. A game consists of four quarters of five minutes duration. A half time interval will be 3 Minutes. Teams swap ends at this point only. First and third intervals will last 60 seconds.

12. Ball size 4

13. Repeated negative offences will result in exclusion (yellow-2 min, red cards-permanent).

14. The referee is the sole judge of fact and law.


Uncontested; two player front row formed by closest players; “scrum half” (the next closest player) feeds the ball then passes out or attacks. Off-side line at scrum to be three metres back. Scrum formation frees up space elsewhere on pitch. To be taken at least three metres away from any line.

A scrum begins once formed of 2 players and a scrumhalf from each team. A scrum is over when the referee calls “scrum over” (when the ball is hooked out and the scrumhalf has 2 hands on the ball).

Front Row to keep bound in the scrum until Referee Calls “scrum over” preventing breaking early and making an unrealistic first phase tackle. Sanction Penalty.

Defending Scrum Half to stay at the tunnel of the Scrum until Referee Calls “scrum over”, preventing them from following attacking Scrum Half and making the touch/tackle as soon as they pick up. Sanction Penalty.

The appointed Scrum Half for the breakdown must be the one to make the pick-up. Sanction Penalty.

Penalties, Scrums, Turnovers

Penalties (tap and go) will be awarded for;

• Running.

• Illegal pass e.g. handed on or mauled.

• Interfering with the pass after a touch/tackle.

• Hand-off by ball carrier.

• Over-robust touch/tackle.

• Off-side and interfering with play.

• Deliberate knock-on downwards – ball hits ground (but knock up – attempted interception, play on unless touched/tackled).

• After a touch/tackle, not passing within 1 m of point of touch. Tackled player should retreat to point of touch.

• Pushing in the scrum

• Defending Scrum half moving past the Tunnel of Scrum before ‘Scrum Over’ is called

• General unsporting conduct or aggressive play

Scrums will be awarded for;

• Forward pass.

• Dropped ball – knock on.

• Delayed pass after touch/tackle.

• Ball passed back, hitting referee. (Attacking Team Keep Possession)

• Crossing/Obstruction

Turnovers (tap and pass) will be awarded for;

· Ball hitting the ground, not knock on. Re-start from point where the ball hit the ground

• Ball going into touch. Re-start from touchline with free pass.

• Try! Re-start from centre.