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Rules of Rip Rugby


1.1 The playing area will be approximately 70 metres in length and approximately 40 metres in width.

1.2 The playing area will be clearly marked.

1.3 The seven players on a team and the referee will be the only people entitled to be on the playing area during a game. Coaches, substitutes and spectators must not be on the playing area during a game.


2.1 A game is usually made up of four quarters of five minutes each. 20 minutes in total. (In Small Blacks grades, follow the time set for each age band).

2.2 There will be a one minute interval at each quarter for substitutions.

2.3 After half time the teams will change ends.

2.4 A quarter can only end at the next stoppage in play .

2.5 A half cannot end on a penalty. If a penalty is signalled, the team awarded the penalty shall be entitled to a free pass and the game will continue until the next stoppage in play.

2.6 A rip is not a stoppage in play.


3.1 The game is played between teams of equal numbers of players.

3.2 Seven is ideal.

3.3 Except in the case of injury or a sending off, every player must play at least two quarters of each game.


4.1 Substitutions must be made at quarter time except in the case of injury defined in 4.2.

4.2 An injured player can be substituted but only once the injured player has left the playing area.

Any substitution of an injured player must be approved by the referee, and an injured player who has been substituted cannot re-join the game.

4.3 Players who are substituted at any quarter time may re-join the game when replacing an injured player under Rule 4.2.


5.1 The referee for each match will be agreed upon and appointed by the two teams.

5.2 The referee should have a whistle.

5.3 The referee will shout, “PASS!” when a rip has been made, and “TURNOVER!” after a fourth rip.

5.4 The referee will blow the whistle to signal the start of the four quarters or when play is to stop.

5.5 The referee will signal to the team who is starting with a free pass by pointing with an outstretched arm towards that team.


6.1 The belt is adjusted to fit the waist of the player and fastened so that two flags hang — one from each side.

6.2 Velcro attaches the flags so they are positioned on each hip.

6.3 Care needs to be taken to ensure that for safety the tail of the belt is tucked away.

6.4 Each team is distinguished by the colour of the flags they wear.

6.5 The belt must be worn outside the clothing, shirts tucked in and flags free so they can be ripped off.

6.6 If a player accidentally loses a flag when they have the ball, the game will be stopped to allow the player to replace the flag. Once the flag has been replaced the game will restart with a free pass by the player in possession. The stoppage will not count towards the rip count.


7.1. The ball carrier cannot fend defenders off using their hands, or the ball.

7.2. The ball carrier cannot guard or shield their flags in any way. A player can spin once (360) in a movement (no helicopters).


8.1 There is no contact in Rip Rugby. Defenders (Rippers) ripping the flag off the belt of the ball carrier stops the ball carrier’s progress.

8.2 Defenders (Rippers) cannot physically touch the ball carrier.


9.1 One team start/restarts the match from the centre of the field with a punt kick if U9 above, otherwise it's a tap and pass. Great if Kick-offs rotated through all players.

9.2 Kick must travel in a forward direction 5 metres minimum.

9.3 Kick not making the 5 metres – free pass on half-way to the receiving team.

9.4 When a try is scored, the team that scored starts at the centre of the field with a punt kick or tap and pass to those who didn't score.


10.1 To make a free pass, the player making the pass starts with the ball on the ground, moves the ball slightly forward using the side of their foot, then picks up the ball and passes the ball backwards to a member of their own team.

The player who taps the ball MUST pass and cannot run with the ball.

10.2 The Defenders (Rippers) must remain five metres back from the player making the free pass.

They cannot start moving forward until the ball leaves the hands of the player making the free pass.

10.3 A free pass is used to restart play at any other time that play has halted and needs to be restarted other than with a lineout or scrum.

10.4 Free passes cannot take place less than five metres from the try line.

10.5. A free pass is also awarded to the non-offending team when their opposition infringes the rules, such as an offside or for not returning the flag to the ripped player. A free pass or kick for touch as in normal rugby applies here.

11. RIP

11.1 To complete a rip one of the two flags from the ball carrier’s belt must be removed.

11.2 The only person who can be ripped is the ball carrier.

11.3 The Defender (Ripper) must stop, hold the flag above their head and shout “RIP!”

11.4 The ball carrier must then pass the ball immediately (within three strides). He or she does not stop, return to the mark or roll the ball between their legs.

11.5 Four rips in a row leads to a turnover in possession.

11.6 After the ball carrier has passed the ball the Defender (Ripper) must hand the flag back to the player who then reattaches it to their belt before they re-join play. If either of these players doesn’t adhere to this, they will be penalised and a free pass will be awarded to the non-offending team at the place of the infringement.

11.7 If a player is ripped before the try line and doesn’t pass before they get over the line, they restart play five metres out from the try line with a free pass.

11.8 Restarting the rip count occurs when there is a turnover or when either team is penalised.

11.9 If a player accidentally loses a tag when they have the ball, stop the game, replace the tag and restart with a free pass.


12.1 When a player knocks the ball towards the opponents’ try line and does not regain control of the ball before it touches the ground, another player or the referee, a scrum is awarded to the non-offending team unless an advantage can be played.


13.1 Offside only occurs at a rip.

13.2 When a rip is made, all players from the Defender’s (Ripper’s) team must get back until they are behind where the rip was made.

Failure to do so, results in a free pass to the team in possession and the rip count will restart at zero.

13.3 If a player is offside and they intercept, prevent or slow down a pass, they will be penalised and a free pass will be awarded to the non-offending team, unless an advantage can be played.


14.1 The ball can only be passed to the ball carrier in a backwards direction.

14.2 Attackers must not pass the ball forward; towards the Defenders’ (Rippers’) try line.

14.3 Attackers cannot hand the ball to another Attacker.

14.4 A scrum will be awarded to the opposition if an Attacker passes the ball forward or hands the ball to another Attacker.

14.5 If the ball is not caught to conclude a pass but is not knocked on, play can continue.


15.1 There is kicking in Rip Rugby.

15.2 If you are ‘Ripped’ – you cannot kick the ball.

15.3 If a kick in general play crosses the dead ball line, it is a free pass at the mark from where the kick was made.

15.4 Normal off-sides from kicking situations apply.

15.5 There are no conversions or shots at goal.


16.1 Not stopping the game when an infringement happens is called ‘advantage’.

16.2 Referees should play ‘advantage’ to the non-offending team if there is any chance that they may be advantaged by there being no stoppage in play, for instance if the team gets the ball or retains the ball in circumstances that are more favourable than if a free pass was called.

16.3 The referee should call ‘advantage’ followed by ‘play on’ if an advantage is deemed by the referee to occur.

16.4 If no advantage occurs within a reasonable period play restarts with a scrum, penalty or free pass.


17.1 Subject to 17.2, if the ball carrier intentionally goes to ground or a player dives on the ball, a free pass is awarded to the opposition.

17.2 Players can dive for a try or dive on the ball for a try.


18.1 These consist of three players from each side.

18.2 No pushing – win your own ball.

18.3 Follow the ref’s calls to ‘crouch – bind - set’.

18.4 Both halfbacks must stand next to the scrum and can’t advance past the middle of the tunnel.

18.5 Players who are not in the scrum and who are not the team’s halfback, are offside if they remain in front of their offside line or overstep the offside line which is 5 metres behind the hindmost player of each team in a scrum.


19.1 If the ball is carried or kicked out of the field of play, the game is restarted with a lineout with the non-offending side throwing the ball in.

19.2 The lineout must consist of three forwards from each team and a scrum half.

19.3 Lineouts follow contested laws to appropriate age. Lineouts not to be contested until U11 grade.

19.4 There is no lifting the jumper in Small Blacks grades.

19.5 The player catching the ball should hopefully pass it back to the player that threw it in as they run round to pass to the backs, but usual lineout law applies.

19.6 For players not taking part in the lineout, the offside line is 5 metres behind the line of touch or their goal line, if that is nearer.


20.1 All players must play games in a positive spirit following the principles of good sportsmanship.

20.2 In instances of verbal abuse, physical abuse, poor sportsmanship, intentional offending, persistent reoffending or any other offending, a referee may send a player from the playing area.

20.3 If a player is sent from the playing area by the referee under 20.2 they must remain off for the remainder of that game. However, that player can be replaced by another player who has not been sent off.

20.4 There shall be no intentional physical contact between players.