Rippa Rugby - Rules

Please see photo below of an overveiw for the Term 4, 2021 season. 


Screen Shot 2021-09-02 at 9.03.01 AM.png





Brief Law Overview –

  • 7 players on the field
  • Games are played over a half an hour period with a 2 minute half time break. (Hooter will sound to signify start and end of game)
  • Players must have their t-shirts tucked in, belts on the outside
  • 6 rips then change over. Referees to call out what number each rip is (eg. “Rip 1, Rip 2”)
  • If the player knocks the ball on or does a forward pass then it is a hand over and free pass to the other team (Referees will play advantage)
  • Players cannot fend
  • Players cannot return to play unless both tags are on
  • Players are allowed to dive to score
  • Refs can send players and coaches / supporters off the field if they are being abusive
  • No kicking
  • Offside line is where the rip was made OR the line of the ball
  • Defenders can only move forward after the attacking player has passed the ball
  • NOTE TO ALL COACHERS / SUPPORTERS: The rules of Rippa Rugby are designed to help the game flow and ultimately so the kids can have an enjoyable rugby experience. If there any issues with referees or how the game is being managed please go and see the module co-ordinator and let them know what the issue is. Thank you




1.1 The playing area will not exceed 70 metres in length and 40 metres in width.

1.2 The playing area will be clearly marked.

1.3 The seven players on a team 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 made up of two 13 minute halves.

2.2 There will be a two minute interval between the two halves.

2.3 After half time the teams will change ends.


3.1 There will be ten players in each team.

3.2 Each team must contain at least 3 girls (Variations may apply in club competitions).

3.3 Games will be played with seven players on the playing area at any one time.

3.4 At least one girl must be on the playing area at all times. (Variations may apply in club competitions).


4.1 Substitutes will be rolling with players allowed to return to the field after some time off.

4.2. Substitutes are to be made in a stoppage in play and the referee must be informed.

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


5.1 The referee for each match will be appointed by the tournament organiser.

5.2 The referee will carry a whistle.

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

5.4 The referee will blow the whistle to signal the start of the two halves 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 one 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.


8.1 There is no contact in Rippa 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 starts each half of the game from the centre of the field with a free pass.

9.2 When a try is scored, the non-scoring team starts at the centre of the field with a free pass.


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.

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 also used to restart play at any time that play has halted and needs to be restarted.

10.4 If the ball travels out of the field of play, the game is restarted with a free pass to the opponents of the side that was last to touch it immediately prior to the ball travelling out of play.

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

10.6 A free pass is also awarded to the non-offending team when their opposition infringes the rules, such as a forward pass, an offside or for not returning the flag to the ripped player.

11.0 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 have to stop, return to the mark or roll the ball between their legs.

11.5 Six 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 rejoin play. If either of these players doesn’t adhere to this, they will be penalized 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.


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 free pass is awarded to the non-offending team unless an advantage occurs.


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 penalized and a free pass will be awarded to the nonoffending team, unless an advantage can be played.


14.1 The ball can only be passed by 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 free pass 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 no kicking of any kind in Rippa Rugby.


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 team may gain an advantage by there being no stoppage in play. i.e. if the non-offending team gains possession of the ball or retains the ball in circumstances that are more favourable than if the referee ruled a free pass.

16.3 The referee should call ‘advantage’ followed by ‘advantage over’ if an advantage is deemed to have occurred.

16.4 If no advantage occurs within a reasonable period, play restarts with a 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 All players must play games in a positive spirit following the principles of good sportsmanship.

18.2 In instances of verbal abuse, physical abuse, poor sportsmanship, intentional offending, repeated offending or any other actions deemed unfair play, dangerous play or misconduct, a referee may send a player from the playing area.

18.3 If a player is sent from the playing area by the referee under 18.2 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.

18.4 There shall be no intentional physical contact between players.


19.1 If there are any misinterpretations or disagreements with these rules, a final interpretation will be decided by the Tournament Manager.


20.1 Points – 3 points = win, 2 points = draw, 1 point = loss

20.2 In knockout games the first try scoring team must be circled (as if the game is drawn at

fulltime the first try scored is deemed the winner)


  • Referees clearly call the “RIP” and the rip number
  • Players must pass within three steps of a rip
  • Ball must be passed backwards
  • A knock on or forward pass results in a handover to the other team
  • Penalties and restarts start with a free kick
  • The ball must be forced on the ground for a try, just like rugby
  • Play as much advantage as possible
  • Free kicks to restart play must have the ball placed on the ground, released and tapped with the foot
  • Spinning to avoid a rip is ok but continuous spinning is not allowed (1 spin)