Flag Rugby Regulations


The Intramural sport convener may modify these rules at their discretion. The Intramural sport convener and officials have the discretion to rule on any matter not covered by these rules.

Click here for Intramurals eligibility rules.

Number of Players

• A team must field seven players (maximum roster size = 17 [including at least 3 of each gender for coed leagues] for all leagues and tournaments).
• 7 people begin on the field at the start of each game. Each team must have a minimum of 3 players of each gender (M/F) on the field.
• In cases where teams only have 2 of a particular gender, they must play shorthanded (i.e., 6 [4M:2F] vs. 7), you may not replace the missing person with someone of the opposite gender. If this is not possible, the offending team will default.
• In order to play, a team must have a minimum of 6 players, (including a minimum of 2 of each gender) ready to play at game time.

 Open leagues have no minimum requirement for either gender.

The Game


In General, our rules are governed by World Rugby. Please see our House Rules below for exceptions. 

Object of the Game

I. The object of the game is to score a try (5 points) by touching the ball to the ground on or behind the opponent’s goal line (Grounding).
II. Ball carriers must remain on their feet at all times and are not allowed to score a try by diving over the goal line. If a player grounds the ball while on their knees, the try is allowed.
III. A player may not be prevented from grounding the ball by any physical contact –including placing a hand between the ball and ground. This action forces the ball carrier to place the ball on the ground between their legs.
IV. To prevent a try from being scored the defenders must remove the flag from the belt of the ball carrier. 
V. This action forces the ball carrier to pass the ball.
VI. Physically grabbing the ball carrier with your arms or hands is illegal and will result in a turnover in possession.


I. A game consists of two twenty-minute halves (as long as time permits) with a running clock, with a five minute half-time break and with no overtime during the regular season. Defaults - the score will be recorded as 15-0.
II. Try Scoring Area: Is 6 yards (5 metres) deep from the goal line.
III. Boundaries Defined: The boundaries of the rugby field are played within half the length, and the full width of the soccer field.
IV. The ball can only be passed sideways or backwards through the air, not handed to another player. Failure to do so will result in a Free Pass for the opposing team.
V. The Free Pass: A Free Pass is used:
a) At the start or re-start of the match from the center of the half way line at the beginning of each half
b) From the touch line (place where the ball went out of bounds) when the ball goes into touch
c) From where the referee indicates when a penalty has taken place
i. The Free Pass must start with the player holding the ball in two hands, and when instructed by the referee, who will declare ‘Play’, pass the ball backwards through the air to a teammate.
ii. The player making the Free Pass MUST pass the ball and cannot run with the ball when the referee declares “Play”.
iii. At a Free Pass, the opponents must be 5 yards back from the mark.
iv. The opponents cannot start moving until the ball leaves the hands of the passer.
VI. Teams are allowed to substitute on the fly when both players are within arm’s length of each other. Players who come on before the player substituting off is close to them will be given a yellow card, and forced to make the substitution again.
VII. Any ball that is played out of bounds will result in a Free Pass from the touch line for the opposing team.
VIII. The Tag:
a) A Tag is made when an opponent removes one of the two flags on the ball carriers belt. The ball carrier must immediately put the ball between their legs and re-attach their flag. After the ball has been placed on the ground, any teammate can pick up the ball and pass it laterally, as long as nobody is offside. There are no pick and go’s allowed, the ball must be passed out to another teammate. The teammate does not need to wait for the ball carrier to re-attach the flag before picking up the ball and passing. As the ball carrier is re-attaching their flag, raise their hand to indicate they are out of play and not offside.
b) The defender must hand the flag back to the tagged player immediately. Failure to do so will result in a penalty. The defensive player must take a knee and raise their hand up to signal a tag has been made. They can move from this position after the ball has been passed out. The defensive team must move back 5 yards once a tag has been made.
X. A Knock-On: When a player drops the ball forward to the ground towards the opponent’s goal line it is called a Knock-on. A Knock-on results in a Free Pass awarded to the other team unless an advantage exists.
XI. Offside: Offside occurs when a player is tagged. An Offside line extends across the field from where a tag is made. Players must retreat behind the offside line to remain onside. Failure to do so results in a penalty.
XII. Kicking is not permitted in flag rugby.
XIII. If the ball carrier goes to ground, or a player dives on the ball, a Free Pass is awarded to the other team.
XIV. The ball carrier may run and dodge potential taggers, but must not push off by using a hand or the ball.
XV. Players must not intentionally make contact with opponents. Such contact includes, but not limited to, pushing, pulling, blocking or charging. Such incidents will be penalized and the player reminded about the non-contact nature of the game.
XVI. The ball cannot be pulled from the players grasp.
XVII. Players may not jump across the touchline or spin to avoid a tag.
XVIII. The following system of time-penalty minutes will be implemented:
a) A cautioned player (yellow card) will serve a two (2) minute penalty and their team shall play short until the penalty time expires or the opposing team scores, at which point they may return to the field.
b) If there are two players serving minor penalties and a try is scored, the player with the least amount of time remaining in their penalty can re-enter the field.
c) Red card offences result in a five (5) minute major penalty and a game ejection. A teammate of the offending player who was on the field at the time of the offense must serve the penalty for the ejected player. Only one player may serve the penalty, switching players serving is not allowed. The major penalty must be served in its entirety, regardless of the opposing team scoring a goal.
d) Two yellow cards will also result in a red card for that player.
e) If a third player on the same team receives a penalty, they must leave the field, but their penalty does not start until one of the other two player’s penalty time expires. The players shall then leave the penalty box in order of their penalty time expiring, but only when the team is allowed to have a player re-enter the field due to the second penalty expiring.

Use of Flags

I. No garment may hang over, under or near the belt and flags in such a way to make it difficult to pull the flag. Any loose portion of the flag belt must be tucked in.
II. When a flag is removed from the ball carrier, the ball is dead at that point and must be passed within three strides at maximum.
III. If the ball carrier’s flag drops and is not the result of a tagging attempt, the game becomes one hand touch.
IV. If a flag drops as a result of a tagging attempt further down the field, the ball is dead where the flag drops.
V. The ball carrier may not protect his/her flag by holding it, or swinging his/her arm at the point.
VI. It is the player’s responsibility to make sure both flags are worn properly prior to each play.
VII. Flags cannot be wrapped around the belt; they must hang from the Velcro.


• Flags, flag belts, and a rugby ball will be provided.
• Molded cleats are permitted, two flags (2 x 18 inches) must be worn by each player (1 on each hip), and no player may wear casts, braces or other equipment on their hands, wrists, forearms or elbows. Tape and tensor bandages may be used. No equipment may be worn which is designed to soften the blow received from contact with others, protective equipment such as volleyball kneepads are permitted.
• It is important that all players bring both a white and dark shirt with them to all games. Generally the Home Team will be expected to wear white and the Away Team will be expected to wear dark. Any team that has a set of matching jerseys will be given priority to wear them regardless of if they are the Home Team or Away Team. If both teams present have jerseys of a similar colour then it is the home team that will be given preference and the away team will be expected to change. No gray or red shirts.


• In all regular season games, there will be no overtime. Games finishing in a tie will be recorded as such in the standings.
• In all playoff games, if two teams are tied at the end of regulation time, a five minute overtime period will be played. This will continue until a winner is declared.


• Playoff formats will be determined by the Intramural sport convener.


Campus Recreation Intramural Sports at Western University holds sportsmanship as “Our Golden Rule of Sport”. Sportsmanship is a great tradition in sports and competition that means playing clean, handling both victory and defeat with grace, style, and dignity, respecting the judgment of referees and officials, and treating opponents with respect. Sportsmanship is a style and an attitude, and it can have a positive influence on everyone around you.

Weather & Playing Field Conditions

• Games will continue to be played during all weather conditions except: if thunder is heard, games will be suspended for 15 minutes. If no thunder or lightning are seen or heard in the 15 minutes, games will continue. If thunder and lightning persist, games will be cancelled and rescheduled, if possible. If lightning is seen, games will be immediately cancelled and rescheduled, if possible.
• Field conditions will be monitored by Intramural staff who may suspend games at any time if they believe the field is unplayable.
• When in doubt, players should expect the game to be played and arrive at the field on time. If games get/are to be cancelled the sport convener will send out a message to those affected as soon as the decision to cancel has been made.

Game Reschedules

I. Cancelled Games (due to weather, space conflicts etc.) will be rescheduled whenever possible to ensure you get the Intramural experience you paid for, however facility availability is limited, and games may not always be able to be rescheduled.
II. Team Requests for a Reschedule - Unfortunately, once our schedules are released online we only make changes due to facility closure, etc.
III. If you need to reschedule a game, email your opponent to gain their permission to a possible rescheduling. Only if the opponent agrees to a change of game time can you email your Intramural sport convener at least 48 hours prior to the game with your request (and proof of opponent’s agreement). Requests will be accommodated when possible, but are not guaranteed. If you wish to swap game times with another game in your division, you must contact the captains of all teams involved in the game swap. The swap can only occur if all parties agree. This must be completed at least 48 hours prior to the originally scheduled game. Proof of all agreements must be sent to the Sport Convener before the game time swap can be executed.
IV. Forfeit the game: If you give at least 48 hours’ notice to your sport specific convener that your team won't be playing and that the game is a ‘forfeit’. You will lose the game, but not your Performance Bond.