How do you play the game?

Beach rugby doesn’t have a governing body or consistent laws but here’s the gist!

Playing Area

Length between 30 – 50m.  Width between 20 – 35m.  In goal 2m at each end.

Playing Time

All matches up to and including the semi-finals will have two periods of 4 mins each with a 1 min interval.  The Finals will be two periods of 6 minutes each with a 2 min interval.  No time will be added for trivial injury.  Where injury results in stoppage over 2 minutes time will be added.

Timings may be altered to suite the needs of the tournament.  Nature may play it’s part on the day, so its really important for teams to be ready to play when called by the referee.  Having a beer is not an acceptable excuse!!!!

If finals are tied then a sudden death extra time period is used.  Papers, scissors, stone may also be used.


Each team will have 5 players on the pitch, plus 5 replacements.  Rolling subs are allowed but only when play is stopped.  Players entering the pitch may do so only from the designated control area.  Substitutions are often done “on-the-fly,” similar to ice hockey.


Scoring is by means of grounding the ball in the in-goal area only.  The try is worth one point and there are no goal kicks.


It is expected that teams will wear matching colours.  Rugby tops, T-shirts and vests are good.  Rugby shorts are essential.  There are prizes for the best dressed team! Players will either have bare feet or wear socks.


Tap and immediate pass from the centre of the pitch restarts the game.


No kicks other than tap and immediate pass at restarts.

Scrums and Lineouts

You’ll be glad that there’s none!!  If the ball carrier goes into touch or there is a knock-on or forward pass, play is resumed by a tap and immediate pass by the non-offending team at the place of the infringement.


Full contact rugby is played.  When a player carrying the ball is tackled by an opponent (whether taken to the ground or not), and they are brought to a halt, they must release the ball within 3 seconds by passing it or leaving it on the ground.  Failure to do so will result in a turnover ball.


Players must enter the tackle, ruck and maul from behind their own side of the breakdown.  The offside distance from the ball for all penalties and restarts is 5m.  If this distance is not observed, the referee will have the option to play advantage, award a penalty, or move the position a further 5m towards the offending teams goal line.


All penalties are tap and immediate pass from the place of infringement.


A size 4 rugby ball is used.

Playing Enclosure

Only the 10 team members plus one additional person (water carrier/physio/medic) is allowed inside the playing enclosure.  All other players, coaches, managers and spectators must remain behind the barrier.


The safety of players is our priority.  All players must be in a fit state to play and not cause danger to themselves or others.  Our referees will not allow anyone they deem unfit through drink to participate.

Players will not abuse, threaten, intimidate or use foul or abusive language or gestures towards anyone on or off the field of play. Players are representing their club and should want to leave a good impression.


Only the recognised captain is permitted to speak to the referee.

Extra Players

Should a team be found to be fielding more than 5 players, the referee will stop play.  If the offending team have scored with 6 players on the field, the score(s) will be disallowed you cheating bandits!!!!!

Yellow Card

Sin bin for 2 minutes or alternatively 100 press ups!  Offending players to remain in the control area and can only rejoin the game at a stoppage in play.

Red Card

A red card is a permanent dismissal.  You would have to be a real ass to get one of these!  You never know though.  In the heat of the moment the red mist can take hold.

Team Discipline

Any team exhibiting poor discipline could have points deducted and/or be removed from the competition.


All teams must register in advance of the tournament.  All players will have to sign a disclaimer that they understand and will abide by the laws and that Carnoustie Beach Rugby accepts no responsibility for any damage or injury caused to you and your property.


All referees are suitably qualified.

Game times may change slightly so please pay attention on the day.  Team Managers must ensure players are at the pitch at least 5 mins before kick off.