Mailbox: League must claim touch and tag variations of rugby

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor:

Hi James,

In an era where Rugby League is struggling for recognition, it should lay claim to the non-contact variant of the code (such as tag, touch etc) where ever it is played. Like Cricket has harnessed the popularity of first One Day and now T20 to reinvigorate and introduce a wider audience to their sport. Union has done the same with Sevens.

The advantages of having the non-contact versions of RL more closely associated with Tackle RL would include:

· Non-contact participation numbers would be included in the total figure of people playing League, this would help the code`s credibility in attracting sponsors and/ or Government funding;

· With closer links it will raise RL brand awareness and may introduce new fans live or on the different Broadcast platforms;

· Potential source of new players who may come to the game, in Australia high profile examples include Shaun Johnson, Kalyn Ponga and a new young player from the North Queensland Cowboys, who played in the Touch/Tag World Cup. His name escapes me.

I am sure there are other positivities I haven’t thought of.

It would be difficult, certainly in the short term, to unite all the variations under a banner that was unequivocally League. I understand that Touch/Tag rugby is a franchise that relies on appealing to people from both codes, hence the generic use of `Rugby`.

Therefore to me the best way forward would be to introduce a variation of non-contact League into our World Cup. The International Touch/Tag Football Federation would still hold their World Championships every 4 years with their 30+ nations but on the four year cycle corresponding with the RLWC the 16 best nations would compete alongside the WheelChair and Women’s and Men’s Tackle WC.

Very clearly claiming for all to see that they belong in the Rugby League family.


Editor’s comment: Certainly an interesting suggestion, though whether it’s too far down the track to unite the different factions – such as TryTag, ozTag, Touch RL – remains to be seen. Rugby league has missed out by not being aggressive enough in areas like this.

Mailbox gives you the chance to get your voice heard and start the debate with the rugby league audience. Want to be featured? Email the editor:


  1. I remember helping local schools at and around the turn of the century with the then popular “Bull Tag” (Bradford Bulls) game, I think I still have the VHS on the rules somewhere.
    Bradford were the pioneers of Super League with all it’s community support and innovations, so sad to see them internally explode from scenes behind the boardroom doors.

  2. While the world has been turned upside down…this is a massive opportunity to reinvent and/or introduce alternate or new sports to the arena on a world stage level. All it needs is the media and bigger organisations to get on board in the promotion, support and investment. Our environment, our minds our attitudes has drastically changed, let’s embrace it. 🙂

  3. If there is already a federation and world cup for Touch/Tag Rugby then why try to hijack it from under their feet? Isn’t that what Rugby Union has been doing to sabotage RL in emerging markets around the world? Creating parallel codes would be equally annoying and confusing and hurts their sport.

    If there was a gap in the market, then I would be all for RL staking its claim and planting its flag before RU did. But in this case, the sport is its own thing already. RL can try to create a partnership by formally recognizing the ITF and becoming affiliates to each other. Outside of that, it is another blackhole to suck money, something IRL can’t afford.

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