Kabaddi for rugby

Fast and fun, this energetic game originates from India and will develop your players’ footwork, teamwork and contact skills.

It’s a skills-based activity that players will never tire of playing. Aim to use it a few times a season.

  1. The aim of the game is to reduce the number of players on one team to zero by elimination.
  2. Play no more than 8 v 8 in a 20m by 10m box. A line splits the area so that each team stands in a 10m square. In turns, one team attacks, the other defends.
  3. The attack nominates a raider in rotation.
  4. The raider has 30 seconds to enter the defence area and touch a defender.

If he succeeds, the defenders must try to stop the raider returning back to the attack area.

  • If a defender is touched and the raider returns safely, that defender is eliminated from the game.
  • If the raider is captured (touched), he is eliminated.
  • If the raider doesn’t touch a defender and doesn’t get captured, there are no eliminations.

The game ends when a side has lost all their players.


Just like in the original game, there are a number of versions. Here are some of the alternative rules…

1. Stopping the raider: using tag rugby equipment, a touch by the raider is still valid but the defenders must grab the tag. Otherwise, the following degrees of physical contact can be added:

  • a two-handed touch by a defender
  • grab and hold for over 5 seconds
  • a normal tackle (without the raider getting their hips over the mid line)

2.  The raider can be given a ball, which can be used for the touch.

3.  The raider, as in the real game, should hold their breath for the duration of the raid and say “kabaddi, kabaddi” throughout. The word “kabaddi” means “hold hands”.

4.  If a raider is caught, or a defender touched, then the defenders and attackers respectively can bring a player back on.

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