Tag Rugby began in Australia as a training aid for Rugby League teams. Former St George Dragons halfback Perry Haddock founded the sport while coaching the 1992 St George under 20 side.
Since its beginnings in 1993, Oztag has grown in popularity across Australia in urban and rural areas. 28 teams participated in the first season in summer 1992-1993 playing in the Cronulla and St George areas of Sydney. Today, well over 200,000 players take part in Oztag competitions nationally.
The first game ever of Oztag was played on Monday 26th October 1992 in North Barton Park, West Botany Street, Rockdale, NSW, Australia. With the first ever try scorer being Johnathon Docking.
Whilst taking off in Australia Tag Rugby quickly spread across the Tasman to New Zealand. The popularity of Tag Rugby in New Zealand can be seen by the large number of Kiwis turning out in Try Tag Rugby competitions throughout London.
The Irish Tag Rugby Association (ITRA) introduced adult Tag Rugby to Ireland in 2000 and the sport has gone on to become with upwards of 30,000 players regularly playing the game.
Whilst Tag Rugby was played in small pockets of interest in England, and in early 2000s via Inter Message Board Rugby League (IMBRL) where message boards representing clubs took part in tournaments and friendly matches, the game never really had a foothold until 2008/09.
A brief history of Try Tag Rugby
In London, Tag Rugby has been played regularly since 2008.
Competition kicked off when Alistair Davis and Ian Howe put a proposal to the London Skolars Rugby League club to run a weekly Tag Rugby competition. With the help from London Skolars General Manager, Ben Araud, a four team Men’s Tag Rugby competition took place at Finsbury Park over the summer.
In 2009 Alistair Davis joined new London Skolars General Manager at the time, Phillip Browne, in re-launching Skolars Tag Rugby as a mixed competition. With strong support from volunteers the competition expanded to eight teams.
The success of Skolars Tag showed the potential for Tag Rugby as an adult participation sport in London. In August 2009 Phillip Browne and Alistair Davis agreed to go full steam ahead with the development of Tag Rugby in the UK by launching Try Tag Rugby.
The company grew from strength-to-strength in London, and then branched out to Yorkshire, Manchester and the Thames Valley. The expansion into the Yorkshire region was overseen by Carl Duckels.
During 2018 the company launched a licensing model, with the first licenses launched in Bristol and Coventry & Warwickshire.
In July 2018 Phillip Brown stepped down, with Kyle Nish joining as Co-Owner & joint Managing Director in January 2020.
In the organisation’s 10th year of operation (2019), a licensed region launched in Wigan, while the Thames Valley region expanded to include parts of Oxford. In 2021 a new licence region launched in Sheffield.
2022 saw expansion into Scotland, with 24 teams taking part in the Edinburgh North region.
In early 2023 a licence launched in Brighton & Hove. In March 2023 Edinburgh North expanded to take on leagues in the south of Edinburgh, with the region changing to “Edinburgh” to encompass the whole of the Scottish capital.