Businesses in the Potteries will link up with the local community for the inaugural O2 Touch-on-Trent rugby tournament at Longton RFC on August 19 (6.30pm).
The Touch-on-Trent tournament forms part of the O2 Touch initiative, a major nationwide project sponsored by O2 and the Rugby Football Union which aims to help the non-contact version of the game to spread its wings.
The Longton event will involve teams from local businesses, community groups and rugby clubs in a form of rugby that gives adults and teenagers – male and female - the chance to participate alongside each other.
Stoke-on-Trent Community Rugby Coach George Glenn, who is running the event, said: "We hope to get a really positive response from local businesses who have all recieved an invite to enter a staff team into the tournament.
"The aim is to get as many people as possible who are new, or may have been away from the game, enjoying touch rugby. There is a demand in the city for social rugby, it is hoped that this tournaments can kick start a series of further events."
Matches will be six-a-side with maximum squads of ten. There will be a barbecue outdoor bar available on the day to give the event a social focus.
Over 400 clubs across the country – more than 100 of them across the Midlands – have already signalled their intention to participate in the O2 Touch project over the summer months, which means that there will be an opportunity for everyone to join the programme at a nearby club.
While the game incorporates all the handling and evasion skills of the full game, this non-contact version provides a great opportunity for rugby folk and people from a non-rugby background to get together in a game which embraces simple skills and fitness in equal measure.
RFU affiliated clubs across England will be running weekly touch rugby sessions throughout the summer to bring the game to a much wider audience and introduce new friends to the game and the unique camaraderie of the sport.
Everyone is invited to come along to his or her local rugby club, try it out and see how accessible and welcoming their local club is. (To find your local club visit www.rfu.com/O2touch).
O2 Touch is the first initiative to be rolled out to support the RFU’s Choose Rugby campaign which aims to increase participation in the sport ahead of the Rugby World Cup 2015.
Through Choose Rugby, the RFU is encouraging people to find a rugby club and start, restart or carry on playing rugby, either in the traditional 15-a-side game or in modified short and non-contact versions of the game like touch, tag or sevens.
To enter a team into the event, or for more information please contact George on 07894489754 or firstname.lastname@example.org.