- O2 Touch tour kicks off in Birmingham
- Rugby stars pitch up and play
Photo: RFU Archive
The Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) O2 Touch tour today arrived in Birmingham as part of the RFU’s biggest ever campaign to get England playing touch rugby. The tour is supported by The Untouchables, a touch team with a difference.
The O2 Touch tour, hosted by sports TV presenter Abi Griffiths, spent the day at Victoria Square in the heart of Birmingham showcasing the game on a specially-laid pitch. Joining The Untouchables on this leg of the tour were England Women’s international Tamara Taylor and Worcester Warriors’ Shaun Perry, who hope this initiative will bring the fun, fitness and social elements of the non-contact sport to many more people across England.
The launch of the tour reflects the ever increasing numbers of people who are tired of playing single sex sports and are keen to play more mixed pursuits such as touch. Broadening the reach and appeal of rugby through touch is one of the key focus areas for the RFU to create a lasting legacy for the sport in the build-up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2015.
The RFU, working with O2, is committed to establishing 75 new O2 Touch Centres by June 2013 and a further 100 during 2013/14. Anyone interested in playing touch in Birmingham can visit one of the local O2 Touch Centres, including Droitwich, Aston Old Edwardians, Harborne, Sutton Coldfield, Handsworth and Silhillians. For more information visit www.rfu.com/O2touch.
Photo: RFU Archive
Over the next four weeks O2 Touch and The Untouchables will visit ten locations across the nation to encourage sign up to touch activity and raise awareness of the initiative. The Untouchables features a mix of male and female athletes including leading free runners, a choreographer to world-stars such as Rihanna and Dizzee Rascal and a former Leicester Tiger.
England Women's Taylor said: “O2 Touch is a great way to keep fit and to have some fun. The best thing about it is that anyone can play and not worry about the physical side of rugby! It’s a really positive initiative from the RFU and O2 to enable people of any age to get back into playing the game or try it for the first time. I’d definitely encourage people to pitch up to play.”
Sally Cowdry, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2, said: “We’re really proud of our long-standing relationship with England Rugby and through the O2 Touch programme, are committed to bringing rugby to everyone. Touch is such an inclusive and accessible sport and we really hope that the tour and The Untouchables will inspire a whole new generation to pick up a rugby ball and start playing this exciting game.”
Touch is one of the most inclusive sports, available to men and women. It is a non-contact form of rugby, which means there is no tackling and no scrums or line-outs. The rules are simple allowing players to self-referee matches and play anywhere, anytime with teammates, colleagues, family or friends.
For more information about the O2 Touch tour, to find out about opportunities to play near you and to watch videos of The Untouchables in action, visit www.rfu.com/o2touch
. You can also follow the tour and get involved on Twitter using #O2Touch.