- O2 Touch arrives in Manchester and Nottingham
- England Women's internationals Hunter and Fleetwood and Sale Sharks' Miller turn out for touch
Photo: RFU Archive
The Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) O2 Touch tour this week arrived in Manchester and Nottingham 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 Sky Sports Sarah-Jane Mee, spent Wednesday at Albert Square in the heart of Manchester and Friday at Old Market Square in Nottingham, showcasing the game on a specially-laid pitch. Joining The Untouchables in Manchester were Sale Sharks’ full back Rob Miller and England Women’s international Vicky Fleetwood, who hope this initiative will bring the fun, fitness and social elements of the non-contact sport to many more people across England. In Nottingham, England Women's captain Sarah Hunter was also hoping to bring the mixed sport to the fore.
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 Manchester can visit one of the local O2 Touch Centres, including Vale of Lune, Sale FC, Preston Grasshoppers and Broughton Park. Nottingham-based O2 Touch Centres include Nottingham University and Nottingham Moderns. 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 International, Fleetwood, said: “O2 Touch is a great way to keep fit and have fun. Anyone can pitch up and play and not worry about the physical side of rugby!”
Hunter added: “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 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 launched today 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. It’s just pure fun that will leave you feeling like you’ve had a great workout.
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 pitch up and 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.
O2 Touch tour – upcoming dates
- Monday, March 4, Hull, Queen Victoria Square
- Wednesday, March 6, Sheffield, Fargate
- Friday, March 8, Bristol, Anchor Square
- Saturday, March 16, Norwich, The Forum
- Monday, March 18, Plymouth, The Piazza, Royal Parade
- Wednesday, March 20, Portsmouth, Guildhall Square
- Friday, March 22, Southampton, Guildhall Square