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Visiting Penzance recently, England Touch hosted a workshop with the Cornish Pirates on coaching touch rugby to schoolchildren.
Set up in 1995, England Touch is the national governing body for touch rugby in the country. It is growing from strength to strength as an organisation and is currently in the process of becoming affiliated with Sport England.
There are over twenty national teams that represent England at touch rugby tournaments and these teams encompass athletes between the ages of 15 and 50. Touch rugby is a truly inclusive sport, with no one being unable to participate, and it can be played as a mixed or single-sex sport.
In Cornwall, there are currently three local community clubs: Truro Trojans, Falmouth Touch Rugby and Bodmin Ladies. All three clubs are committed to growing touch rugby at grassroots level, and England Touch welcome people of all ages and abilities to training sessions, with there a strong desire to increase the local touch rugby network in order to facilitate more local leagues and development tournaments.
Moving forward, the three clubs are looking to work with the Cornish Pirates to create a competitive team that would not only enter England Touch competitions but would also provide a platform for Cornish athletes to receive regional and national honours.
Visiting the Cornish Pirates for the workshop hosted by England Touch were four of their representatives who are based in the South West, namely Lexie Williams, James Bunt, Joelene Hughes and Zoe Aubert.
The session started with a 45-minute presentation led by Lexie which involved discussions of what England Touch is about, why it should be taught in schools, how it should be taught in schools and how the skills required in touch fit in with the national curriculum core competency skills.
The Cornish Pirates also took part in a quick quiz, which caused much hilarity and competitiveness between the players – with the final four taking part in a quick-fire final question. Following the presentation, everyone headed onto the Mennaye Field pitches so that the players could see what touch rugby was all about. There was firstly a quick warm-up drill, followed by some skills training before playing some matches.
Lexie, who is a High Performance Assistant Coach with England Touch, commented:
“Everybody thoroughly enjoyed the games and it looked like there was some natural aptitude for both playing and refereeing touch rugby amongst the players.
“We were highly impressed with how involved the players were throughout the course of the day, with energy levels remaining high after a tough pre-season initial block!
“There could certainly be some touch rugby players amongst the Pirates if they wanted to join in with some local sessions! It was a privilege to provide the workshop to the players, and we are looking forward to working with them moving forward.”
On behalf of the Cornish Pirates, Team Manager Matt Evans also commented:
“Having the pleasure of welcoming the England Touch rugby coaches, it is clear they are well organised and efficiently run and what they are doing is really good.
“A main part of their visit was to educate our guys so that when we make our community appearances, working alongside our community engagement manager Sam Teasdale, they will have the required knowledge to help deliver to those exposed to learning and playing touch rugby. To their credit they all responded enthusiastically, got stuck in and found it beneficial.”
“Yes, touch rugby is different, but it falls under the same umbrella of rugby and the Pirates are very much invested to making community rugby strong and to promote good health and wellbeing. By getting involved with the touch rugby aspect it is hoped more people will be encouraged to play and gain such benefits, with some perhaps then making the transition to play the contact side.
To find out more about England Touch, please visit: