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Home > News > Northern clubs embrace O2 Touch Tournament
Your News Northern clubs embrace O2 Touch Tournament

TOUCH rugby has been steadily emerging from the shadows of the 15-a-side code into a stand-alone recreational sport for both sexes and all ages and this summer a major initiative sponsored by O2 and the Rugby Football Union aims to help the non-contact version of the game to spread its wings.

The O2 Touch programme is a nationwide initiative aimed at making this fun-filled, socially driven game available to anyone over the age of 16.

Over 250 clubs across the country – and 145 across the North - have already signalled their intention to participate in the 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.

As a non-contact and easily accessible game for almost anyone, regardless of sex, age or rugby experience, the RFU recognises that touch rugby offers significant opportunities to recruit and retain players and is therefore intent on supporting the development of the game.

England’s World Cup winning centre Will Greenwood, who has played his fair share of touch rugby during his days at Stonyhurst School, Preston Grasshoppers and Waterloo is a firm supporter of the O2 Touch programme.

“There is so much high-quality rugby coming up over the next four years and it is a great time to be involved with and playing the sport.” He says: “Touch rugby is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. It is so easy to pick up and no matter what age you are or which part of the country you are from, it is a great way to have fun whilst playing rugby.”

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

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 encourage players to participate in the O2 Touch programme, the RFU is also running an online video competition with winners having the chance to play at Twickenham. Video footage of individual O2 Touch events can be submitted to, with an RFU committee selecting the top five films from the North and the South and the winning teams getting the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play at Twickenham.

Clubs where the O2 Touch programme is running in your area are:

Northumberland & Durham: Alnwick, Ashington, Berwick, Blyth, Hartlepool, Hartlepool Rovers, Seaton Carew, West Hartlepool, West Hartlepool TDSOB, Billingham, Stockton, Yarm, Consett, Darlington Mowden Park, Darlington, Durham City, Newton Aycliffe, Ryton, Sunderland, Morpeth, Novocastrians, Percy Park, Ponteland, Tynedale, Whitley Bay Rockliff.

Yorkshire: Wharfedale, Ilkley, Huddersfield YMCA, Middlesbrough, Richmondshire, Wensleydale, Whitby, Billingham, Stockton, Hartlepool Rovers, Hull, Hull Ionians, Malton & Norton, University of Hull, Scarborough, Morley, Ossett, Stanley Rodillians, Bradford & Bingley, Huddersfield, Keighley, Skipton, Guisborough, Redcar, Harrogate, West Hartlepool, Bramley, Burley, Garforth, Knottingley, Leeds Corinthians, Leodiensians, Old Modernians, Old Otliensians, Otley, Roundhegians, West Leeds, West Park Leeds, Wetherby, Yarnbury, University of Leeds, Driffield, Doncaster, Barnsley, Stocksbridge, Wath Upon Dearne, Rotherham Clifton, Dinnington, Sheffield Tigers, Sheffield and Mosborough.

Cumbria: Hawcoat Park, Kendal, Keswick, Kirkby Lonsdale, Penrith, Silloth, Upper Eden, Wigton, Windermere,

Cheshire: Capenhurst, Congleton, Crewe & Nantwich, Eagle, Ellesmere Port, Helsby, Knutsford, Lymm, Macclesfield, Northwich, Parkonians, Port Sunlight, Sandbach, Stockport, Wallasey, Warrington,

Lancashire: Dukinfield, Eccles, Sedgley Park, Trafford MV, Tyldesley, Wigan, Fylde, Hutton, Ormskirk, Pendle, Preston Grasshoppers, Tarleton, Thornton Cleveleys, Vale of Lune, Old Bedians, Didsbury Toc H, Formby Vikings, Liverpool St Helens, Aldwinians, Ashton-Under-Lyne, Aspull, Bolton, Bury, Leigh, Littleborough, Oldham, Rochdale, Burnage, Heaton Moor, Manchester, Wilmslow, Winnington Park, Burnley, Clitheroe, Fleetwood, Aspatria, Cockermouth, Creighton, North Manchester, Broughton Park, Mossley Hill, Ruskin Park, Sefton, Southport.

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