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Home > News > Manchester becoming touch rugby hotbed
Your News Manchester becoming touch rugby hotbed

WITH over 600 players and more than 50 teams involved in a summer touch rugby project, Manchester is leading the way in the North as the centre of summer leisure rugby.

With touch rugby leagues also flourishing in the city and Broughton Park hosting one of the 02 Rugby Reunion events, the RFUs recent focus on providing different opportunities for rugby involvement is finding a receptive audience in this area of the North West.

The Manchester programme underlined who varied and diverse touch rugby can be and earned a ringing endorsement from Andrew Soutar, the Rugby Development Officer for Greater Manchester.

The summer touch project has been a great success and many of the clubs have been asked by the people taking part when the next festivals will be held, said Soutar: This has led to clubs already speaking to us about holding more touch events during the season.

Many clubs had teams entering who have never touched a rugby ball before, with some of the people taking part being parents, volunteers from the clubs and brothers and sisters of players. This has led them to wanting to play touch rugby again in the future, which is great.

Apart from stimulating that enthusiasm, another legacy from the programme was the equipment provided by the RFU to support the clubs. Each club received a first-aid bag, balls, bibs, T-shirts and other equipment that will go into use to support future initiatives.

At Leigh, 11 of the 65 players involved were girls taking part for the first time, while in the biggest event at Trafford MV, where 160 were involved, 45 were women and girls.

Rochdale used the registration of their mini section as the vehicle for their tournament and had 24 girls in their entry of 74; Sedgley Park had 15 girls in their 40-player total; and at Broughton, where 60 players took part, the event was used to showcase the facilities and new management in the district and to meet the new steward.

Dukinfield had a good mix among their 52 entrants, who included Under 15s, Oldies, Girls, Non-players and players, while Eccles, who had 28 girls in a field of 140, had a team of NHS staff from the local hospital, two teacher teams and others from the Broughton and Eccles clubs.

There is a feeling within the game that social rugby has a very important part to play in progressing the 15-a-side code, both in recruitment and also in simply providing rugby-style enjoyment for people who do not have either the appetite or the capability to take part in the physical challenge of the full game.

Results from a few weeks of touch rugby in Manchester strongly support that line of thinking.

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