Touch Nationals Message from England Touch

Thank you to all involved for your patience and understanding regarding the regrettable but necessary postponement of the nationals this weekend due to adverse weather conditions. A number of issues regarding the rescheduled event have been raised. The following should clarify these issues. If you have further questions about the rescheduled tournament itself, please contact Tom Bedkowski (; questions about timelines, etc. for international squads and payments, please contact Marnie Wills (; other questions, please direct to David Woolley (

  1. The Nationals have been rescheduled to take place at Bolton School for the weekend of the 13th-14th April. We know that this does not suit everyone and some squads have requested other specific dates. Whilst sympathetic to these issues we have to consider every region, finance incurred by the ETA which we do not want to pass on to players (bookings for venues, referees, referee accommodation), availability of referees, etc. The re-arranged date is far from perfect – but it is the least-worst decision open to us.
  2. The Nationals’ status – the winner to be the regional champion of England – remains unaffected.
  3. The Nationals’ status as a trial for the England squads remains unaffected. Players who play at the rescheduled Nationals are available for selection for international sides. If players were selected for a regional side and are now unable to play because of the postponement they will need to apply for an exemption to be considered for selection for an international side. These exemptions should be submitted to David Woolley (form available on request) – they will be sympathetically considered and when granted, the coach of the international side they wish to be considered for will be notified. Where a player was originally selected for a regional squad and cannot attend the rescheduled event, the information on their suitability for an international side already submitted by their regional coach will be highly important for the international coaches. Regional coaches are encouraged to re-submit more extended comments for players in these circumstances.
  4. International coaches will receive these comments from the Head of Elite Coaching as soon as possible. They will be able to select an initial squad of between 16 and 24 players (at the coaches’ discretion) to get an extra look at players who were not at the nationals and to assess players who have received a similar regional coaches’ report.
  5. International coaches and squad managers will receive an updated briefing note on all squad events, selection dates and their interaction with payments due, etc. in the coming days.

We hope this is helpful. Thank you again for your understanding.

We are England Touch,

England Touch Association Executive Committee.

Challenge Touch Series Round 1 Results


2013 CTS Round 1 – Hosted by Thames Valley Vikings – Finalist Results:

Shield: Portsmouth Destroyers Touch Club beat Lincolnshire Touch 3-0.

Bowl: Blue Coats School beat Halton Touch 4-1.

Plate: Nottingham Touch Club beat Canterbury Cougars 2-0.

CUP: CSSC Wookies beat Wigan Touch Warriors 4-2.

Thank you to the Thames Valley Vikings for hosting a successful 16-team CTS tournament, and also to the referees and officials, without whom the event could not have taken place.

– We Are England Touch.

Ben Powell – ETA Technical Director Interview

In this interview on the week of the #TouchNationals, the ETA’s new Technical Director, Ben Powell (pictured centre as the NW Blades women’s squad regional coach), has spent the Winter months working with England Touch colleagues to develop the organisation at the elite level.  He takes this interview opportunity to give the Technical Director’s planning perspective.

ETA:  From an England elite squad perspective, what other initiatives do the ETA have in the pipeline?

Ben:  “We have a number of coaching courses planned for this year which will run alongside our NTS and CTS events this summer. We are currently planning courses and training weekends which will endeavour to ‘up-skill’ our National team coaches and our elite squads in the lead up to the Home Nations Tournament and beyond. In terms of our hopes for the Home Nations, we (England) will be going into every division very confident as we we look to capitalise on the achievements of the 2012 Euros in Trevisio and build towards the 2014 Euros to defend our crown. We are obviously expecting tough competition from the likes of Wales and Scotland throughout all divisions, however, no nation will be taken for granted. Personally, I am eager to see the implementation of the Women’s 27 division, as it is not only a category that England should be well represented in, but it is a category that has really established itself in NTLs in Australia. Finally, one of our most important initiatives this season will be to continue the already established development of our referees. The England Touch Associations Director of Referees, Shelley, has been working very hard to ensure a number of Level 1 and Level 2 Refs courses run alongside most NTS and CTS events.”

ETA:  Where do you view the priority sector as being for England Touch to target in their elite Touch progress campaign?

Ben:  “Although there are certain areas offering a very high return of ‘Elite’ standard players, we are trying to ensure that a diverse range of areas are being targeted and developed to push players through to the standards required to allow England Touch to compete in the international arena.  The current development of Touch Leagues within Universities and the O2 Touch League is very promising, and as our partnership with the RFU progresses, I am sure we will see not only the ‘grass-roots’ of both sports grow, but the Elite level too.”

ETA:  How is England Touch hoping to work in the future with developing youth & grass roots through to elite level Touch?

Ben:  “In terms of grass-roots and youth development, it has very much been an ‘upside down’ process, for lack of a better phrase. With current results on a European stage indicating that England Touch is on the rise, we now need to push forward in ensuring that we are developing the stars of tomorrow for England Touch. Involving younger ages in Touch in England is a tough initiative due to how new the sport is, relative to the bigger codes of Rugby Union, Rugby League and Football. However, the aim is to increase the profile of Touch in England by raising the awareness of our NTS/CTS events, the introduction of ‘Touch Taster Sessions’ in conjunction with selected NTS/CTS events with involvement of elite players in these sessions, and our appointment of Regional Development Officers. With this we will enable a clear path for the involvement from grass-roots players through to international level.  Our Development Coordinator, Dave Cope, and High Performance Manager, Marnie Wills, have been working closely to establish these lines of involvement in our sport.”

ETA:  What of the development pipeline for coaches?
Ben:  “Although not as rapid as player development, a systematic approach to the development of our coaches is being established. The amount of Level 1 Coaches rose significantly last calendar year, and we are expecting the same this year. With the assistance of Australian Touch Coach John Singh last year we were not only able to progress some of our Level 1 coaches to Level 2, but also qualify a number of coaches to be able to present both Community Level and Level 1 coaching courses. The ultimate goal is to have all club, regional and national coaches qualified to some degree, and most importantly offer our coaches some form of development each season.”

ETA:  So what plans do the ETA have to develop the elite level Touch coaches of tomorrow?

Ben:  “There is a big focus on ensuring development for our elite coaches in the coming 12 months and in the lead up to the 2015 World Cup. England Touch recognises the need to ensure regular development for our elite coaches, as they are the people who will directly effect our elite players and performance on the international stage. This season we are not only seeking formal qualifications for our elite coaches, but we are trying to ensure that there are ‘non-playing’ coaches associated with each international team. The England Touch Association and the European Touch Federation are also in talks regarding an exciting partnership in developing a coaching program suitable for all European Nations which will hopefully enable not only our elite coaches, but also other European coaches, as we look to close the gap on the Southern Hemisphere giants of Australia and New Zealand.  Finally, the England Touch Association has also been approached to nominate an  individual to join the Federation of International Touch’ Coaching Commission, which will provide valuable exposure to aid the development of our elite coaches.”

ETA:  Thank you to Ben Powell for taking time out of his busy schedule to give the England Touch community an invaluable insight into the exciting progress from the elite level Technical Director’s stand-point.  On a separate note, if you are passionate about Touch and would be interested in taking up a committee role with the ETA then click here to find more about becoming our Development Director  We are England Touch.

Ben Powell (pictured right) comes from a playing background.  Here he is on the attack for the NW Blades at the 2012 Touch Nationals.

David Cope Interview – ETA Development Co-ordinator


Dave started playing Touch about 8 years ago and does not come from a rugby background.  He participated with work colleagues in a local ETA affiliated  Touch league and was hooked, playing Touch at a social level until 3 years ago, which is when he joined South East based club Hot Custard.  This improved his understanding of the game and his all-round Touch skills, to the point where in 2012 he played for the 2012 #TouchNationals champions, SE Taipans, and was also selected to play England Men’s 30s.   Dave will be at the 2013 #TouchNationals playing for the SE Sharks and in his role as the newly appointed ETA Development Co-ordinator.  He talks to us about this new role and how he plans on tackling a job that has never been done in the ETA before.  Touch Development is a pillar of priority for the organisation, Dave discusses in detail what it is he’s going to bring to the party.

ETA:  What’s your role as the National Development Co-ordinator?

Dave:  “My aim is to increase the number of people playing Touch in England, and to ensure that there are more options for them to develop from social games, through leagues and into the regional and elite levels. We want more competition amongst players at the elite level to drive up the overall quality of the national teams.  But it isn’t just about the elite level, Touch is such a great sport that I want more people to simply participate and enjoy it.  It  is a sport that is accessible to all, and I’d be especially pleased if we see more women and young players getting into it.  Marnie Wills (ETA High Performance Manager) and Ben Powell (ETA Technical Director) have taken on oversight of development alongside their primary ETA roles. They’ve got lots of experience locally and nationally to provide direction and support on this, so I’m really pleased to be working with them.  As the ‘co-ordinator’, I won’t be doing all this national development on my own. I’ve already got two team members – Ashleigh Stidolph (Percy Park Pirates) and Hannah Chrisp (Loughborough Uni Touch) have stepped up to the plate. I know there are lots of other people around the country who are doing lots of great touch development activity, so if you’d like to join the team, email me at

ETA:  What made you apply for the role?

Dave:  “Last year was a great year for me as a player, I was fortunate enough to play in the team that won the Touch Nationals and then got selected to play for the Men’s 30s team in the European Touch Championships.  The regional team gave me a great structure to step up my game, but not everyone has that opportunity.  I want to be part of the team that broadens the appeal of Touch, gets more people playing and gives them the same opportunities I had to experience the sport at that level.  Oh, and it was the Olympics last year.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I got a bit carried away with it all, and so I probably applied on the back of that sort of enthusiasm. Who doesn’t want to ‘Inspire a Generation’???!!”

ETA:  What will be your role at the Touch Nationals?

Dave:  “I’m there to win. I’m playing in the excellent South East Sharks team, and we are hungry to win the competition.  Obviously, I’ll be on hand to chat about development with anyone who wants to, so if you are there and want to talk about how you can play a role in developing the sport, please do come and find me.”

ETA:  How do you see your role developing in future #TouchNationals?

Dave:  “Each regional franchise has already done a lot for development in their region, but I’m hoping that they can be the focal point for even more development. I’m hoping to work closely with each franchise over the course of the next year to help them pull in new players, develop talent and bring even more competitive teams to future #TouchNationals.”

ETA:  What do the Touch Nationals mean to you as National Development Co-ordinator?

Dave:  “The Touch Nationals was a great innovation last year.  This year there is the same Open Division competition, but also a Masters competition.  It’d be great if next year it is even bigger, possibly with more age group divisions or even a mixed division.  The Nationals is probably the best single competition to showcase our sport off to the rest of the country, so I’d like to see public interest grow over time too.”

ETA:  Do you have a vision or aim you hope to achieve in your tenure as National Development Co-ordinator?

Dave:  “More players across the country, more players moving from social towards elite level, and more interest in the sport.  Somewhere down the line, I’d like to be turn on my telly and watch the Touch Nationals on prime-time TV.”  

ETA:  Thanks to David Cope for obliging with the interview, the England Touch community is fortunate to have you onboard, we’re sure readers can almost feel your enthusiasm for our sport exuding from this article.  Welcome onboard!  –  We are England Touch.  


Sports Nutrition for Touch

“You wouldn’t put diesel in your Ferrari, right?”

 A previous England Touch news article on the subject of ‘Sports Nutrition for Touch’ was written by Jessica Pulley, a registered dietician, and was published by the ETA last year.

Have you heeded Jessica’s advice?  How is your nutritional plan today?

England Touch interviewed England Women’s Open player and South East Taipans regional Touch lead, Marnie Wills, to ask her how she prepares her diet for Touch.

1. What do you eat for a regular Touch training day?  

“Scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast.  I snack on pieces of chicken, fruit and depending on the length of the training I will have a protein shake after the session.”

2.  Do you believe eating the right food is important & how strict is your diet?

“I believe that eating the right foods pre/post training and for tournaments is very important.  My body type requires me to watch what I eat – a lot.  If I need to trim down before a big national or international tournament I will cut carbohydrates, sugars, caffeine and alcohol.  I am however aware of the need to ‘carbo’ load about 5 days out from tournaments so that I have enough glycogen storage in my muscles.  It is really important to make sure your body is always fuelled enough to sustain your activity levels.  The more active you are the more food you need to eat.  I have recently learned the importance of eating breakfast every day, for many years I neglected eating a good breakfast as I just ‘didn’t have time’.”

3.  What is a typical pre-Touch Tournament meal?
“My favourite meal before a tournament is spaghetti Bolognese for dinner, scrambled or poached eggs for brekkie and plenty of water.” 
4. After a tournament (e.g. the European Championships in 2012), what foods to you eat to fuel your recovery?
 “This is a hard one as the focus at the end of a tournament is on celebrating our successes, therefore the alcoholic beverages roll out and refueling the body is almost forgotten.  However, it is best to replenish the body with a high protein meal.”
5. Have you got any food related guilty pleasures & how often do you allow yourself to indulge??
“I have to be honest, I am a CHOCO-holic.  As I am currently only 3months out from an international event I am on an eating plan that only allows me one cheat day a week, this is usually a Friday as that’s when all the sweets come out at work.”  
ETA:  Thank you to Marnie for her honest nutrition appraisal, there’s much to be digested there! –– We are England Touch.
Marnie Wills (pictured centre) – With her club side London Galaxy, winning the overall NTS trophy in 2012.

New Touch Summer League in Norwich

England Touch Association welcomes its latest member, Norwich Rebels Touch.

The 2013 season will see the Norwich Rebels – in association with England Touch Association (ETA) – organise a social Touch league in the Norwich area.  Full details about the Norwich Rebels can be found on their dedicated Rebels website.  An outline of how you can get involved with Touch leagues in the Norwich area this can be summarised as:

  • Open to teams based in or around Norwich
  • The league will be open, which means  mixed, all womens and all mens teams compete together – a handicapping points system will apply *
  • Starting in late May and running for 8 weeks. See timing plan for further details.
  • Games to be played on Sunday mornings at 10:00 and 11:00**
  • Games of two 20 min halves
  • 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw
  • Teams of 14 players. 6 on the pitch with rolling subs
  • Entry fee £12 per team – Payable to ETA
  • Each team must  nominate at least one referee ***
  • Teams will play each other twice during the league (once at home and once away)
  • Nominated referees can receive informal training at Norwich Rebels weekly Tuesday evening training sessions at Eaton Park Norwich during April and May 2013
  • Any players new to Touch, or anyone wanting to brush up their skills and fitness levels before the league starts are also welcome to attend Norwich Rebels training sessions
  • Played to Federation of International Touch rules
  • Teams must wear a team shirt or bib (preferably numbered)
  • There are two Touch pitches at Eaton Park Norwich which can be used by teams without their own grounds for home games. A booking system will apply ****.


* Mixed teams must have a least one player of each gender on the pitch at all times. All male teams playing mixed teams will start each game with minus 2 tries. All male teams playing all women teams will start with minus 4 tries. Mixed teams playing all women teams will start with minus 2 tries.

** Or on another day/time agreed between both teams and the nominated referee

*** Referees will not officiate games in which their own team is playing

**** There will be a £10 charge per home team per match played at Eaton Park to cover line marking costs.


For further details, to register your team’s interest, or obtain an application form:


– We are England Touch.