Biggest National Squad selection day, to date!

Wow, what a great day!

The sun was shining, the Touch was flowing and we hosted the biggest national Touch trial that the UK has ever seen.

This annual tournament works 2 fold. 1, to increases player’s exposure across England to coaching, improve coaches skills and lift the standard of England Touch across the board. 2, to showcase the best players from each region and used as a basis for selection for the national squads open, senior and master’s sides.

Ben Powell, ETA technical Director, quoted, “The standard of competition was the highest we have seen in both the Men’s and Women’s division at National level, and throughout the day, the closely fought victories and gripping draws illustrated that both titles were in the balance.”

In the Women’s division, after 3 rounds the South East Sharks, North West Blades and the South East Taipans established themselves as ‘the teams to beat’, and indeed they were. The North West Blades went through the entire tournament undefeated, however they narrowly missed out on the final through a ‘touchdowns’ scored count-back. This saw the rivalry in Women’s division continue between 2 time winners, South East Sharks, and 2 time runner’s up, the South East Taipans.

The Women’s final was played at a frantic pace, and it was evident that quality of the Sharks were going to have to graft hard if they were going to match the vicious intensity the Taipans were playing at. Taipans ended up defeating the defending National champions 3-1 in what was a tremendous final.

Taipans captain Marnie Wills commented on their victory, by saying “we had absolutely nothing to loose, but so much to gain… so we just thought, lets leave everything on the pitch”.



In the Men’s division, the South East United team established themselves early as the team to beat, however their quality and composure was tested within the early stages of their first 2 games. The Midlands Men were, as usual, a very organised outfit and a well drilled team with a lot of talent on showcase and quickly established themselves as finals contenders with a clinical 5-2 victory over close rivals North West Blades.

In round 3 South East United were victorious in a great driving battle, and the North West Blades earned a crunching victory over the West Wildcats which was seen by many as one of the quickest games played all day. This set up Semi Final 1 between (2nd) Midlands Tigers V North West Blades (3rd) and Semi Final 2 (1st) South East United V West Wildcats (4th). South East United and the North West Blades were both victorious in their respective Semi Finals, and were due to meet in 17:00 final on field 1.

After a 1 minute silence in honour of the late legend Dennis Coffey and his immeasurable contribution to Touch around the world, the South East United Men and the North West Blades went to battle. The game was quick, and both sides were wasteful in line attack early on, however as the game progressed, so did the quality. In the end it was the South East United Men who ran out victors with a very clinical performance, 7 touchdowns to 3.

The Open Trial was coordinated by the national coaches and selectors. This was a huge success as players (with aspirations to be selected in the ETC14 and WC15 squads) who were not competing in the ‘Mini Touch-Nationals’ tournament went through drills and skills grids, followed by group games, to show off their skills!

All coaches involved in the trial commented on the impressive standard that was set, with many pushing themselves forward for England Squad Selection. Mike Roa (England M35 Coach): “I was really impressed with the depth of talent on display, right from the U18s to the Masters, those who were at the trial have a lot of potential”.


Gregg Cropper (ETA President) commented “I’d like to echo what Mike has said, the trials were a huge success and the players who trialled (in both the Nationals and Open Trials) were very impressive! As we look to find the next generation of Touch players, we were inundated with registrations from players vying for a spot in the elite programme. With well over 300 players at the event, it puts us in a great position to select the cream of the crop for next years international spots. A final thanks to all those who helped out behind the scenes and on the day!”


Men’s Division – South East United


Women’s Division – South East Taipans


Men’s Division – West Wildcats : Amro Karim
Women’s Division – North West Blades : Liana Leota
Referee – Kevin Hill
Coach – North West Blades Women’s Coach : Ben Powell

Referee Upgrades

Both Kevin Hill & David Field where upgraded to Level 1 after completing their on field assessments at the tournament.

Top Scorers

Women’s: Lucy Clark (SE Sharks): 6
Men’s: Christian Alonso (SE United): 5


Sept 2013 – Mini Nationals – The Results



Some stats from the day…




 A huge thank you to everyone who was involved in making the day such a great event!
  • All the players, who made it a huge success, it was great to see so many new faces amongst those returning to the fold.
  • Regional leads and coaches for rallying their troops and making the competition the closest to date!
  • All the national coaches/selectors for their attendance and valued input.
  • The helpers/admin for their great behind the scenes work prior to and on the day of the event.
  • The ETA medical team/physiotherapists for their attendance and safekeeping of players.
  • Shelley and the  referee team for their officiating on the day.
  • Droitwich for hosting the event at their great facilities, I’m sure we’ll be back!

England U18 Mixed Touch Trial

England are looking to enter a strong mixed U18s team in to the 2014 European Touch Championships, in Swansea. With this in mind we are holding a 2nd trial for all those who weren’t able to attend the Open Trials.


Sunday 6th October


Reading Blue Coat School,
Sonning Lane,


Registrations and photos will be completed in the main school sports hall, which is located behind the main school car park. Signs on the day will be displayed to direct you appropriately. Male and Female changing/showering facilities will also be provided in the main school sports hall.


All male and female players 18 or under on December 31st 2013
n.b. You are still eligible to play if you turn 19 between 1st January and July 31st 2014.


Please bring a white and black top to play in and moulded boots. No metal studs.


£5.00 per person


Please fill in the following on-line form, this info will be sent to head U18s coach: Registration Form


09:00 – 09.30    Arrival/Registration (numbers on shirts, photos etc)
09:30 – 10.50     Introduction, Warm-up and splitting into groups for skills/drills.
10:50 – 11.15       Food/drink break
11.15 – 12.30       Mini trials
12:30                      Wrap-up

Contact for queries:

Also, keep an eye out for more info in the coming weeks on here and on our social media sites.

Your sport, your views!

Here at England Touch, we aim to grow Touch throughout the country, encourage more people to get involved with the sport so that they can have fun and improve their performance on the pitch.

At the recent Touch Nationals and England Trials, we saw more players than ever before at similar events. Through our partnership with the RFU and their investment in O2 Touch, we are starting to reach out to more and more players and potential players of our sport. But in order to help shape the next steps, we want to hear your views to understand more about why you love touch and how we can help make it even better!

We have created a short player survey [] that we would love you to complete. It should take 3 or 4 minutes to complete; by completing the survey you will be entered into a prize draw to win a coaching session by a top England coach for your club  or team!

Your views will be invaluable to help shape the direction of England Touch in developing our sport!

ETA Development Team

Hosting a Touch Series Event in 2014‏

After lengthy discussions weighing up the ‘pros and cons’ of combining the NTS and CTS events, it has been decided that in 2014, this will happen.

The main benefits being that it will:

  • Free up 4 weekends in the already busy Touch calendar
  • Bring together the 2 events, allowing economies of scale
  • Aid in the logistics for teams to travel
  • Allow pooling of referee resources from within the UK and Europe
  • Provide a platform for which the CTS teams can watch the country’s premier clubs and pick up tips
  • Give Regional and National coaches an opportunity to see new and emerging talent

The benefits of the nomination process are that it:

  • Guarantees that all members get an equal opportunity to host an event (this may have be on alternate years),
  • Allows a fair geographical spread of events across the country, which will:
  1. Help raise the sports profile in certain areas
  2. Spread the travel distances evenly


We are inviting  our affiliated club members, to nominate their club to host one of the events listed below:

  • April 12th                   Round 1
  • May 24th/25th           Round 2 & 3 (Double Header)
  • June 21st                   Round 4
  • July 12th                    FINALS – Ran by the ETA

The dates have been set, in the hope that hosts, players, coaches and referees can plan their 2014 calendar much earlier.

To be considered for hosting an event, you must:

All events will be fully supported by the ETA. Help and guidance will be on hand to assist in the planning and running of events.

Nomination to host

Hosts will be decided by a panel following the nomination process, taking into consideration host club/venue, commitment to a development event, success of previous events and geographic location.

It is an advantage to clubs looking to host, if they have previously ran other Touch events in England.

To nominate to host Touch Series event for the forthcoming 2014 season, please complete the attached form and email it back to by Monday 23rd September 2013. The ETA will aim to announce venues by mid October 2013.

Changes to the 2014 series

Following feedback from teams, players, clubs and also internal discussions and deliberation, there will be some changes/improvements implemented for the 2014 season. Further info on this will be sent out once finalised.
Any questions with the process please get in contact


2014 coaching team announced

Congratulations to those selected as National Squad Coaches for the 2014 season!

Mixed U18
Head Coach – Nicholas Metanga
Assistant – Tracy Andrew

Men’s Open
Head Coach – Ben Smith
Assistant – Clint Rowling

Women’s Open
Head Coach –  Tim Osbourne
Assistant –  TBC

Mixed Open
Head Coach – Noel Forde
Assistant –  TBC

Mixed 30s
Head Coach – Martin Wright
Assistant –  TBC

Men’s 30s
Head Coach – Nathan Bourke
Assistant –  TBC

Womens 27s
Head Coach – Teariki (Ted) Mahutariki
Assistant –  TBC

Mens 35s
Head Coach – Mike Roa
Assistant –  TBC

Mens 40s
Head Coach – Jeff Bimson
Assistant –  TBC

England are set to enter teams in all of the 9 divisions for the 2014 European Championships.

England’s Elite XV gave Touch a go!

Nottingham’s Chris Simon and Cambridge’s Ben Creese were lucky enough to experience the mighty Twickenham in August, when they rallied to the call for some last minute refereeing and coaching help at the Maximuscle Touch Comp at the RFU’s headquarters.

The lads took charge of  a 8-team comp on the hallowed turf and ended up refereeing seven games each and ‘dualling’ the final.

As the day progressed, the amateur clubs who won the chance to compete at Twickenham, were joined by some of the senior England squad who were to act as ‘Player-Coaches’ for the day. Some fared better than others as Creese and Simon applied a fairly strict policy on playing to the official touch rules.

As expected , stepping over the mark, the offside rule and touch and pass, proved somewhat challenging for several of England’s main men. At one point, Christian Wade was seen to chip ahead on the 5th touch!

That said, they joined in with the spirit of the game and they all avoided being disciplined, even Dylan Hartley!

The final was ‘ fought out’ between Newcastle University and a London Cornish representative team. Newcastle’s slightly better grasp of the touch rules came out on top as they edged the final 6-4.

For your chance to represent England at Touch, find all the info here: Open Trials