Skills Street

On one cold March evening in Crystal Palace, CSSC’s regular coaches were joined by a Rugby World Cup winner, former England Women’s XVs head coach Gary Street. Gary had accepted an invitation to run a specialist passing session and it proved immensely worthwhile as bumper numbers attended.

After a warm-up, Gary began the session with some drills involving simple application of the hands and fingers to the ball, including some static exercises with the hands driving through the ball that we could all easily incorporate into our warm-ups. He then highlighted the importance of making swift eye contact with a receiver before you pass them the ball, the quick head turn a key part, and showed us how to prepare our ‘rifles’ and how to follow through with the forearm as the pass is made.  A few dropped balls later and the accuracy began to notably improve. Gary moved onto the ruck/dump area and applied his skills as a former scrum-half to show us how best to sweep into the dummy-half position. Approaching the ball and getting the feet into the correct position clearly very helpful in allowing the body to be open towards the direction of the pass, particularly when passing long.

We also covered some 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 drills which allowed Gary to illustrate how easily it can be for support players to be too flat and to cut down the area into which the passer can play the ball accurately. By using more depth, the area in which to pass to increases and we can use it to really bring our pacier players onto the ball.

It was a great session, conducted with Gary’s usual irreverant and dry style. Though not everyone picked up on it with one club member actually seeking confirmation as to whether Gary did indeed used to be a lead ballet dancer…

The key ‘take-away’ from the evening was how easy it is to incorporate one or two of these exercises at a time into regular warm-ups and training sessions to really enhance passing accuracy and completion. So whilst Touch is used as a warm-up tool and exercise in finding space for the 15-a-side game, there are key crossovers that fifteens can pass on to Touch in terms of technical areas like passing and running lines, etc.

It was great to have a bit of trophy winning Rugby World Cup stardust sprinkled on the session and the whole club thanks Gary for a useful evening – we look forward to another!

England Senior Mixed Squad head off on their Annual Boot Camp Fun!

As is tradition with the SMX, Coach Wright’s annual bootcamp weekend came round again.

After a close location vote, Gloucester just pipped Lands End 20:1.
9.30 meet at the (Non Church) Church, steeped in ‘interesting’ historical facts, training commenced with Byron’s warm up.

Being… ahem… Seniors, and therefore wanting desperately to avoid the ‘square of pain’ fitness grid, the squad worked hard to shake the travel out of their limbs and keep the intensity and the focus high as they moved into technique drills and driving practice for the first part of the morning.
After a spot of lunch where the team admired the glorious Gloucestershire scenery and the prospect of Martin’s infamous team building activities were looming the team moved on to some tap off and transition plays.

Good handling in the final session meant only one visit to the square of pain and was dealt with by all thanks to their GSOH.

The real activities and challenges were soon to begin. Once separated into two teams, the first task was to find Martin’s house; it was a mere speck on the hill but make our way we did.

After checking into Wright Hotel and going through a detailed check list of the items we were asked to bring, we were then split into two teams for the evening activities/competition. First task was to select a suitable team name. Chops v ‘Cambridge University Netball Team’ for the Task 2 pull ups

Grace ‘The Face’ set the standard early and the running was generally close between the two teams, although Mike Roa could have potentially managed a few more had he not wasted energy pacing up and down muttering ‘two tickets to the gun show’ before his turn. With both teams now inked up in full cammo gear it was time to go and investigate the woods.

As Coach Wright disappeared into the woods with a carton of flour to mark the route, the team paired up for a staggered start run (aka scramble/mountaineer – note to self: bring ice axe to next bootcamp), then it was off to the finish line for Rich, Luke and Sacha to see who popped up out of the foliage first.

So, at the end of the run / climb / mountaineering expedition (depending on who had just crossed the self-raising finishing line), the competitors began to congratulate each other on their fine selection of footwear and wonder who we were about to see next.
One by one the runners emerged between the trees every few minutes, until the last man was accounted for. But wait…was that everybody? Not at all. The last men (Ollie/Byron) to start were definitely not the last to finish…others continued to stumble over the line after them… except a long gap indicated trouble and 2 ladies had failed to show. As losing people in woods at night isn’t an accepted method of squad selection, the last men stepped up for search and rescue op and headed back into the trees.

A wrong turn 20 metres into the run spelt trouble for Laura and Mel and they were quickly overtaken by everyone. They quickly tapped into survival techniques and, using some flour they found on the ground, we were able to make a quick carbo loading shake for energy. It took a while to realise they’d also just consumed the directions to the finish line. Fortunately Sillsy and Gadget were there for the rescue, pushing the girls’ glutes to the finish line.

The weary squad re-untied again and armed with axes, old tyres, goggles (no not the ice bath and hot tub type Cropper), and special gloves in hand, they rambled together down the winding woodland paths until eventually arriving at a clearing where an old camp fire marked the location of the next challenge.
First up was to ensure we had all the fundamentals for survival. Water, shelter, fire and food.
The teams quickly got to work building their camouflaged huts and campfires.

Swiftly followed by the wood chopping challenge, where Roa came into his own, as he smashed through the felled tree like a morning WOD.

After Roa stopped putting the rest of us to shame and put away his huge chopper (finally!) it was time to take stock of the scores. CHOPS were in the lead, but who knew by how much… or what else was in store…?!

Finally after rubbing wood together Byron and Shaun managed to start a fire using the matches provided. After brewing up and kicking back in our new wood cabins for 5 minutes we set out to play stuck in the mud in the setting of The Blair Witch Project. Mel couldn’t help herself getting caught up in the moment squealing with fear every step she took.

As darkness set in and the temperatures dropped, the teams had their final challenge to make it back to the trig point as fast as they could, again to secure points for their teams by finishing in respectable positions. Girls starting first, Gladiator Kang led the girls home and the stride of Gadget’s legs meant he soon closed the gap on the girls and was pushing hard to the finish line.

A tiny glow of a light led the teams down the steep hill and back to the comfort of Hotel Wright as they looked forward to their evening barbecue and shenanigans, with a cosy huddle to watch the International Rugby before bedding down for the night. The scores were revealed with a win for the CHOPS that the Cambridge University Netball Team just hadn’t been able to close all day!

The house fell silent and the team drifted in and out of their sleep in anticipation of Coach Wright’s military style wake up calls at daft-o-clock whilst holding tightly on to their cuddly toys that had been rescued from other kit list items crammed tightly in to rucksacks.

But as the hours rolled by and the sun came up, it became evident that Martin had decided that a sleep deprived squad would be useless to him and so a gentle and mild early morning stroll back up the hill to the trig point to admire the view that was obscured by last night’s darkness, was more appealing and would heighten an appetite for a cooked breakfast before heading off to train again.

In true boot-camp fashion, the weekend proved to be a great experience, giving players the opportunity to embrace their challenges and form bonded relationships to last a life time.

The squad is now ready to take their next steps along the #RoadToJersey and face the challenge the tournament will hold as they take on their Euros Campaign.

The Green Machine | Touch at Exeter University

Interested in playing Touch at University, maybe even setting up your own club? Then listen up!

Ed Hathaway and Jonty Sutherland are joined by Harry Grocott and Mark Aldous discussing all things Touch both at Exeter University (EUTRC) and in the wider world.


Saracens Touch Club – Seeking Women

New female Touch club has been set up at Saracens. Details in the above poster.

Loughborough UTS

Loughborough University won their second successive Universities’ Touch Series tournament this weekend, beating a strong University of Bristol team 5-4 in a drop off in the final. The hosts were forced to work hard for their tournament victory and were close to losing before they scored an equalising touchdown in almost the last play of the final to take the game to a drop off, which finished with 3 players from each team on the pitch.

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Loughborough had come second in Group 1 and progressed to the final after beating Group 2 winners, and runners up at the first UTS tournament, University of Exeter 2-0 in the semi-final. Meanwhile Bristol, who had topped Group 1, edged local rivals University of Bath 4-3 in the other semi-final to set up a thrilling final, which saw a re-run of an earlier pool game, where Bristol had taken the win 5-1.

In the plate final Exeter 2 beat Loughborough 2 4-2 in a high scoring and very entertaining game. UTS debutants Oxford University were victorious in the spoon final, overcoming Bristol 2 3-2.

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Overall the tournament was a big success, there was some of the highest university-level touch ever seen in England on display and the day was very well organised by Loughborough University.

PresentationA big thank you is due to the Loughborough committee for organising the day, and to the two full-time referees who officiated throughout the day.

Attention now turns to the final tournament of the shortened UTS series, which is being hosted by the University of Bath on the 19th of March. Expressions of Interest are now open through the link below:

Check out the promotional video below:


#EnglandTouch #UTS

University Development Group

England Touch are seeking suitable volunteers to create a working group in order to help to support the development of Touch within Universities.
The group will be responsible for, but not limited to:

  • Expanding the sport into more universities
  • Improving the standard of Touch played within universities
  • Ensuring there are suitable competitive opportunities for university teams.
  • Create a progressive ‘Rule book’ for the series.
  • Produce a club/university ‘how to’ pack.
  • Exploring how Touch can become a BUCS recognised sport

The group will meet face-to-face at least twice per year, along with regular phone/Skype calls to ensure that agreed timelines are met and tasks are completed.

Members will be expected to have a commitment and enthusiasm for Touch as well as an understanding of sport within Higher Education.

The group will consist of 6 members in total, including the 2 existing University liaison officers along with the Development Director.

If you are interested in joining the development geoup, please contact Ken Pollard, Development Director,

Application form: Election-of-Office

England Touch represent and make history at 2016 NTLs

History was been made today, on the opening day of the 2016 NTL.

Dom Tripp, current England Men’s Open Vice Captain and Bath university student, became the first Englishman to play and in the Elite8 competition in what was a huge moment for the 22 year old.

Tripp debuted for the NSW Scorpions, bagging a Touch down himself, helping his team to a 7-4 win over the NSW rebels.

Tripp, in Australia on a work placement, says he didn’t expect to be selected.

“It’s quite special for me, this experience is a challenge I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and something I hope to enjoy for the whole week. I got drafted late, in the last round of the draft by the Scorpions and I’m very thankful for that. I’ve been training hard and I’m just so happy to be a part of it. I hoped a team would take me but I had no expectation and I really wasn’t expecting to be picked.”

Touch in England is still some way behind Australia in participation numbers, standard and commercialisation.

Not unexpected considering that Touch Football started in Australia in around 30 years earlier. Therefore making Tripp’s achievement even more remarkable given the higher standard he has had to adjust to since arriving to Australia in 2015.

“England and Europe in general is a fair bit behind Australia but it’s still growing at a very fast rate,” he says. A few years back there really wasn’t much competition to represent at the elite level but now it’s definitely become a lot harder to get into the elite squads – the training and everything has become a lot more professional”


Good luck to all the EnglandTouch reps participating in the NTL2016

Dom Tripp – Elite8 NSW Scorpions 
Ben and Sadi Meakin – ACT
Zoe Parish – Hornets
Tim Osborne – Coaching the women’s Cowboys

Teachers, Sports Staff and Coaches- FREE CPD Day

Calling all teachers, students, sports coaches and sports staff.

If you are interested in delivering Touch in schools then please read on…

Touch is a wonderful inclusive sport for all ages and can be delivered safely in mixed gender or single genders groups. It is a great alternative or addition to contact forms of the game of rugby for children. It takes in the core Rugby skills without the risk of major injury associated with full contact.

England Touch are running a FREE workshop on Tuesday 5th April, London, which will help to support teachers/coaches with the delivery of touch and is aimed specifically for those teaching in schools/colleges.

We are privileged to introduce Peter Bell who will be course presenter on the day.

Peter Bell Coaching workshop

Peter is not only a current National Coach in Australia, but has been responsible for the development of Touch Football within Australian schools. He was a founding member of both the Queensland Secondary Schools and Australian Secondary Schools Touch Associations.

Peter is a Physical Education teacher and currently runs a Touch Football Academy in a Queensland school. His experience and expertise has been invaluable in the development of the Coaching Framework which now exists.

As the TFA Coach Education Consultant and author of much of the Coaching materials, his depth of knowledge of current coaching practices and game trends is second to none. Together with the Australian Men’s Open Coach Tony Trad, Peter has pioneered many of Australia’s Touch Football Coaching innovations.



Touch History

Playing Record:

  • Men’s Open for Queensland


International Record:

  • 109 caps – 104 wins, 4 losses and 1 draw
  • 4 World Cups
  • 9 Trans Tasman Series wins

National Record:

  • Qld Coach at Women’s Open, Women’s 20s, Women’s 18s, Women’s 15s, Men’s 20s, Men’s 18s, Men’s 30s, Men’s 40s
  • 15 National titles (including State of Origin, National League, National Youth)

If you would like to reserve a place on the course then please register your interest by contacting

There are limited places so early registration is necessary to secure your place.

Junior Squads Announced

The latest Junior training squad lists can now be viewed here. See who has made the cut for the 18s and 15s divisions in preparation for the upcoming Junior Touch Championships.



ETCJTS2016 (X15)ETCJTS2016 (B18) ETCJTS2016 (G18) ETCJTS2016 (X18)

Elite Squads Released

England Touch are pleased to announce their latest training squads in preparation for their upcoming European Championships.


See the full squad lists here:


ETCJTS2016 (WO) ETCJTS2016 (XO) ETCJTS2016 (M30) ETCJTS2016 (W27) ETCJTS2016 (SMX) ETCJTS2016 (M35) ETCJTS2016 (M40) ETCJTS2016 (M45)