University Touch Series 2016/17

We are pleased to announce that the dates and venues are now all confirmed for the 2017 UTS season. They are as follows:

• Surrey 22nd October
• Exeter 12th November
• Loughborough 18th February
• Bristol 4th March
• Bath 1st April

University Championships
• London 15th April

With freshers week(s) in full flow across the country and University Touch clubs being high on their agenda, this looks set to be the biggest UTS series yet, with all of last years entrants rejoining with larger club numbers, and a number of new university sides entering for the first time. We are looking set to not only have the largest University Touch Series ever, but to have one of the highest quality yet.

Entry requirements:

ETA Affiliation
University affiliation lasts for 12 months from the purchase date and ALL UTS events in the 2016/7 season will require affiliation. This must be paid prior to entry and your Uni ETA_ID will be required on the entry form. Further information and benefits of affiliation can be found here –

Entry form:
Please complete the relevant entry form(s) to enter your university.

• Surrey – Complete, see match report here.

University Championships


Other info

Code of conduct
The University Touch Series has been created to provide a competitive environment for University Touch teams to compete against one another and develop the respective clubs, as well as to provide a stepping stone into further England Touch Series.

With this in mind we will be following the standard England Touch rules, but with a few caveats, all of which can be found here:

Each team will have time slots to fill with referees – this can be done with a mixture of player and full time referees but it is in your interest to ensure that you have secured the services of a full time referee to take this requirement on. We will provide payment for Full Time referees based on location and experience. There is the opportunity to purchase a new England Referees top in advance (£22 men’s and women’s sizes).

2017 Premiership Permits | Assistant Coaches EOI.

England Touch has commenced the process to appoint Assistant Coaches for our teams to compete in the new European Federation of Touch Permit Premiership (EFTPP) tournament in 2017.

While names are still TBC, there will be three England Permits and six England EFTPP teams (see a map of the Permit boundaries here):

  1. Southern Permit
    • Women’s Open
    • Men’s Open
  2. Western Permit
    • Women’s Open
    • Men’s Open
  3. Northern Permit
    • Women’s Open
    • Men’s Open

It is essential for England EFTPP Assistant Coaches to be carrying ETA Individual Membership (coach).

We are seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) from suitably qualified individuals to fill up to 12 assistant posts, two per team listed above, via the following link (and referring to the Task Description):

EOI – England EFTPP17 Teams – Assistant Coaches

Task Description – England EFTPP17 Teams – Assistant Coaches

Appointment Panel

  • Tim Osborne, England Touch High Performance Director (chair)
  • Ben Smith, England Men’s Open Head Coach (lead for Men’s Permit appointments)
  • Simon Clare, England Women’s Open Head Coach (lead for Women’s Permit appointments)
  • Justin Conway, England Mixed Open Head Coach
  • Respective Head Coach for each England Permit team

 Appointment Timeline

  • Until all posts appointed

England Announces Coaches for 2017 Permit Teams

England Touch is pleased to announce the following six coaching appointments for the inaugural 2017 European Federation of Touch Premiership Permit competition:

  • Northern Women’s – Jon Lovell
  • Northern Men’s – Tim Osborne
  • Southern Women’s – Doug Benzie
  • Southern Men’s – Jason Logan
  • Western Women’s – Gary Lambert
  • Western Men’s – Martin Wright

These coaches will work closely with the national Opens coaches: Simon Clare – Women’s Open; Justin Conway – Mixed Open; and, Ben Smith – Men’s Open. These appointments have been made following an open expression of interest process.

EOIs are now being sought to fill twelve assistant coaching roles (two per permit team) – refer to the Vacancies section of the ETA website.

England Men’s 45s | An update for 2017

After a successful first outing, winning gold at this year’s European Touch Championships, the England Men’s 45s coaching and leadership team have ambitious plans to participate in international friendlies with other European countries in summer 2017.

To qualify for this England squad you need to be 45 or older on 31st December 2016. The pathway for selection in next year’s England Men’s 45s squads is either via competing in the Men’s 45s Nationals event or by participating in one of the training sessions (more details below).

The first, and most desirable route, is to make sure that you are in one of the regional squads playing in an Men’s 45s Nationals on November 19th at Allianz Park. Please contact Jo Whitehead at for more information.

For those unable to attend this event there will be a number of open training sessions which will allow you a chance to trial for squad selection. The first training session is on October 9th and another is booked for 4th December – both will be in Nottingham.

For regular updates, join the England Touch – Men’s 45s facebook group (you will need to be logged into Facebook to see this). Please click the “Join” button at the top of the page to request to join the group. This will make finding the group easier in future should you want to view or contribute to the group. The site gives a general update of current activities and events.

There is also a twitter account that will provide regular updates. This can be found @EnglandTouchM45.

There is also a Doodle poll where you can register your availability for training sessions.

50th Consecutive NTS Appearance for Jon Lovell

A unique event occurred at the 2016 Belief NTS Finals in Manchester as not only did it not rain all day, it also marked a special occurrence that will be hard to top!

Over many seasons Jon Lovell has competed in the tournament series, representing Cambridge Touch, and in taking part in the season Finale he completed an aim of many seasons as it marked his 50th Consecutive appearance in the top flight of English Club Touch!

England Touch marked the occasion with a presentation and Tournament Director Kevin Hill praised the commitment Jon has shown, not just as a player but a leading figure in the club and national game, supporting the growth and delivery of the sport at all levels. The fact that Jon has been ever present at 50 tournaments in a row is impressive, but he also is key to ensuring this team mates are in the right venue on a Saturday as well as taking on player referee duties at each event.

Congratulations Jon and enjoy the well-earned winter break!

Fixtures for 2017 will be released in the Autumn.

Ryvita #TouchNationals 2016

Congratulations to all the winners in the 2016 Touch Nationals. The 3 day event was the biggest of its kind, ran by England Touch and was a huge success.

22 teams from 8 regions in 6 divisions battled it out in our biggest Nationals on record.


X15s Winners- Northern Stars

X18s Winners- Northern Stars

Masters Winners- Southern Samurais

Mixed Open Winners- Southern Suns

Women’s Opens Winners- Taipans

Men’s Opens Winners- Sharks


X15s- Will Murphy & Emma Oliver

X18s – Ellie Costello & Fin Creighton

Master’s- Chris Wall

Mixed Open- Daniel Smith & Snow Kuhne

Women’s Open- Marnie Wills

Men’s Open- Will Serocold

Thanks also go to everyone behind the scenes in getting the event up and running.  All the regionals coaches and managers. To Ben Powell, Gregg Cropper and Kevin Hill for the delivery of the event and also the following two teams of people.

Medical Team 


The Team behind the Team

The Team behind The Team! European Championships 2016, 9 England Squads, 144 players, countless games! Preparation for a tournament of this size takes hours of planning, preparation and training, not only for the players and coaches but also for the support staff. 10 Physiotherapists, 5 Massage Therapists and 4 Sport Scientists make a large contribution to this preparation in order to ensure that the players are able to compete at the top of their game.

After a day of preparations and the safe arrival of the medical and sports science team the day of opening ceremony arrived. The sun shone and ETA Medical and Sport Science Team walked proudly with England to signify the start of the European championships 2016!

The medical team take time for a quick selfie at the opening ceremony.

Looking after such a large squad is mentally and physically challenging. “Whilst on tour we have to be mentally sharp to deal with emergencies, manage injury as well as the logistics of moving equipment between hotel and competition sites etc” Cari Thorpe, Head of Medical Services. To assist with this, the team also underwent a fitness session by our resident S&C coach Sam Griffiths. “it is important to stay fit as well as have fun as a team, we run around after players and carry with us quite a bit of equipment.” Tom Sowter, ETA physiotherapist commented.

  The ETA women started some days with an early morning workout on the beach. The team bonded in a team fitness session lead by Sam Griffiths, S&C coach.

The first day of the tournament arrived and this meant an early start for the team. Supporting athletes means being at the ground prior to the teams arrival in order to ensure that the athletes routine is not compromised and that we are able to support them through the use of injury management techniques, prophylactic treatments and massage, leaving them plenty of time for warm ups and last minute preparations. Some of the team physiotherapists were up with the seagulls in order to meet their squads for breakfast to help with last minute medical preparations.

The Sport Science Team were ready every day at 8am to ensure all elite squads wellness and function were measured in order to support the players were mentally and physically prepared for the day ahead. One of the issues that the wellness data highlighted was the disturbed sleep that the players were reporting due to the noise of the seagulls! This was quickly resolved by the purchase of ear plugs!

The days were long for the team, with early starts and late finishes; however the camaraderie with the medical team made it much more bearable!

Start as we mean to go on!

The tournament got off to a flying start for England with an impressive 9 wins on day 1, success! Starting as we meant to go England found themselves in the final of every division. This meant a lot of hard work behind the scenes for the medical team as the consequence of playing so many games in quick succession over the 4 days means that some players require support to help manage any niggles or aches and pains that they are experiencing!

European Champions!

England finished the tournament as returning reigning European Champions 2016 with 6 gold medals and 3 silver.

It certainly takes teamwork to be successful! Common goals, communication and understanding of each other’s roles. This is certainly true for such a large qualified team. Whilst the entire team had not met as a whole this campaign, it is certainly evident this team works!

Junior Touch Championships 2016

The 19th August 2016 marked the beginning of an epic weekend for Junior Touch.
After months of preparation, 59 juniors from across England headed off to Arnhem, Holland to compete in the third annual Junior Touch Championships.

The venue was the National Sports Centre at Papendal, a high performance centre that is proud to host Dutch National Teams and Olympic Champions and the facility lived up to its expectations with pristine pitches in beautiful woodland surroundings.

As of previous years, the tournament consisted of teams in the 18s divisions with mixed, girls and boys squads. In addition to the squads, this year saw the inclusion of a Mixed 15s division which signifies the growth of touch across Europe. Within the Mixed 15 division, competing teams travelled from Wales, Middle East, Scotland, France, Ireland, and Germany, and a European Select team was made up of players from all of the competing 15s nations.

The standard of play from the England Mixed 15s was incredible as they performed well beyond their years, the youngest player on the team still to turn 13!
Credit to Coach Ben Powell who has developed the squad over such a short period of time. Their skills and confidence grew as they progressed through their games and they looked well drilled and composed as they executed their patterns and drove with intensity, whilst defending out attacks from frustrated oppositions.
They sailed through day 1 and 2 with some impressive score lines to put them a comfortable second in the table going in to finals day, with only the Welsh left to play in their pool. They would meet Wales again in their final.
This proved to be a hard fought game, but the brilliance of the Welsh was too strong and the favourites rolled away in the second half, widening the gap with a final score 3-9.
Runners up in a competition consisting of 8 European Teams is a fantastic achievement for the Mixed 15s and we are excited about what the future holds for our Junior section with this positive rate of progress in only a small fraction of time and a result such as this in our first representation to this division.

The 18s can also be hugely proud of their achievements.

The Girls team were in a tough pool with Wales and Ireland.
“Our England under 18s girls showed exactly how a squad of skilful and talented touch players are able to develop as a team over the duration of a tournament.” Quoted coach Marnie Wills.
On the last day of tournament our girls showed their true touch abilities with another amazing game against Ireland winning 7-0 and a fight to the end performance against Wales 1-5.
After 6 games England had finished as Runners up, to match to success of their younger 15s squad and boasted their well-earned Silver medals.

In the 18s mixed pool, Scotland, Ireland, France, Middle East, Guernsey and the Netherlands were competing to steal last years crown from the Welsh, who again arrived at the Championships as strong favourites. Wales played Scotland in the finals while England Faced a strong French opposition to compete for the final medal spot. A close and gripping battle between in the 18 Mixed, coached by Leah Cutherbertson, saw England beat France to secure bronze with a very close score line 5-4. Their determination and perseverance shone through as their hunger for a medal pushed them harder through their final game.

The Boys 18s, coached by Doug Benzie, had the most successful result of the campaign, finishing as winners of their division which consisted of Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Having been beaten by the green army in their previous game, and having lost a key player in the penultimate game due to injury, they knew they would have to dig deep. They had an outstanding performance in the final against Ireland, in very wet and difficult conditions as they went out on the field even more determined to come out on top.
The England boys played a nail biting final, winning 4-3 and taking the title and their well earned gold medals.

We can boast to have demonstrated a high level of sportsmanship throughout and our juniors have conducted themselves on and off the field with the greatest of maturity. The honour to have represented your country at a young age is not something that everyone can stake a claim in. Each player did this with the greatest of dignity and pride.

Not only has this experience been vital in pushing the skill level of our junior players, but the tournament has encompassed many things. It has created a wider touch family as parents and guardians have made the trip over to support their children whilst developing a fondness for other children and making bonds with new families. The players have made lifelong friends who share the same love and passion of a sport.

Furthermore, this is so important as it provides national governing bodies with a pathway for the retention and further development of young people in the sport of Touch and coaching opportunities for those involved with youth development.

Bring on the new, the children are the future of our game. What an exciting future that lies ahead.

Full Results

Junior Touch Championships Results

Captains – Bradley Murphy / Emma Oliver




Vice captain – Keir Clark




MVP- Evan Michaels




Top Scorer – Richard Barningham




Captain – Salesi Tu’iono




Vice Captain -Will Lawrence




MVP – Elizabeth Dorey




Top Scorer – Jack McHugh




Captain- Kate Davis-Bavin
Vice Captain – Hannah Murphy




MVP- Catherine Walker




Top Scorer- Lottie Phillips




Players Player – Lucy Skuse




Captain – Toby Phillips




Vice Captain – Dan Mayall / Louis McManus




MVP – Toby Phillips
Top Scorer – Toby Phillips


The JTC was a huge success. There are many people we would like to thank.
Firstly Touch Netherlands who hosted the tournament in a very warm and welcoming fashion.
A massive thank you to all our coaches and assistant coaches who put in months of preparation leading up to the event. The execution of skills, sportsmanship and excellence from our young players was second to none and the children were guided by positive leadership throughout the campaign.

Thanks to all the managers who chased around with admin detail making sure information was cascaded to parents and families and kept the process rolling whilst nurturing the players over the tournament weekend.

Thank you to Tim Osborne and Dom Tripp from the High Performance team who gave match feedback to the team coaches and imputed advice and guidance on match strategy.

A huge thanks to the team of physios who attended to our players needs over the duration of the tournament. They went above and beyond in the most professional manner, in some very testing circumstances.

We are truly grateful to all the Parents and Guardians who committed to supporting their child’s progress by transporting them to the various training venues, giving up time to travel to Holland to be there for their children’s precious moments. Without their continued support this venture would not have been possible.


Photo credit:

Rugbyfotos – Theo Beentjes