First group of England referees for European Championships announced

The first group of England referees has been announced for July’s European Touch Championships.

Fourteen referees have been named, and because the group forms part of England Touch’s quota their selection has been guaranteed.

The group is:

Rob Budd
Melissa Day
Stephen Dubreuil
Mike Green
Jonathan Grossman
Jack Hawken
Shane Hills
Gareth Hinds
Bruce Lockie
Charlie Meredith
Genevieve Mitchell
Uma Ramaswami
Kathy Van de Rijt
Nicolas Van de Rijt

Three more referees from England will also be involved due to their involvement with the European Federation of Touch. They are:

Ian Syder
Alice Watchorn
Bronwyn Wake

Referees who expressed their interest in officiating at the Euros but have not been named in this first round should not be discouraged. It is highly likely that more referees will be needed, so there will be further selections in due course.

Information will be shared as soon as it is available, and we hope that many more England Touch referees will be joining the fun in Nottingham!

If you are just interested in volunteering and being a part of the biggest ever international Touch tournament to be staged in England then just head to

Spring time for women’s Touch

Spring Chick, the biggest women’s only Touch tournament in the northern hemisphere, is back this coming March!

In 2017 30 teams and over 400 players took part in Spring Chick, and organisers are hoping to go even better this time around!

Spring Chick heads to Maidenhead RFC on Saturday, March 24th, and is particularly suited to women who are early in their Touch experiences. There are no age limits and if you cannot get a full squad together then enter as a small group and you will get put into teams with other similar groups.

The tournament runs between 9am and 6pm and post-tournament food is included in the £175-per-team entry fee.

For more details email Sammie Phillips via

Exeter heat up the action in chilly Midlands

Exeter continued their good University Touch Series form by taking home the cup title from the fourth round of this season’s competition.

Exeter headed to the Midlands leading the UTS standings, and they consolidated their overall lead with a dominant day that culminated in a win over the hosts, Loughborough 1, in the final.

However it was a close-run thing as the clinching score came in a drop-off, with both teams down to four players when the final whistle came.

“I’m very happy and proud of my team,” said Exeter captain Sophie Arbuthnott. “Winning means a lot to us. It’s the first year that we’ve started to win in the UTS series, and there was more pressure because quite a few of our senior players weren’t here today.

“There were a lot of people who had to step up and lead it, especially in the drop-off. It was tense, but it’s always exciting.”

Exeter will still have to maintain their winning record when the UTS visits Maidenhead in Round 5 (February 24th) and Bath in Round 6 (March 17th) if they want to take home the overall crown.

Touch has grown dramatically at Exeter University, and Arbuthnott added that the UTS has played a big part in this.

“I’m a second year, and when the club was founded the year before I came there were around 20 players,” she said. “Now there are over 400 people and it’s massive. A lot of rugby players have started to join, and it’s the only sport you can play mixed and that’s helped as well.

“The UTS tournaments mean a lot to us and they’re a lot of fun. We have weeks of preparation and we really enjoy it.”

The other winners at Loughborough were Loughborough 2, who lifted the Plate, and Southampton, who won the Bowl.

Thanks as always to all the teams for shrugging off the weather to play some great Touch, especially tournament newcomers Northumbria and Edinburgh, to Loughborough for hosting the day, and to the full-time referees, who ensured that all of the games were dual-refereed throughout the day.

Check out pictures from the day on our Facebook page!

If any referees would like to put their name down for Maidenhead’s tournament then CLICK HERE to complete the expression of interest form.

1 Exeter (Cup winners)
2 Loughborough 1
3 Bath
4 Bristol
5 Loughborough 2 (Plate winners)
6 Edinburgh
7 Birmingham
8 University of East Anglia
9 Southampton (Bowl winners)
10 Surrey
11 Northumbria
12 Royal Veterinary College

It’s the first action of 2018!

England Touch will have its first action of 2018 this weekend as the University Touch Series hits Loughborough University.

Ten teams are heading to the Midlands as the UTS resumes after its Christmas break.

Exeter will be looking to consolidate their place at the top of the standings, but with Bath, Bristol and hosts Loughborough all within 20 league points and breathing down the south-westerners’ necks the Touch action will no doubt be fast and furious!

Four teams – Northumbria, Birmingham, Edinburgh and the University of East Anglia – will be making their 2017/18 UTS bows as the competition continues to grow in new areas.

Pool match games will be 20 minutes, with the knockout matches being two halves of 13 minutes.

The first games are at 10am on Saturday, with the finals at 4:30pm. We’ll be having regular updates throughout the day on the England Touch Facebook and Instagram pages!








Royal Veterinary College




University of East Anglia






Exeter 1






Bristol 1



Loughborough 1



Exeter 2



Exeter 3












Exeter 4



Loughborough 2



Bristol 2



Bath 2



Royal Veterinary College



Oxford Brookes





17 Bristol 3



Off-field preparation for on-pitch success

The Medical, Sport Science and Performance team has been busy working behind the scenes to ensure players are fit, injury free and ready for the 2018 European Touch Championships.

Following a successful recruitment drive in 2016 and 2017 England Touch now has a wealth of applied experience and knowledge. This team now consists of 19 Physiotherapists/Sport Therapists, four Strength and Conditioning Coaches and two Lead Sport and Exercise Psychologists, who are all supported by a Lead Sport Scientist, a Lead Physiotherapist and Head of Department. Further support is provided by academics at both the University of Chester and Manchester Metropolitan University.

Although the whole team gives their time on a voluntary basis, Head of Medical, Sport Science and Performance Cari Thorpe’s underlying ambition has been to create as professional an environment as possible, one that is fit for a successful international playing programme while also underpinning the overall growth of Touch in England.

The team directly responsible for the health, well-being and performance of those athletes successfully chosen to represent England in the 2018 Euros met recently to share knowledge, create training programmes and begin the first phase of athlete testing. Our team shared their insight on the most up-to-date research behind recovery strategies, the female athlete triad as well as a review of the England Touch Player Profile.

Thorpe says that she is excited by how far the department has progressed.

“When I joined England Touch six years ago I envisaged a large multidisciplinary team that can support players and coaches on an individual basis,” she said. “We now have the knowledge and expertise to use our existing data to support players during future tournaments.

“There are many professional sports teams and athletes that do not have the level of support that is available to our players.”

The team is using both its hands-on experience and published academic literature to develop a number of screening tests and sport-specific strength and conditioning programmes that are already being used to ensure players are physically and mentally prepared to cope with the demands of high intensity tournament play.

These programmes will continue throughout the season and Nick Dobbin, Lead Sport Scientist, says that the understanding of the specific needs of international Touch players is increasing all the time.

“We now have a thorough appreciation of the demands players are exposed to during an international tournament and the injury profile associated with this high intensity sport,” he commented. “This information, combined with the coaches’ valuable insight and physios’ expertise allows us to develop programmes that would rival many full-time sports teams.”

England Touch broadens strategic board expertise

England Touch has announced the appointment of two Non-Executive Directors that will help the Association achieve its ambitions across a range of areas.

David Christophi is Director of Operations at Strength and Conditioning Education, the UK’s best provider of education, resources and coaching to fitness, conditioning and athletic development specialists. He has over 15 years’ experience working in the sector and has had senior roles at multinational companies.

Before joining the private sector Christophi had a 14-year career in the Royal Air Force, which he combined with playing representative sport across a number of codes, including rugby and semi-professional football.

He believes that England Touch is on the verge of big things across its operations and is looking forward to helping the Association reach its goals.

“England Touch has grown significantly over recent years, but I believe that there is much more to come in the future,” he commented. “The Association is a great place both in sporting and business terms and I am excited about becoming involved to help England Touch on its journey onwards and upwards.”

Paula Robertson is Head of Operations at Dallaglio RugbyWorks, which uses the values of rugby to get 14-to-17-year-olds outside of mainstream education either back into the classroom or long-term employment.

Robertson has been with the charity – which was founded by Rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio – for over six years, with her roles including Head of Programmes and Rugby Programme Manager. Her previous experience includes chairing Race for Life for Cancer Research UK, and supporting an extensive network of regional branches and industry-specific groups for the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.

“I’ve seen first-hand the positive all-round benefits that sport can bring to a community, and believe that Touch is in a unique position to make a great impact across the country,” she said. “It is a sport where men and women, young and old, compete as equals and where there is a clear pathway from the grassroots to representing your country. All you need is a ball and a space to play, which makes it a great recreational sport, and I believe that England Touch has a massive amount of potential to grow and grow in the coming years.”

England Touch Chief Executive Officer Gregg Cropper welcomed Christophi and Robertson onto the board.

“David and Paula have a great range of skills and experience that will add to what we already have among our Non-Executive Directors,” he said.

“David’s can-do attitude came across at our first meeting. As a senior business manager with years of relevant experience he offers significant commercial and strategic understanding of operational efficiencies, business development and customer service.

“Paula has helped to make Dallaglio RugbyWorks one of the country’s most innovative and impactful charities. This experience will really help support our development work as we expand our schools programmes and make Touch one of the country’s leading recreational sports.

“I’m looking forward to working with David, Paula, and the rest of our Non-Executive Directors as we further our progression and deliver our plans for the future.”

The appointments of Christophi and Robertson complete the England Touch group of Non-Executive Directors.

As well as Christophi and Robertson, the team comprises:

Natalie Davis, an advisor to Government ministers who has experience creating and developing policy ideas at the national level. Davis was one of the authors of the Government’s new Sport Strategy and has worked with sports administrators to increase participation and raise the profile of women’s sport.

Mark James, who is one of the country’s leading sports law researchers. James is Professor of Sports Law and Director of Research at Manchester Law School, and works with a variety of sports organisations and governing bodies on a wide range of issues, including ambush marketing, ticketing, and player violence and injuries.

Geraint Thomason, who has combined a successful business career as a senior executive in the technology industry with active participation in sports, including playing rugby union for several decades at Esher RFC.

David Jenkins, a senior executive with significant commercial and general management experience from nearly 20 years in and around sport, having held senior roles in cricket and football, amongst other sports and leisure organisations.

Sammie Phillips appointed as Head of Elite Performance

England Touch has announced that Sammie Phillips has been appointed as the Association’s Head of Elite Performance.

This new role within the England Touch High Performance team will see Phillips work closely with High Performance Director Anthony Atherton in leading the tactical and performance delivery of the high performance programme.

Another key part of Philips’ role will be to ensure that the frameworks are in place to maximise the knowledge, experience and skills of coaches and players alike as England Touch seeks to achieve its ambitions on the international stage.

She will directly manage the high performance coaching teams and oversee Nationals coaches.

Phillips has been involved with England Touch for over a decade, representing both the Women’s Open and Women’s 27s teams at multiple international tournaments, including three World Cups – where she coached England W27s to a third-placed finish – and three European Championships.

She is also a player, coach and development officer for the England West Region, and is a director of Thames Valley Vikings, a club she co-founded in 2005 and has become a hub for players, coaches and grassroots development in the Reading area.

Atherton is delighted that Phillips has accepted the position.

“Sammie has a vast amount of experience and it is fantastic that she has agreed to be our new Head of Elite Performance,” he said. “This role is key as we look to take our next steps towards achieving international success, starting with this summer’s European Championships in Nottingham.

“There is a massive amount of dedication and expertise across our high performance team, and one of Sammie’s tasks will be to make sure that best practice is shared across the programme.

“It’s an exciting time for England Touch and we’re looking forward to Sammie making a big contribution over the next couple of years.”

Phillips is relishing the opportunity.

“I am looking forward to the challenge of being the Head of Elite Performance at England Touch and working with our new High Performance Director, Anthony Atherton,” she commented. “I believe we are in a great position to not only see the growth of the game explode at grassroots level, especially in schools and colleges/universities but to also take off at elite level and really excel so that we can start to compete for the top prizes on the world stage.

“This is something I have always wanted to achieve as a player and as a coach and now I have an opportunity to help and support others to achieve their ambitions too, which is something I am very excited about.”

Referee courses this winter and spring

England Touch is running a number of Level 1 and 2 referee courses this winter and spring.




Feb 10th

L2 Hammersmith

Ian Syder

Feb 11th

L1 Pershore

David Field

Feb 17th

L2 Bath

Kevin Hobbs

Feb 17th

L2 Manchester

Jordi Bitlloch

Mar 3rd

L2 Oxford

Ian Syder

Mar 24th

L2 New Eltham

Nicolas Van De Rijt

CLICK HERE to register for any of the Level 2 courses.

CLICK HERE to register for the Level 1 course.

Increasing the number of qualified referees is essential as England Touch continues to grow, and you can help your own personal progression and your club either by choosing to officiate at tournaments as an individual or being your club’s designated referee at an England Touch National Touch Series event.

There are five levels of referee grading in Europe, from Level 1 (entry level) to 5 (World Cup standard).

No previous experience is required to attend a Level 1 course, which gives you the basic knowledge and skills to referee Touch, but to progress through the Levels you must hold the previous badge.

Courses are added to the calendar all the time, but to find out when the next Level 1 course is being held near you register your interest by CLICKING HERE.

Clubs that would like to host a course for their players can email Mike Green, referee coaching course co-ordinator, via

Coaching courses in winter and spring 2018

England Touch has a number of coaching courses in early 2018.




17-18 Feb

Intermediate Nottingham Tim Osborne


22nd Feb

Community Medway Tom Humphreys


10-11 Mar Intermediate London (TBD) Tim Osborne


The Community course, run by Schools Liaison Officer Tom Humphreys, is ideal for people who are new to the sport and just starting up their own club. It is also perfect for teachers who are looking to set up Touch sessions in their schools. The course covers the coaching basics, such as the role of the community coach, communication, group management, basic rules and game skills, practical coaching and how to plan, prepare and review sessions.

The Intermediate Course is aimed at current and potential club, regional and school coaches and is accredited by the Federation of International Touch as a Level 1 course. Topics include a wide range of coaching roles, skills, sports safety, Touch-specific fitness, game sense and planning, and has a full assessment process. The courses in February and March are being run by England Men’s Open head coach Tim Osborne.

To register for any of these courses CLICK HERE.

England Touch will be running further courses throughout 2018 at all levels. Expressions of interest can be registered by CLICKING HERE. Head to for full information about the coaching pathway.

Any specific queries can be emailed to Robin Budd via

England Touch adds more experience to Board of Directors

England Touch is strengthening its group of Non-Executive Directors even further with the appointments of Geraint Thomason and David Jenkins onto the Association’s Board.

Thomason brings a wealth of business experience with him garnered from several decades working in the IT sector, including 18 years as a senior executive within IBM, where he led the team responsible for some of the company’s largest global clients.

Since leaving IBM he has been actively involved in developing a number of established and start-up companies and is now a Consultant within the technology sector.

Thomason is a long-standing member of Esher Rugby Club in Surrey and plays for the successful Expendables (veterans) team.

He is looking forward to helping England Touch achieve its ambitions.

“Like a lot of rugby players I’ve long enjoyed playing Touch to develop fitness and teamwork,” he said, “but I’ve also come to appreciate that it is its own sport that deserves to be taken seriously.

“Touch in England has come a long way in a relatively short time and this reflects the hard work done by Gregg Cropper and the management team, my fellow directors Natalie Davis and Mark James, and up until recently Chris Martin, and the dedication of all of the volunteers and players within England Touch and its clubs.

“I’m looking forward to being a part of England Touch and contributing to the strategic plan as the sport continues to grow rapidly and benefit more and more people across the country.”

David Jenkins has considerable experience of leadership within the sports sector, including as General Manager of the International Cricket Council Academy at Dubai Sports City; as Chief Executive of Football Aid (professional football’s preferred charity) and Field of Dreams, its not-for-profit parent company; and more recently as a consultant and advisor currently developing a smart city proposition that increases the number of people participating in sport and physical activity.

He is hoping to use his experience to help England Touch take the next step as an organisation.

“I’ve been impressed by England Touch’s development in the past couple of years,” he commented. “The number of players is increasing dramatically, which is not a surprise given the sport’s accessibility and openness, and England Touch as an organisation is really ambitious to entrench Touch as a participation sport.

“It is an exciting time and I am looking forward to using my experience to help England Touch move forwards.”

“The board and I agreed Geraint and David would be real assets to the organisation and we are delighted to have them on board,” commented Chief Operating Officer Gregg Cropper.

“Geraint’s skills around governance and stakeholder and commercial management, along with his overall approach and motivation will fit really well with the wider team.

“David has very relevant background and experience, with senior roles across sporting, leisure, charity, event and educational sectors. With his strong commercial background in sports industry and a whole host of other skills we are sure he will bring a lot to the role.”