2018 Touch Nationals | Men's Open Preview
The Men’s Open division was full of surprise and unpredictability in 2017, with the pool rounds seeing last placed Midlands Tigers defeating top placed South West Saxons. 2018 is expected to be highly competitive once again, with defending champions, the North West Blades the early front runners to take the title back up the M6 with them.
The North-West Blades is full of club players from Wigan Touch Warriors and they boast a number of England Men’s Open and England Mixed Open representatives. However, hot on their heels will be the South East Taipans and the South East Sharks with both regions looking to re-establish their dominance of Touch Nationals.
In previous years the form book has played a significant role in predicting performance at Touch Nationals, and it has to look past an exciting and young Midlands Tigers team who are boasting a line up full of England Youth players and an average age of under 20. While many are saying it may be too soon for this young team to perform on such a large stage, they will not be taken lightly.
The South-West Saxons have performed very well in the past two years and once again bring a very similar team to the 2018 Nationals; consistency has been a successful theme for this team and they will certainly be in the mix come day three of the tournament.
The West Wildcats have also got a number of youth players turning out to represent them in 2018, and will be a team that is very hard to break down.
2018 also welcomes England’s newest regional side; the Midlands Panthers who will be competing in their first Men’s Open Touch Nationals.
The first game of the Men’s Open division will tap off at 10:20am on Saturday, August 25th.
How to watch the 2018 Touch Nationals:
In person at One Leisure Outdoor, St Ives, near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Online (days one and two) via the England Touch website and YouTube channel
Online (day three) via the BBC Sport website
CLICK HERE for the full match schedule