Touch Rugby in Cornwall
Over the last year Touch has grown massively in Cornwall, since the autumn of 2019 the number of clubs in the county have more than doubled and, according to Lexie Williams, they are looking to expand even further moving into the 2021 season.
Truro Trojans, Bodmin Ladies Touch Rugby and Falmouth Touch Rugby have all benefitted from having close ties with local rugby union clubs, with a large number of Colts players honing their ball skills with the Trojans, such as ball-in-hand, work off the ball and their ability to read the game and their overall fitness. All these skills are highly transferable to rugby union and have had the Colts to become even stronger in the performance.
With the University of Exeter medics based in Truro and the University of Falmouth also having a team, all in all there are around 100 Touch players currently playing across Cornwall.
Rugby is an integral part of life in Cornwall and there are a large number of players who no longer play due to injury and/or age. Touch is a great way to keep these players involved in the rugby community, and as well as being seen as an intergenerational sport in Cornwall it is an excellent way to bridge socioeconomic barriers.
Women are looking more and more to get involved in rugby and touch is seen as both an excellent rugby game to play but also a good stepping-stone for women who also want to play union or Sevens rugby.
We have ensured that training sessions are friendly and that people of any age or gender feel welcome to attend. We have specifically tried to encourage former rugby union players who would like to continue playing a form of rugby but are unable to play full contact.
Where full contact rugby was not allowed over the last year, we contacted local rugby clubs who were looking to play touch and ‘ready for rugby’ and welcomed them to training sessions. We were planning on having a tournament with some of these teams, but this was cancelled with the most recent lockdown!
In order to increase a wider club awareness of touch and its rules, we held a Trojans specific referee course in the first lockdown. This was thoroughly enjoyed by all those who attended and has resulted in people being able to referee matches during training sessions.
Moving forward, we are hoping to have a series of ‘showcase’ tournaments involving all three clubs to demonstrate to the wider community exactly what it is that we do down here.
We would like to develop an affiliation with Cornish Pirates, which will help us to deliver Touch across the region to children, youths, women, adults and the elderly – we want Touch to become a community sport in Cornwall which will be accessible for all.
We are hopeful that we will be able to develop an ‘elite’ mixed squad that will be chosen from all the players available in Cornwall across the clubs. We will be hoping to enter this team, in the next few years, into the National Touch Series – but we know we have a long way to go yet!
At the moment the clubs tend to focus on more senior players however, we want to develop a youth side that will feed into the South West Saxons team and this will help to develop touch in the long run as well.
We would like to host a tournament down in Cornwall that people from all over the country will be able to come to and attend. This will massively promote the game in Cornwall and should be excellent for publicity and exposure.
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