Regional Rugby Wales (RRW) and the Four Welsh Regions are working in partnership with the European Touch Rugby Championships to be held in Swansea this week.
The tournament will be officially opened by the Rt Hon Carwyn Jones AM – First Minister of Wales on Wednesday 6th August (1645-2000) at Swansea University Sports Village.
As part of Welsh Regional Rugby’s support of the event, players from each of the four Welsh Regions, the Scarlets, Ospreys, Newport Gwent Dragons and Cardiff Blues will take part in an exhibition Touch Rugby match at the Championship’s opening ceremony.
The 2014 European Touch Championships (ETC2014) will be held between 6th & 10th August 2014. It promises to be a busy rugby event, with 52 teams from 16 countries competing in eight categories ranging from men’s, women’s and mixed open through to over-40s.
Over 900 players, referees, officials and medical personnel be part of the event from countries such as Wales, England, France, Scotland, Germany, Ireland & Spain. This is the 9th European Touch Championships and will be the largest tournament to date.
Prior to the opening of the European Championships, a junior competition will run on the 5th and 6th August at the Swansea Council King George V Playing Fields with the first ever mixed junior U18 competition match in Europe being staged.
Touch is one of the fastest growing participation sports in the World. Touch is played in 60 countries worldwide including Wales, USA, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Canada, Germany, France and Japan.
Just weeks after the Four Regions came together for another fast and furious rugby evening at the successful Premiership Rugby 7s series at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, the Touch Rugby competition will once again provide spectators with rugby action in the summer months.
Touch is a dynamic catch, run & pass invasion sport that is easy to learn, fast-moving and involves minimal contact and is played by men, women, boys and girls aged from eight to adults into their fifties in male, female and mixed competitions. With a number of cross over skills that are similar to rugby related to the core open field skills, there’s no tackling, lineouts, scrumming or kicking involved.
Mark Davies, Acting Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales said:
“RRW is delighted to have the opportunity to provide its support to an important rugby event here in Wales that seeks to inspire and support wider forms of rugby and inspire new generations and greater participation in rugby.
“You only have to look at the success of Touch Rugby in the Southern Hemisphere and its participation levels to understand the importance of supporting, recognising and developing different forms of inclusive rugby and the huge health and social benefits they bring.”
The Wales Touch Association (WTA) was established in 1999 to promote the development of Touch in Wales from Junior and grass roots level, to elite and international level.
Wales Touch Association Managing Director Matt Enoch said:
“We are proud to have the support of WPS and RRW in hosting the biggest European Touch Championships to date and what promises to be the best one yet. WPS have supported Touch in Wales for a number of years now both as sponsor of all the Wales National teams and in supporting a number of development programmes we have run across Wales – we are grateful for their on-going support and hope that they enjoy the Championships.
“The backing of the regions and RRW is very important to us in delivering the championships and something we are keen to build on beyond the event in a similar way to that which exists in Australia and New Zealand. While Touch is a separate sport to rugby union there are a number of cross over skills, synergies and similarities between them. We have a number of future community Touch initiatives planned in each of the regions across Wales that will benefit both WTA and the Ospreys, Scarlets, Dragons and Blues.”
Jon Francis, WPS Financial Group Ltd:
“We are delighted to be the principle sponsor of all the Wales Teams competing in this Tournament. It will be the biggest Touch Tournament in the Northern Hemisphere and is testament to the rapid growth of this very skilful sport, which requires speed, fitness, and intelligence rather than just brute strength. Swansea and Swansea University facilities are perfect for this event and with the help and support of Regional Rugby Wales, Ospreys, Scarlets, Blues and Gwent Dragons, we are in for a wonderful Tournament in a Country where rugby is the National sport.
“I can’t think of a better place and Country to host this Tournament, and we are excited to be part of the whole event. The title European Champions is earned from the overall placing of all teams entered in the various categories. Wales were last crowned European Champions at the Tournament in 2010 in Bristol, and we go in to the Tournament full of confidence and as one of the favourites to win the Trophy back from England who won it in Treviso in 2012. Let the fun and games commence!”
Yarnie Guthrie, Ospreys Commercial Manager said:
“We are delighted to lend our support to the European Touch Rugby Championships. With the involvement of our commercial partners WPS, Princes Gate and Swansea University, it makes absolute sense. For such a major rugby event to be hosted within our region is something everybody can be proud of.”
Jon Daniels, General Manager of the Scarlets said:
“It’s fantastic that the European Touch Rugby Championships are here in Wales. The emergence of different forms of rugby really expands the global appeal of the game and this event will showcase what Wales has to offer in supporting the development of rugby at all levels. With Europe’s largest cultural festival also in Llanelli the same week it promises to be a busy period for all concerned. The Scarlets are delighted to support this tournament and wish all the competitors the very best.”