O2 and RFU aiming to Touch the nation with rugby

  •  O2 and RFU unveil biggest ever campaign to get England playing Touch Rugby
  • Strictly Come Dancing’s Flavia Cacace and England players Goode, Barritt and Brown help launch the initiative at the Truman Brewery, East London
  • Touch is one of the most inclusive sports available to men and women and offers a number of health benefits

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) today unveiled the O2 Touch tour, its biggest ever campaign to get England playing Touch Rugby, supported by The Untouchables; the world’s most exciting Touch team.

The O2 Touch tour was officially launched with The Untouchables, at a specially-laid pitch at the iconic Truman Brewery in East London. Joining The Untouchables for their inaugural performance was Strictly Come Dancing star Flavia Cacace and England Rugby players Mike Brown, Brad Barritt and Alex Goode, who all hope this initiative will bring the fun, fitness and social elements of the non-contact sport to many more people across England.

Broadening the reach and appeal of rugby through Touch is one of the key focus areas for the RFU to create a lasting legacy for the sport in the build up to and beyond the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in 2015. The RFU, working with O2, is committed to establishing 75 new O2 Touch Centres by June 2013 and a further 100 during 2013/14.

Over the next two months O2 Touch and The Untouchables will be taken on tour across England to promote local Touch activity and attract new people to the game.

The Untouchables features a mix of male and female athletes including leading free runners, a choreographer to world-stars such as Rihanna and Dizzee Rascal and a former Leicester Tiger.  They will visit Birmingham, Manchester, Nottingham and Bristol showcasing their skills with a rugby ball to members of the public.  They will also be encouraging people of all ages and abilities to sign up and participate in Touch; whether at their local rugby clubs or universities, as part of the O2 Touch programme. A wider tour, which runs until April this year, will also visit Plymouth, Portsmouth, Southampton, Sheffield, Hull and Norwich.

Sally Cowdry, Marketing and Consumer Director at O2 said, “We’re really proud of our long standing relationship with England Rugby and through the O2 Touch programme, are committed to bringing rugby to everyone. Touch Rugby is such an inclusive and accessible sport and we really hope that the tour and The Untouchables launched today will inspire a whole new generation to pick up a rugby ball and start playing this exciting game.”

Fresh from rehearsals for her West End show Midnight Tango, Flavia Cacace said, “There are so many skills that you can pick up and hone by playing O2 Touch and this is why I wanted to be involved; deftness, quick feet, speed, agility, great hands, strength. But more than that, it’s a really fun way to keep fit –  anyone can do it and have a go.  Touch Rugby is now part of my training regime!”

England Rugby Player Brad Barritt, speaking at the launch he attended with team mates Alex Goode and Mike Brown, said, “O2 Touch is a great way to keep fit and to have some fun.  The best thing about it is that anyone can play and not worry about the physical side of rugby!  It’s a really positive initiative from the RFU and O2 to enable people of any age to get back into playing the game or try it for the first time. I’d definitely encourage people to pitch up to play.”

Touch is one of the most inclusive sports, available to men and women. It is a non-contact form of rugby which means there is no tackling and no scrums or line-outs. It’s just pure fun that’ll leave you feeling like you’ve had a great workout.

The rules are simple allowing players to self-referee matches and play anywhere, anytime with teammates, colleagues, family or friends.

For more information about the O2 Touch tour, to find out about opportunities to pitch up and play near you and to watch videos of The Untouchables in action, visit www.rfu.com/o2touch.

O2 Touch Tour

The O2 Touch Tour will be visiting:

  • Monday 25th February, Birmingham, Victoria Square
  • Wednesday 27th February, Manchester,   Albert Square
  • Friday 1st March, Nottingham , Old Market Square
  • Monday 4th March, Hull, Queen Victoria Square
  • Wednesday 6th March, Sheffield, Fargate
  • Friday 8th March, Bristol, Anchor Square
  • Saturday 16th March, Norwich, The Forum
  • Monday 18th March, Plymouth, The Piazza, Royal Parade
  • Wednesday 20th March, Portsmouth,  Guildhall Square
  • Friday 22nd March, Southampton,  Guildhall Square