Historic Announcement for Touch

Wales Touch Association announce that the inaugural National Championships will be held in April 2013.  Six regions are to be formed and will compete in Mens, Womens and Mixed open categories.  The West Wales squad will be made up of players residing in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.

So why is this announcement so important for the development of Touch in Wales?

Cymru Rhanbarthau Cyffwrdd | Wales Touch Regions

It’s A Numbers Game

In Wales in 2012, there were less than 3,000 men and women playing Touch (WTA figures).  The overwhelming majority of Touch is played in Cardiff and therefore the national teams are little more than Cardiff regional teams, peppered with a handful of players from Swansea, Wrexham, Llanelli and some of the main English cities.

Compare this to England where there are already national club competitions (National Touch Series and Challenge Touch Series) as well as an inter-regional competition in which regional franchises compete.  The best regional players are then chosen to represent at national level.  There are more Touch players in England (approximately 5,500 according to ETA)  and with the regional structure, it is little wonder that they are the current European Champions.

Considering the low number of participants, Wales has been punching above it’s weight at international level for some time, even winning the 2010 European Championships.  However, the current model is not sustainable and Wales badly needs to encourage more people to play the game or it is in danger of being left behind. 

Spreading the Word

Although Touch was introduced to Cardiff in 1991 by Dave Swain and Paul Nepia, as recently as 2011 the only places you could play regular competitive Touch outside of Cardiff were Llanelli, Pontyclun, Swansea and Wrexham.  However, this is set to change with the 2012 partnership agreement between the WTA and Welsh Rugby Union which has seen Touch being introduced to new territories via the WRU’s 14 Participation Officers (PO).  Part of the PO remit is to run Touch leagues for adults and this has resulted in leagues starting out in Bridgend, Newport and Neath amongst others.  It won’t be long before some of these players are filtered through to regional teams and then national teams.  Since the formation of the Llanelli league in 2010, it has already produced two players that have played in the Touch World Cup and Touch European Championships.

In order for Touch to grow and flourish in Wales it is essential that the game is played in all areas of the country.  Obviously, Wales is a small country with a small population and we are not quite ready to target reaching the 500,000 registered members as Touch Football Australia is planning in their latest strategic plan.  The National Championships is a huge step in the right direction.  Coaching positions have been advertised for each of the six regions and it is hoped that there will be a men’s, women’s and mixed open team for each region.  The biggest challenge is that there will have to be active recruitment of players in regions that have little or no history of Touch being played competitively.  However, this is precisely why the championships are so important.  Once social league players realise that they could play at regional or even international level, the profile and status attached to the game will undoubtedly rise.  It stands to reason that the more people playing the game, the better standards will become, resulting in more competition for places in national teams.

West Wales

The west Wales region encompasses Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and it is fair to say that the men’s open team will be made up almost entirely of Llanelli based players considering that is still the only active league in the region.

Finding women to make up the women’s and mixed west Wales regional team could prove to be difficult since there was no Llanelli mixed or women’s league in 2012.  However, attendance at the recent Wales national trials was extremely encouraging with a large female contigent.  Even more encouragingly, a number of them were selected for the Welsh prelim squads for the 2013 Home Nations Tournament in Dublin.  It just goes to show that there is great talent across the country, it’s just a matter of getting the structure right in order to develop it further.

The new regions will compete over the weekend of the 6th and 7th April (location will be announced soon).  Players are eligible to participate if they live in Wales or are otherwise eligible to represent Wales, and must be WTA members.  All current national squad members are to participate.

Regional qualification is primarily determined by residential address. For players not living in Wales, qualification is determined by birthplace.

Get Involved

Interested players and referees should complete the registration form and return it to gareth.revell@hotmail.co.uk.

Download – WTA Nationals Registration Form

The regions are as follows:

Regional Team Name Regional Boundaries
Bridgend/Neath/Swansea Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot & Swansea
Cardiff South & The Vale South Cardiff & Vale of Glamorgan
Cardiff North & The Valleys Merthyr Tydfil, North Cardiff*, Powys (part – up to Welshpool) & RCT
Newport/Gwent Caerphilly, Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent
North Wales Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, Powys (Part – down to Welshpool), Wrexham
West Wales Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion

*The A48 will act as the boundary in Cardiff

FILM – Wales Touch Trials

Wales Touch Association are holding trials during November.  11th Wrexham, 18th Llanelli, 25th Cardiff

Here’s a short presentation with some action pictures taking during the recent European Touch Championships in Treviso, Italy.  Wales sent over 200 players and officials in seven different playing categories to Italy; Mens, Women, Mixed, Mens 30+, Mens 35+, Mens 40+ and Senior Mixed.

Wales Touch are very keen to locate new players who could make the grade at the representative level.  2013 sees the Home Nations tournament in Dublin, in 2014 it’s the European Touch Championships and in 2015 the Touch World Cup will  be held in Sydney, Australia.

The trials are open, for trialists over the age of 15.  If you think that you might have what it takes, you can register and get further details from the WTA website – www.walestouch.co.uk

Wales Touch On Look Out For Future Internationals

Guest post by Gwion Kennard, Technical Director, Wales Touch Association

The Wales team at the European Championships 2012 Opening Ceremony in Treviso

The WTA will be holding trials during November 2012 for the Mixed, Men’s and Women’s Open and all of the Over 30s squads as we build towards the 2013 Home Nations, the 2014 European Championships and the 2015 World Cup.

The selectors will be looking for athletes who demonstrate the following:
1. Responsiveness to on-field and off-field instructions and feedback
2. Ball retention
3. Defensive workrate and communication
4. Yardage
5. Followship
6. Leadership
7. Skills & decision making – 2v1 & 3v2 proficiency, planting proficiency, etc.
8. Attacking skills – Set-up play / 1v1 skills / running lines

The trial will be primarily drills through use of grids with a small amount of game-time at the end rather than mostly-game based. We are looking for potential in players rather than those who are closer to the finished article.

The trials will be held on the following dates:

11th November – Wrexham Details TBA
18th November – Llanelli, Barn at Parc y Scarlets from 1pm to 5pm
25th November – Hensol, Vale of Glamorgan, Outdoor 4G pitch at The Vale Resort from 1pm to 5pm

Please send any expressions of interest to gwion@walestouch.co.uk to help our planning and so we can gauge the viability of the Wrexham trial in particular.
Please note, all current Touch internationals are expected to participate in the trial process if they wish to be considered for selection for the open and Over 30 squads in the 2013 Home Nations in Dublin. If you are unable to trial due to injury or unavailability for an extended period of time, please advise Gareth Revell at gareth.revell@hotmail.co.uk as the trials co-ordinator BEFORE THE TRIAL PROCESS BEGINS.

Those wishing to be considered for selection for the Over 35 & Over 40 squads are welcome to attend the trials as there is no age restriction, However an alternative selection process will be implemented for Masters players details of which will be provided soon.

Twrnamaint Gorllewin Gwyllt Tournament 2012

Amazingly after a week of solid rain, with more promised, the skies cleared and the first Touch tournament to ever take place in the area was underway – Gorllewin Gwyllt.10 mens and mixed teams travelled to Llandysul in Ceredigion to compete for the Cwpan Gorllewin Gwyllt (Wild West Cup) and the Cwpan Cardi (Cardi Cup).  Several teams made the trip up from Touch hot-beds, Cardiff and Llanelli to help spread the word of Touch to pastures new.  Officials from Wales Touch Association were also on hand to referee games and help with the organisation of the tournament.  Special mention must go to WTA Referee Director, Kevin Hobbs who refereed almost non stop throughout the two days!  Also refereeing were Matt, Phil and Dave – big thanks to you all!

Escargot Turbo eventually beat Barcudiaid in the Wild West Cup final, with a convincing win having eliminated The Red Team in the semis.  Rupert Moon Panthers overcame the Poppit Wiwers to lift the Cardi Cup.

All in all, it was a great weekend of Touch, particularly considering that most of the teams present had not played the FIT version of the game before, the standard was high and we look forward to bringing more regular competitions to west Wales in the near future.

Thanks again to all involved in the competition – the tournament would not have been possible without the help of several key people.

Family Day, Saturday 5th May

The first ever Gorllewin Gwyllt Family Day was held on Llandysul Fields on Saturday 5th May 2012.The day was a great success with four families competing for the Family Cup, eventually won by Thomas & Co.

Family Day began with coaching sessions introducing the rules and tactics of Touch.  Each family was provided with a mentor coach who took the teams through their paces with some drills and plays.

A tournament timetable was then drawn up with the four teams each playing each other once, followed by a Final.  The competing teams were Allblack-Wallaby-Boks, Barcudiaid, Teifi Trumps and Thomas & Co.

The top two placed teams on the leader board following the pool games were Thomas & Co and Teifi Trumps. A very close final game eventually resulted in a 2-0 victory to Thomas & Co. who were then presented with the Family Day award.

Gorllewin Gwyllt would like to thank the volunteer coaches that gave their time to help coach; Kevin Hobbs, Eddie Harris and Justin Lloyd!

CSGT12 Llanelli Touch, Another Friendlies Evening Added

Fe fydd noson gemau Rygbi Cyffwrdd gyfeillgar eto yn y Strade nos fory (Mercher); 6.30 – 8yh. Cynghrair i ddechrau wythnos nesaf. Diwrnod cau o ran cofrestru yw dydd Gwener bellach ond gallwch gofrestru nos yfory. Pris tymor – £65.00

 Ffruflen – https://wildwesttouch.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ffurflen-cais-app-form-2012.pdf

There will be a night of friendly Touch Rugby games again in Strade tomorrow evening (Weds); 6.30 – 8pm. League to start next week. Closing date for registrations is now this Friday, but you can register tomorrow evening. Season cost – £65.00

Form – https://wildwesttouch.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/ffurflen-cais-app-form-2012.pdf

Croeso i bawb / all welcome

Cyffwrdd Sir Gar Touch