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

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Touch Euros Get Underway in Treviso

Tomorrow sees the first round of games in the 8th biannual European Touch Championships (ETC2012) which are taking place in the Lancenigo Sports Complex, in Treviso, Italy.  Wales are the reigning champions and will again be represented in force.

After an excellent showing at the Touch World Cup 2011 (TWC2011) – Wales’ Open teams (men’s, women’s and mixed) finished in the overall fifth position and the senior teams (M30, M35, M40 and Senior Mixed) finished in joint third, confidence is high.  Let’s assess Wales’ chances at the Euros this year…

Wales are the reigning overall European champions having won the 2010 competition in Bristol.  Wales entered teams in all six 2010 categories and despite only winning one outright title (Mens Over 35s), by reaching the final in five categories, they gained enough points to snatch the overall title from the previous champions, England.

European Touch Championships 2010 – Total Rugby Highlights Video

In 2012, Wales are again hedging their bets by entering all available categories (England is the only other team present to do so) and will be confident of bringing home the title from northern Italy.

So in which categories do Wales pose the biggest threat?

Men’s Over 40 (M40), Ranked 1 : 7

The Mens over 40 (M40) team are ranked number one in the over 40s category and will be favourites to take the title having finished fourth in TWC2011 – the highest placed European team.  Ireland and England are their closest rivals and the Wales team will fancy their chances following a 4-2 victory over Ireland and a 3-3 draw against England in TWC2011.

Mixed Open (MXO), Ranked 1 : 13

Wales’ best hope of a medal is the MXO team who are ranked number one and were the highest placed European team in TWC2011.  The team feel that the title is theirs to lose and will be going all out to make sure they bring home the spoils.  In their quest to do so, they have even recruited a TWC2011 winner in order to realise this aim. Ryan Pollock captained the Australian MXO team to World Cup success last year (picking up the Most Valuable Player in six out of ten games) and has been working closely with his Welsh counterparts in the month leading up to the Euros – no doubt instilling the winning confidence needed to go the whole way in a major tournament.  They will need this strength of mind having narrowly lost 7 – 6 to Ireland in 2010 and will be seeking revenge.

Women’s Open (WO), Ranked 2 : 7

Wales Women (WO) are ranked second only behind England so will be confident of making the final and with a fifth placed TWC11  finish (just behind England) there is no reason why they can’t push their arch rivals all the way.  England ladies, however, are the reigning champions, having overcome Wales 2-1 in the 2010 final, but there is very little to choose between the teams, as a four-all draw in their TWC2011 game proves.    In fact, Wales didn’t lose to European opposition in TWC2011, so the ETC2012 title is there for the taking.

Senior Mixed (SMX), Ranked 2 : 5

Ranked behind number one seeds, England, Wales Senior Mixed team finished TWC2011 in seventh place out of eight, but were still the second highest placed European team.  They found the going tough in Edinburgh, only winning one game (against Italy) and losing 7 – 1 to England.  However, they will be very confident of reaching the final in Treviso and could surprise favourites England if they meet in the predicted Cup Final clash between the two nations.

Men’s Over 35 (M35), Ranked 2 : 4

The M35 team finished TWC2011 in fourth placed, behind third placed, England.  They are ranked second only behind England although they suffered a convincing defeat, 7 – 2 during their last competitive game in TWC2011.  They’ll be confident of making the final and are the reigning champions, so they have a very good chance of retaining their title.

Men’s Open (MO), Ranked 3 : 8

The Mens Open (MO) team lost 8 – 3 to Scotland in the 2010 final, but will come back stronger and may fancy their chances, although a ninth place World Cup finish behind their major European rivals, Scotland, England and France, means a tough ask to collect the MO title.  Many of the team remain the same and the squad has been training hard in preparation for the Euros.  They are seeded third behind Scotland and England so it’s well within their capabilities.

ETC2010 MO Final – Scotland v Wales

Men’s Over 30 (M30), Ranked 3 : 4

The Mens over 30s (M30) also go into the tournament with confidence having had an excellent run in of preparation games – even running the Wales MO team close in a final training game at the Vale Hotel last weekend, losing 7-5 despite being without several strike players.  They will be underdogs in ETC2012, seeded third out of four teams and finished in seventh place in TWC2011, but they could be an outside bet for success.

European Touch Champions 2012?

Wales can be very confident of picking up another ETC overall title.  In 2010, they did so by reaching five out of the six available finals and only picking up one final victory.  In 2012, they should pick up the Mixed Open and M40 titles and have a good chance of making the final in several of the other categories.  However, it is England that start the tournament as favourites – ranked number one in four categories and second in two others.  They should provide the sternest test for the reigning champions and it is going to be a closely fought battle between the two nations.  We wish all the Welsh players, coaches, managers, referees and support staff the best of luck!

VIDEO – Part 1 An Interview With Dennis Coffey (Fed. Int. Touch)

Please note – this is a ‘Prezi’.  It allows the viewer to navigate around the presentation in his/her own time.  There are several parts to this show.  Simply use the arrows to move to the next section.  You can also use the zoom keys to get in closer to the action!

Dennis talks to Wild West Touch about his role with the Federation of International Touch, potential new FIT members including Afghanistan and U.A.E. and gives his good luck message to Wild West Touch.

The next instalment will look into the origins of Touch and how the game has developed, particularly in Australia.

Dennis Coffey – Secretary General of Federation of International Touch (FIT)

When you think of Touch, you should think of Dennis Coffey.  Dennis literally co-wrote the rule book way back when and has been involved in the game for over 30 years.  He developed many of the manuals and coaching resources and was Australia’s first Touch Coaching Director.

Dennis teaching the Level 1 Touch Course in Wales, 2010

For the last few years he has been involved with FIT and has been travelling around the world promoting the sport.  I was lucky enough to meet Dennis at an event I organised at Parc y Scarlets for Sports Development professionals with WTA in May 2011.  Dennis told us about how the game started and developed in Australia and the potential for development here in Wales.  Carmarthenshire has already done a lot of work, particularly with girl’s Touch and that looks set to continue with Dennis helping to identify what could be done to develop the game further.

I then attended the Level 1 Touch coaching course in summer 2011 and you could not have a more knowledgable and experienced tutor for a Touch coaching course in Dennis!  It was a pleasure to work with him and I look forward to the Level 2 course in 2012!

It’s an exciting time for Touch in Wales with WTA and the WRU coming together to put Touch right at the forefront of not just junior rugby, but also at adult level with the news that 14 Participation Officers have just been appointed across Wales.  A strong focus for these officers will be Touch and the setting up of leagues and competitions for juniors and adults.  I think we’re going to see an astronomical rise in the number of registered players, which currently sits at less than 3000!  It’s quite amazing that Wales have previously competed so well in World Cups and Euros with such a small player base, so the future looks very good indeed!

Here’s a short clip of Dennis talking about his involvement in Touch and another video of Dennis speaking at the opening of TWC2011 during a highlights video from TWC2011 hosted by Scotland in June.