Wales Touch Association applauded for use of Welsh language

Wales Touch Association broke the sporting mould when they launched the six brand new regions that competed at the inaugural National Championships in April 2013…each of the regions were given a bilingual name.
Wales Touch Nationals Logo



Bilingual Branding

When Wales Touch Association (WTA) presented the names and branding for the Wales Touch Nationals held for the first time in April 2013, they created history by being the first sporting body in Wales to create sporting franchises with bilingual names.

Welsh-language television broadcasters, S4C use the translated version of many teams in the British Isles, for example, Caeredin when referring to Edinburgh Rugby, Caerloyw for Gloucester and Gweilch when discussing the Ospreys.  Many Welsh language publications or TV and radio programmes would also use direct translations when describing Cardiff City FC’s Bluebirds as Adar Gleision or Swansea City’s Elyrch (Swans). 

However, this is the first time that the owners of a brand, in this case a regional representative team, have proactively named the regions in both English and Welsh and reflected this in all of the branding.

Cyclones – Seiclonau
Rangers – Ceidwaid
Rebels – Gwrthryfelwyr
Red Kites – Barcutiaid Coch
Titans – Titaniaid
Warriors – Rhyfelwyr

A Living Language?

So why have the WTA done this and why is it important?

In Wales, around 1 in 5 people speak Welsh but the 2011 census shows that the traditional Welsh-language ‘hot beds’ where the language is the predominant language are reducing.  There are many varied and complex reasons for this which won’t be covered here.

% of Welsh Speakers in Wales, 2011 Census

Despite the fact that approximately a quarter of school children in Wales are educated through the medium of Welsh and all children in Wales are taught Welsh as a second language in school, there are precious few opportunities for youngsters to use and develop their Welsh in their recreation time.

There are excellent organisations such as the Urdd who exist to give people opportunities to use their Welsh.  However, once young people grow up and leave school, they may have limited opportunities to use their Welsh skills.

Some young people will simply stop speaking the language, seeing it as something belonging to the classroom or even worse, an embarrassment.

If the language is to survive – and the fact that it may not is a scary reality, then it’s use must extend beyond the classroom and into everyday life.  It needs to be seen and heard on the street, in shops, on TV, on the radio, in gigs.  In short, it needs to be normal for Welsh to be heard everywhere in Wales.  Even in the areas where it’s a tiny minority, those that chose to use it should not face an uphill struggle or have to protest in order to do so.

Welsh in the Mainstream

There is some truly excellent work being done to ensure that public services and to a lesser degree, large private companies act responsibly and offer some or all services in Welsh.  Some organisations such as HM Customs & Revenue have outstanding Welsh-speaking staff and it is possible to phone the Welsh help line to deal with tax matters in either language equally.

However, many of Wales’ sporting bodies have not truly embraced bilingualism and it is they that can really lead by example and encourage youngsters to not only use their unique language, but to be proud of it.

Poor Support for Welsh from NGBs

The Welsh rugby team is crammed with Welsh speakers, such as George North, Rhys Priestland, Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies,  Mike Phillips and Ken Owens to name but a few.  Imagine a ‘Use Your Welsh’ campaign featuring these players.  This could truly hit home with youngsters who idolize their heroes.

In fact, of the 11 National Governing Bodies (NGB) in Wales that receive over £400,000 of public funding, only three of them have a Welsh language policy.  Of the 42 NGBs that received public funding in Wales, 37 of them operate English-only websites.

In fact, it is sad to note that there is currently a campaign against the Welsh Rugby Union.  The WRU have been criticised for failing to provide supporters with the ability to access their services in their native language and pressure is mounting on them to communicate with their customers equally in both languages.

Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) are calling on the WRU to not only update their Welsh-language policy, but to operate their social media and websites bilingually, develop Welsh-medium courses and make all promotional materials bilingual.

The predicted costs for doing so are minimal but it does take some extra time, effort and patience to do so.

Amateurs Leading the Way

Compare this to the WTA; an amateur organisation that is completely self-funded and does not receive any outside grants or sponsorship.  It creates very little revenue and does not employ any staff.  It is run purely by volunteers whose love for the game is what keeps them putting in the hours behind the scenes.

The WTA have been posting to their Facebook page for the last 18 months

The WTA have been posting bilingually to their Facebook page for the last 18 months


So to decide to not only create Welsh names for the new regions, but to display them equally on the team logos is impressive and should be applauded.  The WTA does not yet have a Welsh-language policy, but it’s social media streams have been posting bilingually and the will is there for the organisation to operate bilingually.  The WTA’s new website is also being developed to be available in both Welsh and English.

A Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg spokesperson said:

“Sports can play an important role in promoting the use of the Welsh language and the Wales Touch Association deserves praise for this positive step. Hopefully this will set an example for other sporting bodies.”

So to the Wales Touch Association executive board, I thank you for leading the way and long may this continue so that young people can see that Welsh is part and parcel of life in Wales and is something to be proud of.

Perhaps some of the other sports bodies in Wales which receive £400,000+ a year of public funding will soon follow suit.

What about you?  Tell us about your experiences (good and bad) of dealing with sporting organisations in Welsh.  Use the comment box below


Cyhoeddir Barcuitiad | Kites Announced

Cyhoeddir carfanau Barcuitiaid Coch ar gyfer y Pencampwriaethau Cenedlaethol.   Barcutiaid Coch squads are announced for the National Championships in April.

Carfan Barcutiaid Squad 2013











Barcutiaid Coch yw’r enw rhoddodd i’r tîm rhanbarth gorllewin Cymru newydd.  Dyna’r fframwaith sydd newydd cael ei ffurfio gan Gymdeithas Cyffwrdd Cymru er mwyn darparu cyfle i bawb ar draws Gymru i gynrychioli eu rhanbarth yn erbyn y chwaraewyr gorau yng Nghymru.

Ar ôl y sesiynau ymarfer cychwynnol, mae prif hyfforddwr Barcutiaid, Matt Adams wedi cyhoeddi ei garfan ar gyfer y Pencampwriaethau Cenedlaethol. Dywedodd, Matt;

Ar y cyfan, carfan ifanc, ddibrofiad yw hi ond mae pawb yn frwdfrydig a barod i ddysgu sgiliau a thactegau newydd sy’n berthnasol i rygbi cyffwrdd. Rydw i’n wrth fy mod gydag ymdrechion pawb hyd yn hyn ac rwy’n edrych ‘mlaen yn fawr at y Bencampwriaeth.

Fe fydd y Bencampwriaeth Genedlaethol yn cael eu cynnal ym mis Ebrill gyda’r chwe rhanbarth newydd yn brwydro yn erbyn i gilydd. Rhagor o fanylion ar wefan Cymdeithas Cyffwrdd Cymru.


Barcutiaid Coch (Red Kites) is the name given to the new west Wales region. This is the new framework formed by the Wales Touch Association to provide an opportunity for everyone across Wales to represent their region against the best players in Wales.

Barcutiaid Coch Red_Kites_Logo

After the initial practice sessions, Barcutiaid head coach, Matt Adams has announced his squad for the National Championships. Matt said;

On the whole, it’s a young, inexperienced squad, but everyone is enthusiastic and willing to learn the new skills and tactics that apply to touch rugby. I’m really pleased with everyone’s efforts so far and I’m looking forward to the Nationals.

The National Championships will be held in April with six new regions to battle it out. Further details available from Wales Touch Association.

Atomic Touch – Stay Warm This Winter

5x60 Ysgol Y Strade | Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn

Atomic Touch LogoAtomig Touch – y gêm newydd cyffrous wedi cael eu cyflwyno i ysgolion Sir Gâr.  Atomic Touch – the exciting new game is introduced to Carmarthenshire schools.

Mae’r Gymdeithas Cyffwrdd Cymru a’r Undeb Rygbi Cymru wedi bod yn gweithio gyda’i gilydd er mwyn ffurfio gem newydd dan do, sef ‘Atomig Touch’ .  Wedi cymryd elfennau cyffwrdd, rygbi, pêl-rwyd a phêl-fasged i greu gêm newydd sy’n addas i bawb!

Mae hi’n gêm gyffrous, gyflym a deinamig iawn sy’n hawddi ddechrau – codwch bêl a rhoi cynnig arni!

Heddiw, dangosais i’r gêm i’r tîm rygbi cyntaf Ysgol Emlyn ac maen nhw wedi joio mas draw!

Dywedodd Llysgennad Ifanc Emlyn, Curtis Bradford:

Wnes i fwynhau llawer, roedd hi’n gêm gloi ond mae sgiliau rygbi yn cael eu datblygu ac mae hi’n codi’r galon hefyd!  Byddwn ni yn bendant chwarae eto ac rwy’n gobeithio helpu 5×60 trefnu twrnamaint blwyddyn 7 yn yr ysgol yn…

View original post 304 yn rhagor o eiriau

Pendine Sands Tournament Is On

2013 Update – Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 August at Pendine – visit to register

Wales Touch Association (WTA) announce that their flagship annual beach tournament will take place on Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th September 2012.



There was some doubt whether this would be on this year or not.  This was due to the Pendine tournament traditionally being held on the last weekend of August and therefore being in very close proximity to the Touch European Championships in early September.  However, due to popular demand (and even one team threatening not to speak to them ever again if the tournament didn’t go ahead!) the WTA have decided that Pendine was a must!

For the first time, the tournament will be delivered in partnership with Cyffwrdd Gorllewin Gwyllt (Wild West Touch) which was formed earlier in 2012 in order to promote the game in west Wales and has already hosted the first ever Touch tournament in Llandysul.

Gorllewin Gwyllt Director, Matthew Adams explains;

I’m really looking forward to being part of the Pendine tournament having heard great things about it over the last 10 years.  We’re hoping to bring our local knowledge and expertise to the event and help inspire some of the locals to get involved.  We also aim to attract some of the teams already playing Touch in Llanelli, Swansea and Llandysul to play in Pendine for the first time.

The tournament takes place a couple of weeks after the conclusion of the Euros, so it’s the perfect way for those that have been representing their countries to bring another long season to a close in a social environment.  With good value local accommodation available, as well as camping and some great pubs, it promises to be a fantastic party atmosphere.  It’s also a great chance for teams currently competing in west Wales to test themselves against established teams from across Wales, England and beyond.

Believe it or not, this photo was taken in September!

Men’s Open (MO) and Women’s Open (WO) competitions take place on Saturday 29th September with a Mixed Open (MXO) competition on Sunday 30th September.  Some clubs choose to enter all three competitions with their men’s and women’s teams playing separately on the Saturday and then coming together to form a mixed team on the Sunday.  WTA is offering a cut price of £300 to register three teams, instead of the usual £120 team fee.

More information and registration details will follow soon.  If you want to keep up to date with Touch news in the Wild West, register for our irregular newsletter!  You can also check out the Gorllewin Gwyllt (Wild West) website for all things Touch in the region.


Did you know….Pendine is the Anglicisation of the Welsh name, Pentywyn.  Many Welsh place names refer to geographical features with ‘Pen’ meaning ‘Head’ or the ‘Top’ and ‘Tywyn’ meaning ‘Dune’.  

Pendine Online website for further information about the town.

Level 1 Refs Course Date Change

The referees course will now take place on Wednesday 25th April from 6pm – 9pm (location TBC) instead of this Sunday 25th March.  Use the previous form below to register.  The course is a great first step into Touch refereeing, of course, it is also useful for anyone wishing to improve their knowledge of the rules.

Fe fydd cwrs dyfarnu ar nos Fercher 25ain o Ebrill (lleoliad i’w gadarnhau) yn hytrach na dydd Sul yma, 25ain o Fawrth. Defnyddiwch ffurflen flaenorol isod i gofrestru. Mae’r cwrs yn gam cyntaf i ddyfarnu Cyffwrdd, wrth gwrs, ond mae’n ddefnyddiol i unrhyw un sydd eisiau gwella eu dealltwriaeth rheolau Cyffwrdd.

Ref App Form 2012

10 reasons to be a Touch ref
Refereeing Touch – 10 good reasons to get qualified

Maybe you’re new to Touch, maybe you’re a casual player who wants to better understand the rules, or maybe you have ambitions of playing or refereeing representative Touch.  Perhaps you already referee rugby or another sport and are looking for something to keep you busy in the summer.

Whatever your situation, here are 10 good reasons why you should commit three hours of your life to doing the Level 1 European Touch Referee Course:

  1. Your understanding of the game will improve – that is beneficial to both players and referees
  2. You will be valued – referees are integral to the further development of the game in Wales
  3. You can earn some extra cashCyffwrdd Sir Gâr Touch pay £5 per game (usually three games per evening)
  4. You could represent your country at top level tournaments around the world
  5. Your fitness will improve – imagine doing shuttle runs for forty minutes (and that’s just one game!)
  6. You will enjoy it – refereeing is fun!
  7. You will enjoy the great camaraderie that exists amongst Touch referees
  8. You will gain a sense of satisfaction from facilitating games and helping others
  9. You can receive ongoing coaching and development from WTA referee director, Kevin Hobbs
  10. More qualified referees = more games played = higher standard of Touch

Level 1 European Touch Referee Course organised by WTA and Cyffwrdd Sir Gar Touch 

Wales Touch Association Referee Director Kevin Hobbs
Kevin Hobbs – Wales Touch Association Referee Director

WTA Referee Director and Level 5 qualified referee, Kevin Hobbs will be running the course.  Kevin recently returned from representing Wales as a referee at the Touch World Cup in Scotland.  He has refereed all over the UK, Europe and the southern hemisphere and is Wales’ only level 5 qualified referee at this point in time.

Wednesday 25th April, 6pm – 9pm

Location – TBC

More information available by emailing or phone – 01554 744 354

Complete the application form (link below) and send along with a cheque for £12.00 (payable to WTA) – no prior learning required for this course.

Ref App Form 2012

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.