The O2 Touch tour, hosted by Sky Sports Sarah-Jane Mee, spent the day at Albert Square in the heart of Manchester showcasing the game on a specially-laid pitch. Joining The Untouchables on this leg of the tour were Sale Sharks' full-back Rob Miller and England Women's international Vicky Fleetwood who hope this initiative will bring the fun, fitness and social elements of the non-contact sport to many more people across England.
More than 50% of adults in Manchester are tired of playing single sex sports and are keen to play more mixed pursuits, like Touch Rugby. 38% across England see it as a way to socialise and two out of ten people say they're keen as it's something they can do with their partner .
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. Anyone interested in playing touch rugby in Manchester can visit one of the local the O2Touch Centres, including Vale of Lune, Sale FC, Preston Grasshoppers and Broughton Park. For more information visit www.rfu.com/O2touch.
Over the next four weeks O2 Touch and The Untouchables will visit ten locations across the nation including Manchester to encourage sign up to Touch activity and raise awareness of the initiative. 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.
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. You can also follow the tour and get involved on Twitter using #O2Touch.