O2 Touch hits 20,000 registered players Issued by Rugby Football Union
O2 Touch to open five new ‘pitch up and play’ London centres this summer
England Rugby today announced one of its leading rugby participation programmes, O2 Touch, has successfully introduced 20,000 registered players to the game since its launch in 2013. The programme has seen unprecedented growth in recent years, surpassing agreed targets a year in advance in 2016 and has recorded an increase of 8000 players since Rugby World Cup 2015 alone.
O2 Touch, coordinated in partnership with O2, is also supported by Sport England and forms a major part of England Rugby’s partnership with Sport England to grow the game.
England Rugby has also announced it will open five new O2 Touch centres in London this summer, offering a casual playing experience for free, bringing the total number of O2 Touch centres nationwide to 350. The five new ‘pitch up and play’ London centres will operate in Regents Park, Wandsworth, Putney, Richmond and Clapham Common, making sessions more accessible for those in the capital.
O2 Touch is a format of the game that aims to breakdown common barriers to participation in rugby, by creating an offering that is easily accessible, non-contact, and that dials up the social and fitness elements.
Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director today said: “O2 Touch has consistently been one of the RFU’s top performing grassroots participation programmes, particularly among the 18-30s audience. The programme benefitted significantly from the Rugby World Cup in 2015 and with all eyes on the Women’s Rugby World Cup this August when the Red Roses will compete against the world’s best in Ireland, we are hoping to once again to create a positive lasting legacy and continue to grow participation, particularly among women.”
Gareth Griffiths, Head of Sponsorship at O2 said: “O2 Touch is one of England Rugby’s fastest growing grassroots programmes and we’re proud to see it achieve this new milestone of 20,000 players. We love that touch rugby is open to everyone, no matter what your ability. It’s also become a fantastic way to keep fans playing the sport. With summer fast approaching, there’s no better time to give O2 Touch a go.”
O2 Touch has attracted new audiences to rugby, a mixed team sport that combines touch rugby, music and body conditioning fitness in each sessions. The pitch up and play sessions are played to bespoke O2 Touch music mixes uniquely designed to motivate and increase enjoyment.
O2 Touch operates both a ‘pitch up and play’ facility aimed at individuals who are new to rugby or who can’t commit on a weekly basis and O2 Touch leagues for those who want to play in a more structured and competitive environment.
For more information about O2 Touch visit www.O2Touch.co.uk