5 Things to know about Touch
The main differences between Rugby and Official Touch Rugby
Touch is a sport in and of itself. Many people know touch rugby as something to do as a warm up for Rugby practice, or as something to do with the team on Saturday during the off season. Even more people don't know what Touch is! Hopefully this article will give you a little more detail. Touch has grown into a sport of its own. It has its own national teams and World cup contested by 28 Countries in 2019. The youth side of the sport (starting at about 6) has exploded with interest in the past several years. So with that in mind, hopefully this list will spark your interest and give you an idea of what Touch is like and how to find a club or team near you!
1. Touch is NOT RUGBY.....in a good way
Touch was originally used in the off season of Union Rugby to help increase players skills without doing damage to their body. So naturally they had a specific goal in mind, get better at contact rugby. Touch eventually grew its own following mostly among former Union Players still wanting to have a run but not be broken in the process. So they slowly organized a separate set of rules to protect the players and still keep growing the core skills of Union. I have seen allot of Rugby players come into Touch and get very frustrated by the limitations in place on them, not realizing that by taking away certain abilities you can sharpen others.
2. Touch Attitude
The most important part of trying Touch is the same to trying anything else in life, you have to be open to the experience and be ready to learn and grow. If you come into Touch expecting to run around everyone like you do in Union then you will be severely disappointed. Be open to learning from all the players on the field. Also be aware that most clubs welcome new players with open arms! The Tumeke Club has players as young as 6 and as experienced as 60! The great thing with Touch is its never to late or early to start playing.
3. Basic Touch Rules
So the basics to Touch are similar to Rugby in that the ball can only be passed backward or laterally. Instead of having 15 players per side like in Union you can only have 6. Similar to the four downs in American Football, Touch gives each side six "Touches" to move down the field and score. When a player is touched they must place the ball on the ground and step over it to simulate the ruck, at the same time the entire defensive line must move back 5 meters from the touch. The player who picks up the ball is now the "Dummy Half", so if this player is touched before they pass the ball it is an automatic turnover! The Dummy Half also can NOT score unless they have passed the ball and gotten it back.
4. Touch Positions and rolls
There are six players per side of every Touch game, two Wings, two Links, and two Middles. The Wings will be about 5 meters from the sideline and are responsible for counting the touches and letting the team know what they see and where they all are on the field. This is very important on defense when the team is moving backwards watching the attacking team. The Links are between the Wings and Middles. They are often involved in running the plays and assisting the Middles with driving the ball up the field. The Middles are the Leaders on the field. They are usually quick and agile so they can sneak in the middle for a quick score. If they can't make something happen on their own, they will call the Links to run a play and look to score with the Wing.
5. How to find a club near you
Rugby clubs have been rare in the United States but the number of clubs is growing every year! Most clubs now have a social media, or website you can use to contact them. If you can't find a Touch club in your area try asking some of the local Union teams. Even if there isn't an official Touch club in your area you might be able to go run with the Union team on a weekend. Start with Google and even posting on Facebook can lead you to the great new world of Touch!
Before you go!
Don't Forget Touch is not just a competitive sport, it's a team sport and even the teams you play against will become your friends and eventually family. If you bring a positive attitude to the game, you will leave with life long memories and family.