This weekend I have a touch rugby tournament to celebrate 5 years of my “Social Touch Rugby Group” here in London.

I set it up because I had stopped playing rugby and wanted a run out. The touch leagues were full of people who were total a**es when it came to the rules and the few groups that I did find around here had too many Rugby players who just crashed it up like an old school game of Rugby Leagues.

So I set up my own group, took out the worst bits of touch rugby and kept in the good bits. We have had over 250 people come down and 400 people on the email list. It is a mix of guys and girls, young and old. Some players are awful others are ex full time professional Rugby players.

We have fed numerous players into the local Rugby clubs because out of every 10 social touch players a couple will want to step it up for contact.

The reason football is the biggest game in the world is because it is so easy to pick up and anyone can play. Touch Rugby is exactly the same and to me is one of the best ways to get people involved. Touch Rugby can be made to be a free flowing and fun sport or it can be game of crash it up boring rugby.

Based on what I did, this is what I would suggest you do at your rugby club –
– Advertise a social touch rugby group – Which is good for meeting people and for fitness
– Do not mention Rugby or Rugby players much – Sounds bizarre but normal people are scared off at the thought of a stereotypical rugby player.
– Ensure guys+girls are involved.
– Start a specific time but do not tie anyone in to having to play for an hour etc
– Mention how a lot of the players are rubbish + new to the game (no body wants to stand out being awful amongst pros)
– Keep the game light hearted, don’t be anal with the rules….it is just a laugh…. I use a tap to start each tackle (not between the legs as makes it more attacking), 6 tackles, can kick it on the 6th tackle but must collect within two bounces.
– Have a go at people for being competitive. I have a right go if people are complaining, arguing over the rules (evidently missing the point of a social touch game). I would also be 100% strict on no one boshing anyone or handing off into a touch. The moment one guy does it the whole gang of ex and current rugby players get macho and the social players think this aint for me!
– Finally, if you run a rugby club then this is easy to set up as only need 4 a side for a game really. As more non rugger players join do not be afraid to tell that big 2nd row who has to smash into people to not come down and stick to real rugby training etc.

Get players to invite girlfriends, mates etc. Invite down ex-players who have quit because of the demands rugby takes on the body etc.

The result of all this? You can develop a big social scene for your rugby club. You can have parents keen to drop their children off while they have a quick game of touch. You will get people talking about the club, bring women down, other guys who wouldn’t want contact rugby. this means more people know, like and are involved with your club.

Agree? Disagree? Have a thought to share? Comment below, it is always good to hear from you.