The IRFU has announced a partnership with the Irish Touch Association (ITA) which will result in the sharing of knowledge and resources to increase participation in this modified version of the game.
The ITA are the governing body for Touch rugby in Ireland. Touch rugby is a fast paced non-contact version of rugby played by men and women of all ages.
The ITA support representative teams at all age levels that compete in international tournaments around the world as well as coordinating domestic participation leagues across Ireland.
The partnership will see ITA coaches and technical staff working with the IRFU to develop new Touch coaches and referees and the ITA will host induction days for new players within newly established IRFU Touch Leagues.
The IRFU will help drive the promotion of the sport and seek to increase participation in Touch rugby by introducing adult leagues in key cities around the country and in third level colleges.
IRFU Participation Rugby Manager Olly Hodges said: “We are delighted to team up with the Irish Touch Association. We believe by working together we can really drive participation in Touch rugby and provide people with access to another great variation of the game.”
Garry Glenn, President of the Irish Touch Association, commented: “The Ireland Touch Association is very pleased to be working alongside the IRFU in promoting Touch rugby nationwide. Hopefully we will soon see new leagues being established in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Limerick and Galway, and players from these locations trying out for our national squads in the 2016 European Championships next July in Jersey.
“As a non-contact sport, it is ideal for companies as a team building process for their employees, for sporting clubs it will improve their core skills and fitness, and for schools to integrate all their pupils, male and female and introduce them to the oval ball.”
The IRFU will initially run adult Touch rugby leagues in Belfast, Cork, Dublin, Galway and Limerick and will also run a programme in Universities and Colleges during the 2015/16 season.