World Cup Touches Down In Edinburgh

The rugby season may be over and the 2011 Rugby World Cup may be four months away but there is no reason for rugby fans to wait until September for their next sporting fix.

Between 20-26 June, the seventh Touch World Cup takes place at Peffermill Sports Ground in Edinburgh. For the first time on European soil, over 2000 competitors from 28 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and Fiji, will battle it out to become World Champions.

The rugby season may be over and the 2011 Rugby World Cup may be four months away but there is no reason for rugby fans to wait until September for their next sporting fix.

Between 20-26 June, the seventh Touch World Cup takes place at Peffermill Sports Ground in Edinburgh. For the first time on European soil, over 2000 competitors from 28 countries, including New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Singapore and Fiji, will battle it out to become World Champions.

Sean Lineen, Glasgow Warriors head coach, speaks highly of the sport and the benefits it brings to society. “Touch is an excellent sport for all; it has great skills, it’s excellent for keeping active and fit, it’s fun to play and it has a great social environment around it,” he said.

The Grand Slam winner also believes the tournament, which is free to attend, will be a fantastic spectacle for all rugby fans.

“Hosting the Touch World Cup 2011 in Edinburgh is a great opportunity to showcase this fast-growing and dynamic sport and to see its best athletes in action,” said the former Scotland international.

The sport has further support from top players in the rugby union world, including Queensland Reds and Australia fly-half Quade Cooper, who credits his rise to the top of rugby union as being partly down to the skills he honed on the touch pitch.

Touch, or touch rugby as it is also known, is a popular and fast-growing non-contact team sport played by both men and women and by a broad spectrum of the community. The world cup is for adults, in three open-age and six senior divisions, but the sport is also popular with children and young people across the world.

The Scottish National Squad has progressed significantly in world performance over the last 5 years. The men’s open team are current European Champions and seeded fifth in the tournament and have high hopes for a top performance.

Robbie McKenzie, National Squad Coaching Director said: “Scotland have their best chance yet to achieve on the world touch stage.

"This has been the hardest selection process to date, the sport is growing rapidly at the grass roots level creating far more competition at the top end."

The Scottish mixed open team has also been bolstered by the addition of Carl McWilliam, a former New Zealand rugby sevens squad member.

When asked how he found the transition from rugby union to touch he said: “The basic skills are the same but it's really hard to beat people. In rugby [union] you can run through a loose arm whereas in touch you need to be even more agile, you get stopped in your tracks by them just laying a finger on you!”

As a curtain raiser to the tournament, and to help inspire our future players at the grass roots level, the Scottish Touch Association is hosting a Youth Touch Festival on Tuesday 21 June.

Working with key partners Scottish Rugby and the City of Edinburgh Active Schools program, a number of local primary schools across Edinburgh have been matched with a visiting nation under the Curriculum for Excellence ‘Adopt a Nation’ program.

The Youth Festival will kick off at Peffermill at 11am on Tuesday 21st June with a mini Opening Ceremony and then schools will be coached by volunteer nations Australia, Singapore, France, Niue and Guernsey.

Scotland's players will be on hand to assist across all five schools. All schools, parents and spectators welcome! The Opening Ceremony to the main tournament will be held at 6pm the same evening.

For more information visit www.scottishtouch.org.uk and www.touchworldcup2011.co.uk