BC Rugby officially moved to the next phase of their ‘Return to Rugby’ plan which permits sanctioned clubs to deliver touch and flag rugby training and in-house leagues. While many die-hard rugby players may still feel like this is still too much of a compromise, BC Rugby have put together a Touch Rugby Experts Panel which helps explain some of the basics of touch rugby and its use for developing skills that are transferable to full-contact 15s and 7s rugby union.

The panel is hosted by Rugby Americas North Communications Manager Bryan Kelly, and features Darcy Patterson, Aaron McLelland and Sam Carter, members of the rugby community in British Columbia who all play touch rugby.

“Touch is an inclusive game providing fun with friends while building fitness and growing one’s skill set and game sense,” said Patterson, Rugby Development Manager for BC Rugby. “The fast paced nature and quick transition applies well to the modern game of rugby as well as rugby 7s. Many touch players who transition to contact rugby excel quickly, such as Charlotte Caslick and Portia Woodman to name a few.”

Patterson plays the sport because it is a fun and fast variant of rugby suited to playing with friends. “It’s also an inclusive game, and a game where you can grow your skill set and game sense with many touches and attempts with ball in hand.”

In addition to allowing current rugby athletes an opportunity to return to the pitch with competitive game action, a focus on non-contact rugby provides an opportunity for new players to try the sport. Since 2017, BC Rugby has run an adult recreational touch league which has quickly sold-out with the majority of the teams being comprised of workmates and friends, many playing touch for the first time.

McLelland, a BC Rugby Elite Youth 7s Boys head coach and fullback for the BC Bears, loves the game as an emphasis is placed on speed and evasion, but also for its inclusiveness. “The great thing about touch is it’s coed, it’s really a game for anyone.”

Carter, a Senior Coordinator of Team Services Logistics for the Canada Sevens, sees touch as way to work on fitness and rugby skills while also retaining the social aspect that rugby is renowned for. “It’s a great way to keep fit, to meet people, and to play the game without getting hurt.”

In order for clubs to hold touch and flag rugby activity, they must be sanctioned by BC Rugby for the Rugby Restart phase. More information about the sanctioning process is available at bcrugby.com/returntorugby/sanctioning.

Information on the Return to Rugby plan for players, coaches, referees and club leaders can be found at bcrugby.com/returntorugby.