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On the ball . . . Touch Southland and the Pioneer Rugby Club are working together to bring touch rugby back to the region next month. Involved in the effort are (from left) Touch Southland regional manager Warren Bryant, Pioneer Rugby Club committee member Chris Wilson, senior club player Jordan Anderson and junior club rugby coach Russell White. PHOTO: KAYLA HODGE

Touch rugby is set for a resurgence in Eastern Southland.

The sport hasn’t been played in the area for the better part of four years but Pioneer Rugby Club members feel now is the time for its return.

Club members Chris Wilson, Jordan Anderson and Russell White started discussions a fortnight ago about bringing the sport to the region for the summer period.

“It was a group effort to get started.

“We wanted something for the whole of the Eastern Southland community to keep involved and get the community active,” Anderson said.

The group contacted Touch Southland regional manager Warren Bryant, who was excited about getting the competition up and running.

“The last competition only had about half a dozen teams in it.

“The area has a huge primary school competition with about 60 teams in it as well,” Bryant said.

However, the new competition was designed for secondary school pupils and adults.

The competition would involve mixed teams but if there was enough demand single-sex teams could also enter, Wilson said.

While the game was six-a-side, a squad could have up to 16 players.

Wilson said the group had received a few inquiries about the competition already.

“Touch can’t grow in the area if there isn’t a competition, so it’s about getting it off the ground.”

Including touch rugby would add another element to the club, White said.

“There’s been a real atmosphere with the club this year with kids, seniors and women’s rugby – it’s keeping everyone involved,”

However, the competition was for the whole community, not just club members, he said.

The competition will be played at Newman Park on Thursday nights, which can cater for seven games at a time.

It will start on October 17 and run until the Christmas break.

An open night will be held before the event for people to try the sport.

  • To register for the touch competition visit the Touch Southland website: www.touchsouthland.co.nz