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Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

  1. Touch is the Hobsons' choice

    The story of touch rugby in this country has a few family tales running through and the Hobsons are part of that tapestry. Clark Hobson, a university lecturer, is the one who started it all off in 2007 when he began playing, to be followed by his father Mark, who decided watching from the touchlines was not enough.

    "Now the rest of the family has picked it up and that, I think, shows how good a sport touch is for anyone of any age," said Clark. Mark has since represented England at senior age groups in European and World Cups.

    Those others mentioned are Clark's sister Alice, one of the Nationals event managers but who is also playing this weekend and Isobel, 18, who won a gold medal at the European Junior Championships last weekend.

    "It's bad," admits Clark. "If we don't watch it the conversation switches back to touch - we're touch-heads."

    "She [Alice] wasn’t going to play this weekend but she’s changed her mind," said Isobel. "She’ll enjoy it loads. Even though she’s older than me I’ve probably played more."

    "And Clark has played for 10 year and he now has a European gold medal. Though technically, I got one before him..."

    To add a little more spice to family get-togethers, Isobel plays for the Midlands, Clark is in the West team and Alice will be lining up for the North West because teams are split geographically based on residence.

    Touch rugby - women's event
  2. A stepping stone to international glory

    England National Touch Rugby Championships

    The English National Championships are the first step along the road to representing England in international competition. Only players who take part – and impress – will be considered to represent their country, so the stakes are high.

    Rather than playing for their regular club sides, the players join one of seven regional teams – North East Raiders, North West Blades, West Wildcats, Midlands Tigers, South West Saxons, South East Sharks and South East Taipans.

    There are opportunities to impress this weekend for juniors as well as for prospective senior internationals in men’s, women’s and mixed matches.

    For plenty of junior players, this weekend comes hot on the heels of a successful European Junior Touch Championships, where England won all four gold medals for the first time.

    There are also events for masters (veteran players for older age groups), which will take place in Nottingham later in the year, meaning every player gets a fair chance to show off their skills in the hope of getting their chance on touch rugby’s biggest stages.

  3. How is touch played?

    England Touch Rugby

    Teams are made up of 14 players, sometimes mixed gender, with six on the pitch at any one time, and substitutions are allowed at any point during the game.

    The attacking side has six chances to score before the ball is turned over to the defensive team, and as with all other types of rugby the ball must be passed backwards.

    The touch is the equivalent of a tackle in rugby league. After a touch, the player in possession places the ball on the ground and steps over it. The referee’s decision is final on whether a player has been touched – there’s no VAR!

    A touchdown is scored by grounding the ball on or behind the try-line, which scores one point.

    Find out more on the sport and opportunities to get involved via the England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland touch associations as well as the international game.

  4. How to follow the English National Touch Rugby Championships

    All times are BST and subject to change.

    The BBC will have action from all three days of competition via the BBC Sport website and app, as well as on Connected TVs. You can also watch all of the action again via the BBC iPlayer.

    Sun 25 August

    08:50-18:00 – Day two, BBC Sport website, app & Connected TV

    Mon 26 August

    08:20-17:00 – Day three, BBC Sport website, app & Connected TV

  5. The many benefits of touch rugby

    The try line is in sight! A straight sprint between her and the defender… and she's over, what a score, all without a finger being laid on her!

    That's touch rugby!

    There are no rucks, mauls or scrums but the game still offers all of the fitness benefits of the full-contact game, as well as a great place to socialise.

    O2 Touch Rugby sessions are run right across country, with most local rugby clubs providing an opportunity to get involved. To read more click here.

    England stars of 2018 have even given it a go…

    Video content

    Video caption: Touch Rugby: The non-contact sport keeping the nation fit