Players from the four Welsh regions came together on the pitch today to play an exhibition game of touch rugby to launch the European Touch Rugby Championship at Swansea University Sports Village.
Alun Wyn Jones, Martin Roberts and Sam Davies from the Ospreys and Dillon Lewis, Ethan Lewis and Jarrod Evans from Cardiff Blues joined Ryan Elias, Torin Myhill and Josh Adams from the Scarlets and Hugh Gustafson, Ian Gough and Nic Cudd from Newport Gwent Dragons to play in front of a packed crowd including First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones, who officially opened the tournament.
The 2014 European Touch Rugby Championships will be held until August 10th with 52 teams from 16 countries competing in eight categories ranging from men's, women's and mixed open through to over 40's.
Mark Davies, acting Chief Executive of Regional Rugby Wales which represents the four Welsh regions, said: "We're delighted to support the launch of the European Touch Rugby Championships here in Swansea. Regional Rugby Wales and the four regions are always looking for innovative new ways of spreading the word of rugby in all its forms, so the opportunity to help Wales develop in Touch couldn't be missed.
"The organisers have worked incredibly hard to create a packed programme for the next four days and it will be exciting to see the talent on display. I'm sure that hosting the European Touch Rugby Championships in Wales will encourage more people here to get involved in this form of inclusive rugby, helping them become more active for years to come."
Initially developed in Australia in the 1960s, Touch is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and has over 6,000 participants in Wales. Played by men and women, boys and girls, Touch contains a number of cross over skills that are similar to rugby. These are primarily related to the core open field skills as there is no tackling, lineouts, scrumming or kicking involved.
The Wales Touch Association, which is hosting the tournament, was established in 1999 to promote the development of Touch in Wales. Managing Director, Matt Enoch, said: "We are proud to have the support of RRW in our hosting of the biggest European Touch Championships to date and what promises to be the best one yet. While Touch is a separate sport to rugby union there are a number of cross-over skills and similarities between them - links that are recognised and promoted in the southern hemisphere where Touch is a significant sport.
"RRW put together a strong team of regional and international rugby players and it was really interesting to see how the speed, fitness and rugby skills of these professional athletes matched against the Touch skills and game knowledge of the Touch team. We put together a team consisting of young local talent such as Alex Francis, Dan Messer and Gareth Lewis mixed with the experience of the likes of Ryan Pollock and Dan Rushworth - both Touch World Cup winners with Australia."
Existing Season Ticket holders are advised that full details of all packages for the 2015/16 season have now been posted out to you and will arrive in the coming days - and that the deadline to renew your seat has now been extended!
Supporters are advised that Cardiff Blues will be holding a presentation on the field post match on Saturday afternoon to mark those players leaving the region, hand out caps and the end of season awards.
First team stars Cory Allen, Ellis Jenkins, Adam Jones and Kristian Dacey were among the special guests as Cardiff Blues held the Sphere Solutions Blues Tag Rugby Festival at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park.
The players at Cardiff Blues will be hoping to play with some true Gallic flair for the rest of the Guinness PRO12 season - after the region teamed up with a successful French bistrot in the Welsh capital.
Cardiff Blues will be celebrating St David's Day when the region faces Edinburgh Rugby at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 12.45pm) - with hundreds of children invited as part of our Regional Schools Day.