Papa Johns Tartan Touch delivers record number of hubs for 2023
Scottish Rugby has today announced the return of the popular non-contact rugby programme, Papa Johns Tartan Touch with a record number of hubs.
Running between May and July, Tartan Touch is designed to provide a simplified version of rugby with the aim of attracting players of all abilities, ages and levels of experience who are looking to improve their fitness, begin their rugby journey or return to the sport, through simple and social activity.
This year’s programme will see 70 clubs operate as Tartan Touch hubs throughout the summer, with a record number of successful applicants being chosen, including 22 newly established hubs.
Each Tartan Touch Hub will be supported by their Regional Manager and Scottish Rugby’s Tartan Touch Operational Team.
Support will include provision of kit and equipment to help transform the club into a Tartan Touch Hub, as well as marketing support including a Tartan Touch nationwide marketing campaign and promotional toolkit.
Since 2018 the number of hubs in clubs across Scotland has more than doubled from the original 30 selected, and previous seasons of the programme have seen hubs across the country welcome over 4,000 players aged 5 to 75 years old from having never played rugby to retired players.
Glasgow based Hillhead Jordanhill first became a Tartan Touch hub in 2018, and Andy Scott is one of many members at the club looking forward to its return, saying: “Papa Johns Tartan Touch has been a great success at Hillhead Jordanhill with all who come down to the club to enjoy their Friday evenings. Players young and veteran, parents, their children, and neighbours of the club participate with lots of support and encouragement which of course brings us all closer.
“It has served as an introduction to rugby for some new to the game, and a gentle reminder for lapsed players why they loved the sport, hence encouraging their return. One local community participant enjoyed the sessions so much, he praised them on a Saturday lunch time football talk show!
“Tartan Touch is now a firm favourite and fixture on our social and rugby calendar at Hughenden.”
The regional spread of hubs is also now greater than ever before with all five Scottish Rugby Regions represented. New hubs include: Arbroath, Bannockburn, Blairgowrie, Grangemouth, Hillfoots, Madras, Peterhead, Ross Sutherland, Duns, Walkerburn, Allan Glens, Clydebank, Cumbernauld, Mid Argyll, Isle of Mull, West of Scotland, Ayr, Kilmarnock, Newton Stewart, Wigtownshire and Skye.
With the additions of Mull and Skye, there are now four Island communities offering the all-ages rugby programme this summer.
Ross Sutherland Rugby Club are one of the Tartan Touch hubs participating for the first time. Their catchment area is currently the largest in Scotland, covering 13,800m2.
John Scott, President of Ross Sutherland said: “Ross Sutherland are delighted by the latest news that for the first time this year we will become a Papa Johns Tartan Touch at our grounds in Invergordon.
“Over the past couple of years, we have run a successful touch rugby tournament featuring six teams from within our catchment area, playing once a week but this year with the support from Scottish Rugby through the Tartan Touch programme, it will be even better!
“Touch rugby is an awesome sport which allows everyone to get involved, whether you have played the game or not. With our new clubhouse now completed we are ready for a big crowd.”
Tartan Touch will once again be sponsored by Papa Johns, who are the title sponsors of the programme, as the pizza delivery brand continue to proudly work to support rugby communities in Scotland.
Scottish Rugby Director of Rugby Development, Gav Scott said, “It’s really pleasing to see more clubs than ever before taking part in our Tartan Touch programme. To see that clubs are still keen to return year after year, while others are excited to get on board is great news for the game in Scotland.
“The increase of interest from Scotland’s Island rugby communities is especially exciting. Tartan Touch was a big hit in Islay last year, and has been well run in Shetland for a number of years now.
“Tartan Touch is an excellent way for clubs to connect with their local community, and allow people from all ages, abilities and backgrounds enjoy the physical and mental benefits of playing rugby in a fun and inclusive environment.
“We have seen so many developments off the back of Tartan Touch, whether that be clubs establishing women’s teams or providing more regular alternative formats including walking rugby, Tartan Touch has been an excellent catalyst for the growth of our game since it began.
“We’re of course delighted to continue our partnership with Papa Johns as the programme’s title sponsor, and seeing our joint commitment to the grassroots game support our rugby communities across the country.”
Speaking on the announcement, Rebecca Rose, Marketing Director at Papa Johns UK said: “As another season of Papa Johns Tartan Touch gets underway, we couldn’t be more excited to see the action kick off at hubs all over Scotland.
“The difference that projects like this can make to local communities is vast and we’re extremely proud that Papa Johns can play its part to keep people of all ages and abilities engaged in grassroots rugby.”
For more information please visit tartantouch.org or follow @Tartan_Touch on Twitter.
Tartan Touch Hubs 2023
Caledonia Midlands: Aberfeldy RFC, Arbroath RFC*, Bannockburn RFC*, Blairgowrie Rams Rugby Club*, Carnoustie HSFP RFC, Dunfermline Rugby Football Club, Falkirk Rugby Club, Grangemouth Stags RFC*, Hillfoots RFC*, Howe of Fife RFC, Kinross RFC, Kirkcaldy RFC, Madras Rugby Club*, McLaren Rugby Club, Panmure RFC, Perthshire Rugby, Strathendrick RFC, Strathmore RFC
Caledonia North: Banff Rugby Club, Ellon Rugby Club, Mackie RFC, Moray RFC, Peterhead Rugby Club*, Ross Sutherland RFC*, Shetland Rugby Club, Skye Rugby*
East: Berwick RFC, Currie Chieftains, Dalkieth RFC, Duns RFC*, Forrester Rugby Club, Gala RFC, Haddington RFC, Jed Thistle RFC, Lasswade Rugby Club, Leith Rugby, Linlithgow, Lismore RFC, Musselburgh, North Berwick RFC, Peebles RFC, Penicuik Rugby Club, Portobello RFC, Walkerburn Rugby Club*
Glasgow North: Allan Glens RFC*, Cambuslang RFC, Cartha Queens Park RFC, Clydebank RFC*, Cumbernauld RFC*, East Kilbride Rugby Club, GHA RFC, Hamilton RFC, Hillhead Jordanhill RFC, Islay Rugby Club, Isle of Mull Rugby+, Mid Argyll RFC*, Strathaven RFC, Uddingston RFC, Waysiders Drumpellier, West of Scotland FC*, Whitecraigs Rugby Club
Glasgow South: Annan Rugby Club, Ayr Rugby Club*, Cumnock RFC*, Greenock Wanderers, Irvine RFC*, Kilmarnock RFC*, Newton Stewart RFC*, Paisley Rugby club, Wigtownshire Rugby Football Club*
*Denotes new Papa Johns Tartan Touch hub