THE rain didn’t dampen Sheffield’s sporting spirits when Fargate was transformed into a giant rugby pitch.
The inflatable pitch was erected in the city centre yesterday through a hazy fog to promote Touch Rugby - the latest fitness craze fast-growing in popularity.
“It’s way more fun than hopping on a treadmill for an hour,” said Phil Duffy, Touch operations manager with the RFU.
The RFU officially launched the national O2 Touch Tour last month, with the help of Strictly Come Dancing professional Flavia Cacace.
The tour is set to visit ten cities all over the country in the next month in an effort to ‘encourage, inspire and introduce a whole new generation of men and women’ to the sport.
Phil, a former rugby player who retired after injuring his back, describes Touch as the ‘lighter side of rugby.’
He said: “I found I missed playing when I had to give it up and that’s when I first gave Touch Rugby a try.
“It’s really enjoyable and perfect for people like me with old injuries because it’s completely no contact. It’s something for people of all sizes and ages.
“More clubs and classes across Britain are giving it a try and it’s a brilliant way to keep fit at the weekends, without worrying about having to go into work with a black eye or a split lip on Monday morning.”
England rugby internationals Curtis Wilson and Harriet Millar-Mills were also in Sheffield, to give some professional pointers, along with players from local clubs Hallamshire and Sheffield Oaks.
“Touch is the same concept as rugby, but just for fun,” explained 20-year-old Curtis, who plays for Leeds Carnegie and is currently on loan to Rotherham.
“We play it to warm up before practice and it really is something that anyone of any age and ability can get involved with.
Curtis added: “It is very cold today but that hasn’t stopped Sheffield getting into the spirit and we’ve had lots of people signing up to have a go.”