‘Addictive’ tag rugby league proving a hit across the capital

For those wanting to take up a new sport to keep fit, rugby league may not be the obvious choice.

The perception is you have to have a certain build or level of endurance to execute tackles or jink gracefully through them.

But a series of venues in the west London area, and further afield, are offering people of all ages and abilities the chance to try out tag rugby league.

In this minimal-contact version of the sport, defenders attempt to prevent attacking players from scoring not by hauling them down, but by ‘tagging’ – pulling a Velcro-attached tag from the leg of the ball carrier.

All the while, opponents dodge, evade and pass to their team-mates to get them beyond the try line.

Each team is made up of seven players, with men and women able to play alongside each other, and with the rolling substitutes format, players are also able to come on and off for a breather as needed.

There are no crunching challenges in the tag version of rugby league
There are no crunching challenges in the tag version of rugby league

There are 18 leagues taking place across London with those aged 14 and over able to take part.

Prices start at £4 a player for a 40-minute game and there are dozens of weekly matches taking place across the capital, including at several venues in west London.

Taking place on weeknights and weekends, players can fit taking part in a regular team sport around busy working schedules.

Venues are located closely to public transport and organisers Try Tag Rugby say it provides an alternative to spending hours alone in the gym.

Whether you’re an ex-rugby player or a complete novice, the tiered league format caters for all abilities and ensures players of a similar level are put together.

Tag rugby player Richard Seedhouse said: “I started playing with Try Tag Rugby over two years ago. I had little experience at the time and weighed 120kg with a 44-inch waist.

“In my first game I struggled to last five minutes and worried that this wasn’t going to be the game for me, but with matches less than a few minutes’ walk from home it was too convenient to give up and the social side of the game was excellent.

“Over the last couple of years I’ve developed as a player; I’m slimmer, fitter, faster and more agile.

“I’ve scored tries, won championship medals, been nicknamed Twinkletoes, among other things, and even been named player of the match on numerous occasions.

“It’s very addictive. I currently play three times a week for different teams at various venues across London, and I can’t recommend it enough.”

There are a number of free taster sessions across London, where you can get a gentle introduction to the game. These are taking place in Shoreditch Park on Wednesday August 20, Hyde Park on Thursday August 21 and in Clapham on Saturday September 20.

West London venues which host the sport regularly include London Wasps Rugby Club Sports Ground, Twyford Avenue, Acton (Mondays, 7.30pm); Bank Lane (off Priory Lane), Roehampton (Thursdays, 7pm); Old Deer Park, Twickenham Road, Richmond (Thursdays, 6.45pm) and the Linford Christie Stadium, Wormwood Scrubs, White City (Wednesdays, 6.45pm).

To find out more about Try Tag Rugby and to find your nearest league visit www.trytagrugby.com.

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