With the Rugby World Cup coming to an end in the last week, The Saint had a chat with St Andrews Touch Rugby Club Captain Bérengère Sim about the sport, its members and their plans for the year…
THE SAINT: For those who don’t know much about touch rugby, could you explain it?
Bérengère Sim: The biggest mistake people make before they start playing touch rugby is they think it’s exactly like rugby minus tackles. It’s actually not – a lot of people describe it as like ultimate frisbee and rugby mixed together. It is a lot like rugby in that you have the ball, but otherwise there’s not that many similarities. It’s essentially six people on one team on the pitch; in St Andrews we play with three girls and three boys. The aim is to score a try, you can’t pass it forward, you can’t drop the ball, can’t pass the ball after you’ve been touched. Players are defenders and attackers at the same time, a bit like rugby. And that’s more or less it!
TS: What do you most enjoy about playing the sport?
BS: I started playing when I was really small. What I like best about it is probably how social it is. With the team here only starting two years ago, in that time we’ve become really good friends. It’s also a good combination – you have to be very fast, you have to be very fit, but at the same time you have different positions for different people. I know I’m not the fastest on the team so I’ll be in the middle as the playmaker, with people who are very fast out on the wings. So there’s really something for everyone.
TS: How is the social aspect of the club?
BS: In terms of socials, we have an initiation – the first was last year, which was really good. I think it’s social in that there’s not that much pressure and we’re not a huge team, so you get to know people really fast. Probably also because an official team has fourteen players, and you get to know your team-mates well, that’s the most social aspect.
TS: How successful have you been at getting new members in this year?
BS: We have a lot of new people this year, between ten and fifteen new people. A lot of people turned up at the Sports Fayre [in Freshers’ Week], and a lot of our new players are rugby [union] players who were badly injured and can’t take up rugby again in case they injure themselves again. We also have so many people who have never played before and are just curious and end up really liking it.
TS: What is the club looking ahead to this year?
BS: What we really want to do this year, as we now have the base of a team, is starting to go to more competitions. Last year we went to a beginners’ competition, and we’d organised one in St Andrews but it snowed! We organised another one but it also had to be cancelled because of the weather. So this year we want to organise more with teams in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, there’s some teams in Newcastle [too]. There’s lots of teams in the south, but that’s the next step. Our transport fund, we’re not sure yet how far we can get with it.
TS: Finally, what have you made of the Rugby World Cup?
BS: I haven’t seen that many games, but my brother’s a rugby player and gives me updates on it all the time. I’m French, so I’m kind of happy that France went through [into the final], but they have absolutely no chance on Sunday. Before the start I was supporting Argentina, as the underdogs, and New Zealand, because I think they deserve a win, being at home. There’s no way France is going to win! It was a shame what happened in the France-Wales game, but such is life… nah, New Zealand all the way!