Topic: Rereātea - Midday News

Youth Touch World Cup kicks off today

By Regan Paranihi

The world’s biggest youth touch tournament is set to kick off today at the Royal Equestrian Park in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The New Zealand squad came away with silver at the last world cup, tied with Australia. But this year they hope to lift the standards and secure the top prize.

Federation of International Touch (FIT) President Erick Acker says, “New Zealand has great skills, and I hope they will do well and they will be able to beat Australia who is looking for the big cap. It will be a great challenge. I don’t know who the winner will be at the end of the day, but it might be New Zealand.”

He says this tournament is a great opportunity for countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, China, and Malaysia to develop their touch skills and for many players, could be their first time playing top teams like Australia and New Zealand.

“I think it’s great to see all these teams coming up. Some, of course, are beginners and will have a lot of poor competition. But, it doesn’t matter, it’s a learning curve.”

Acker says this tournament is a good opportunity for a fresh start and believed it will be the catalyst for more countries to get involved.

“We have nearly 50 members, but not everyone has enough players at Youth level. It’s a start. It will be a wonderful event but it will be a greater event in four years because it will encourage all the other countries to develop the grassroots level.”

The tournament starts today, with the opening ceremony at 1 pm NZT. Streaming will be available through the FIT Facebook site.