Touch Southland officials are encouraging players to start their season early this year, with the introduction of a pre-season hitout at Turnbull Thomson Park over the next two weeks.
More than 10 teams enjoyed pre-season games on Thursday night and Touch Southland manager Warren Bryant is encouraging players of all abilities to join them in the coming weeks.
Fine weather and a desire to see teams enter the regular competition earlier prompted Touch Southland to set up early this season, and offer pre-season games in a move they hope will appeal to both new and experienced players.
"It's a good chance for teams to get together and have a run around before the season kicks off properly, but it's also a chance for any new players or teams thinking about entering to come and have a go and a bit of fun," Bryant said.
"We're looking forward to another good season and this has been a positive way to get it started."
Secondary school competitions have started, but adult social modules in Invercargill, Gore and Queenstown don't start until late October, along with primary school competitions.
More than 1200 adult players take part in Touch Southland's modules across the region in a mixture of grades including business house, men's, women's and mixed.
In the primary school grades 110 teams are set to feature in the Invercargill competition, 40 in Gore, 50 in Queenstown, 50 in Winton and 20 in Otautau.
Whilst the social element of competition was a key factor, Touch Southland has been buoyed by the success of several of its representative team this year.
Southland sent an open mixed team to the nationals for the first time in 10 years, with the team placing a credible third, whilst the mixed U15 and U17 teams also placed third in the national juniors.
Bryant said he would like to see more teams in the women's grade in the Invercargill competition this year.
"There is a good number of females playing touch, but we could always do with more," he said.
Anyone interested in Touch Southland's pre-season hitout - played at Turnbull Thompson Park on Thursday nights at 6pm - should contact Touch Southland directly or see www.touchsouthland.co.nz.
- The Southland Times