England touch stars educated in Tauranga

By Peter White

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IN FORM: England touch stars Bronte, left, and Josh Angell grew up in Tauranga. PHOTO/SUPPLIED 010716sp18BOP
IN FORM: England touch stars Bronte, left, and Josh Angell grew up in Tauranga. PHOTO/SUPPLIED 010716sp18BOP

Talented siblings Josh and Bronte Angell represented England in the latest round of the European touch championship held last week in Jersey.

The Men's Open division was won by England with Josh named tournament MVP while Bronte was in the Mixed Open side that finished runners-up to Scotland.

England is the dominant force in both men's and women's touch in Europe with the Angell siblings having first learnt the game while growing up in Tauranga.

Josh, 31, was first selected for England last year and played at the Touch Rugby World Cup.

He said growing up in Tauranga meant there was plenty of sports to partake in.

"Tauranga Boys' College helped me hone my rugby and touch skills, where the likes of Joseph Schmidt (Ireland rugby coach) were on hand to give their expertise.

"Being a teacher in London I've witnessed first-hand that generally children here don't have the same basic ball skills as Kiwi kids and that definitely has trickled through to the older ranks.

"A few mates and I put a Kiwi touch team into the super league in London and ended up winning the comp.

"From there a couple of us got picked for the South Eastern England touch team and then I was lucky enough to make the England touch team.

"There are a few Kiwis in the team. As a bonus my sister, who is also a product of Tauranga, is playing for the England mixed open team."

Bronte, 24, has fond memories of her time attending Tauranga Girls' College and particularly playing touch.

"I played touch at Tauranga Girls' as a casual summer sport which turned out to be fairly competitive, with our team placing at nationals on a few occasions," she said.

"When I moved to London I played touch to keep fit and meet new people.

"Unfortunately there was an injury in the South West regional team and they asked me to play.

"Next thing I was selected in a national team.

"It's great to follow in my brother's footsteps and be part of the national team."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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