17 December 2023

From the Field to Festivities, Tackling the Holidays

Written by Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse CBE - Chair, Royal Navy Rugby Union

Merry Christmas and Happy 2024 from all at Navy Rugby!

As we approach Christmas and the New Year, the RNRU reflects on a whirlwind of achievements leading up to this festive season. The U23s got the better of the Army in a closely fought and well attended fixture at Burnaby Road in November. The delayed match against the RAF was played at Basingstoke at the beginning of December, with the Navy putting on a thrilling display but with the RAF side eventually victorious. This means the Army were the U23 champions on points difference. Several of the squad shone and will no doubt have piqued the interest of the Senior Men's TSG.

Across the field our players have excelled, earning Premiership spots, as well as places in national teams for Sevens (GB 7s) and XVs (Fiji), with Navy Players also making up a third of the UKAF men’s squad who took on Poland in Gdynia. The Navy contributed a further 6 women players who took the field against Bristol Bears. Four players even turned out for the Classic Lions in Bermuda!

Highlights occurred across the country as Ships, Establishments, and Commands engaged in sporting encounters. Congratulations to HMS Collingwood for winning the double; the training establishment won both Navy Cups in XVs and VIIs. BZ to the Royal Marines who secured the Inverdale Challenge Trophy during a rain-soaked fixture against the Fleet Air Arm at RNAS Yeovilton. The recent Navy Sports Awards celebrated outstanding members of Navy Sport for their remarkable contributions. Our very own Dave Pascoe, Senior Men's coach, was nominated on the back of a season where the team won all but one of their warm-up matches and beat the Army at Twickenham to win the 2023 Inter Services!

The countdown to the 2024 Inter Service Championship starts now! One of rugby union’s most historic competitions has been confirmed for 2024, with the dates, venues and ticket prices confirmed: 

Saturday, April 20th – Royal Navy v Royal Air Force, Brickfields Stadium, Plymouth
Saturday, May 4th – British Army v Royal Navy, Twickenham Stadium
For more information visit: www.armyvnavymatch.org.uk

As we embrace the holiday spirit, I'd like to extend warm wishes and heartfelt gratitude to our rugby family. This includes our staff, dedicated volunteers, coaching and management teams, referees, the steadfast Committee, Vice-Presidents, Trustees, sponsors, kit providers, and our unwavering supporters. Your enduring support through challenging times has been invaluable. I will also take this opportunity to announce that Vice Admiral Andrew Burns has agreed to take on the role of President of the RNRU. Taking over from Admiral Ben Key, he is keen to work with all involved to build on the successes of last season and widen the appeal of our great sport.

Above all, my immense thanks to our players for proudly representing the Royal Navy. Your role in this esteemed Union, steeped in history, is truly appreciated.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I wish everyone a joyful Christmas and a rejuvenating break. As a New Year's resolution consider putting your boots back on; take up the whistle or volunteer to help promote and put out Navy Rugby sides week after week!

Warm regards,
Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse CBE
Chair, Royal Navy Rugby Union