I See No Ships!

Peruvian Sailors travel to Portsmouth for a day out

A port visit to London as part of the Tall Ships Race presented the opportunity for 20 Peruvian sailors to participate in a grass roots rugby training session at HMS Temeraire.

The Royal Navy Rugby Union community team were approached by Mr Rowan Taylor at HMS Temeraire to see if they could assist with a visit by some of the Ship’s Company from the Peruvian Navy BAP Union Tall Ship.  Without a second thought, the RNRU Eastern Region Community Rugby Coach, Dave Wakefield, was happy to take up the challenge and an enjoyable programme was put in place.

The Peruvian ship, the second largest sailing ship in the world, was on a stopover in London after visiting a number of other countries on her voyage and before setting sail to Hamburg.  During their stay in London, 20 sailors were given the opportunity to visit Portsmouth for the day and a full programme was organised which included a tour of HMS Collingwood’s Maritime Warfare School and HMS Victory.  The grass roots rugby session gave them the chance to stretch their legs and take part in a sporting activity for an hour or so.

The sailors arrived at HMS Temeraire full of enthusiasm and were really looking forward to taking part in the afternoon’s session, which had been designed to give them all a brief insight into the ‘Core Skills’ of rugby, with a fun element added.  Surprisingly, a good number of them had played rugby before and their core skills were very good.

The session was organised and run by Dave Wakefield and he was assisted by CPO John Manners, who until recently, was the Head Coach at HMS Sultan.  Running, passing, tackling, rucking and small -sided games were all in the programme and it concluded with them taking part in a ‘Touch Rugby’ game.

At the end of the afternoon’s sporting activities the sailors were really thankful for the opportunity that had been given to them, so much so, it was hard to get them to stop playing, however, they kindly made a presentation of a ‘Commemorative Medal’ and in response, they were presented with a rugby ball (at their own request) to use during their onward travels.

As always in sport, the language barrier was easily overcome and did not prove to be a problem, with the overall result of a fun afternoon of rugby being achieved.

Words by Dave Wakefield
Images RNRU © Dave Wakefield