New Year - New Faces

It is with great pleasure that the Royal Navy Rugby Union announces the appointment of two new Vice Presidents, Royal Marine Brigadier Dave Kassapian and Captain Ellie Ablett MBE Royal Navy. Brigadier Kassapian, Head of Resources and Plans at Navy Command Headquarters in Portsmouth, is no stranger to Rugby Union - he is already the President of the Royal Marines Rugby Football Club. He joins Major General Tim Bevis CBE as the second currently serving Royal Marine RNRU Vice President.

Captain Ablett is the first female to be appointed as a Royal Navy Rugby Union Vice President. She is based in the West Country, as the Commanding Officer of HMS Raleigh, the New Entry training establishment for all ratings joining the Royal Navy. Overseeing the training of all new joiners, she will be an excellent ambassador for the RNRU, helping to spread the message to the next generation of sailors.

RNRU Vice Presidents take on a wide range of duties in support of Admiral Sir Philip Jones, the RNRU President. In particular these duties include hosting visiting teams and the presentation of trophies and awards at matches. All of our Vice Presidents already have busy full time jobs and in the coming season, when we often have 3 RNRU teams all playing on the same evening in different locations, it is clear to see why we need several Vice Presidents geographically dispersed around the UK (and sometimes overseas) to meet all of the commitments.

Another recent appointment to the Executive Committee is Commander Mark 'Beasty' Williams, who is the new Director of Community Rugby. Beasty has been actively involved in the RNRU, both playing and coaching, since 1992. Representing several establishments, including BRNC Dartmouth, HMS Sultan and Collingwood, he has also played for United Services Portsmouth and stepped out for the RNRU Veterans side - the Mariners. More recently his attention has turned to coaching at HMS Sultan, the Eastern Region team and the HMNB Portsmouth team.

His wealth of playing and coaching experience will be put to good use in his new role as the Director of Community Rugby. With the assistance of the Rugby Development Officer, Ady Cherrington, and the Eastern and Western Community Rugby Coaches, Dave Wakefield and Spider Kelly, he will be responsible for the continued development of rugby at the community level. The community level includes all Ships, Establishments, Air Stations and Naval Bases and our affiliated teams, United Services Portsmouth and Devonport Services Rugby Football Club. It also encompasses the RNRU Presidents' XV, a developmental team selected from the community player base designed to provide additional coaching and training to allow players to improve their rugby skills and hopefully transition to the Senior XV.

The forthcoming fixtures for the RNRU Community Teams are:

Wed 11 Jan Inverdale Challenge RN East v Royal Marines KO 1900 at USSG, Portsmouth
Tue 17 Jan Presidents' XV v Petersfield RFC KO 1930 at Petersfield RFC
Wed 18 Jan Inverdale Challenge RN West v Fleet Air Arm KO 1900 DSRFC, Devonport

A full fixture list including dates, times and locations is available on the fixtures page. Royal Navy Rugby Union is on Facebook Royal Navy Rugby Union and on Twitter @RNRugby

Images Royal Navy Rugby Union/© Keith Woodland and Mark Andrews

Capt Ellie Ablett presents the Navy Cup to HMS Seahawk captain, AET Sam Carter
Cdr 'Beasty' Williams, new Director of Community Rugby