Paula makes a welcome return to the Royal Navy Rugby Union

It is with great pleasure that the Royal Navy Rugby Union announces the appointment of Lieutenant Commander Paula Bennett-Smith as the new Assistant Director of Women's Rugby.  Paula joins Captain Roger Readwin (Director of Rugby) and his team with primary responsibility for the direction and oversight of the Women's Representative Team.  She joins at an exciting time for Women's Rugby as a new Women's Development side is launched which will compete in the monthly Army Women's Rugby league competition.

A stalwart of Women's Rugby in the Royal Navy, Paula played from 1999 until 2014 and has since gone on to qualify as a Level 2 coach.  During her playing career she was capped for the Royal Navy several times, captained the team in 2005, 2007 and 2008, represented her county, Devon, and was the Captain of the then Combined Services team (now known as the United Kingdom Armed Forces squad).  In 2014 Paula was awarded the prestigious title of Royal Navy Sportswoman of the Year.  With her impressive record of achievement she is an outstanding role model and she is looking to inspire a new generation of Royal Navy Women to participate in the excellent sport of Rugby.

A communications and information systems specialist, Paula is based at the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood.  Recently returned from deployed duty at sea with NATO, she is determined to increase the numbers of Women playing rugby in the Royal Navy and help the team achieve their full potential.

On being told of her selection as the Assistant Director of Rugby for the Women Paula said "I am delighted to be given the opportunity to help develop Women's Rugby in the Royal Navy.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing rugby and believe it is an excellent way to help build camaraderie and team spirit within the Service.  It improves personal fitness and resilience and is brilliant fun too.  I am really looking forward to the start of the season!"

Congratulations Paula and welcome back to the team.  

Image © Crown Copyright 2017 Mark Rawlings