RNRU introduces new Chairman, Commander Andy Kellett

Commander Andy Kellett MBE RN

The Royal Navy Rugby Union is delighted to introduce their new Chairman.  Commander Andy Kellett MBE RN took over the mantle from Brigadier Ewen Murchison DSO MBE at the recent Executive Committee meeting on 17 July 2018.

Having previously spent 3 years as the Director of Rugby from 2011 to 2014, Andy can trace a long association with Navy Rugby both on and off the pitch running back to his very first game for the RN Colts as a 17 year old, playing centre at Blackheath on 22 Jan 1984. Andy remembers a number of highlights from his playing career such as his first game for the Senior XV (which was his first ever Senior rugby match) against Oxford University on 5 Feb 1985, his first cap against the Army in 1986 (his opposite number that day was a certain Will Carling), playing in every match in the undefeated season 86/87 as well as his first match for Combined Services in 1987 and tours to New Zealand, Kenya and Australia.

During his career with the Royal Navy starting back in the early eighties, Andy has managed to play and coach rugby interspersed with time away on operational deployments. Andy had 2 ‘stints’ as part of the Senior XV coaching team between 1999-2003 and 2007-2010 before his role as Director of Rugby, and the teams enjoyed a number of successes such as two Inter Service championships, the only away win against the Marine Nationale and several Commonwealth Navies Cup wins.

Of his former roles Andy said:
"It has been a privilege to play, coach and to have been Director of Navy Rugby and to have had the opportunity to ensure we maintained and enhanced our proud heritage by creating and delivering an exciting future.  I have always been proud to have been involved with Navy Rugby during this period of our history, and now look forward to leading the RNRU as Chairman.”

It is his pride in Navy Rugby which distinguishes Andy’s commitment to the RNRU teams, their supporters, and the wider RNRU community. Andy says what inspires him about being involved in Navy Rugby is the absolutely fantastic people that have been and are still involved; from players, Training Support Groups, Executive Committee to Life Members.

Andy is more aware than many just how much his immediate predecessor, Brigadier Ewen Murchison DSO MBE, has contributed to Navy Rugby. Andy said:
“As Chairman, Brigadier Ewen has led in the same way that he played the game; a ground taking back row who has a winning mentality and is not afraid to do the hard unseen work required for the sake of the team.  The transformation of the Royal Navy Rugby Union to an incorporated charity with a Board of Trustees has set Navy Rugby on a firm footing for a generation to come’. Andy went on to say: “I realise the responsibility and honour that it is to be taking over as Chairman and to follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before me. Therefore, I am, and will always be, enormously proud of being selected as Chairman and look forward to meeting as many of the wider rugby family as possible in the coming months’.

Andy is keen to stress that during his tenure as Chairman he wants to see certain priorities achieved which are to ensure the stability and growth of grassroots rugby, particularly ships' rugby, as well as the financial growth that supports rugby ambitions at every level.

Looking ahead to the next challenge and taking over as Chairman, Andy is adamant that bright times lie ahead for Navy Rugby. ‘The opportunities for rugby and rugby players have never been as good as they are now. As an amateur sport we rely on the goodwill of some fantastic people and I see my role as bringing all these people together to make Navy Rugby as good as it can be’.

Words: Jon Wheale
Image: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Keith Woodland