Statement regarding 2021 Inter-Services Championship

The management committees of the Royal Navy, British Army and the Royal Air Force Rugby Unions have today issued a joint statement regarding the 2021 Inter-Services Championship.

After considerable discussion and deliberation, we have made the collective and unanimous decision to cancel the 2021 Competition.

This is the first time that the Inter-Services Championship has been cancelled in advance since the Second World War, and the heavy hearts which accompany such a decision will hopefully be understandable.

The ongoing and fluid nature of the current pandemic and lockdown, combined with our collective commitment to positive management of player welfare and wanting to provide certainty to the many thousands of supporters of all three Unions, meant that there was little alternative to cancelling the Championship and instead we will turn our focus towards making the 2021/22 season a year to remember.

Community rugby within all three Services Unions has not been able to be played this season, a situation brought about by the pandemic and national Covid-19 Tier restrictions and lockdowns. This not only has eliminated any opportunity for players to put themselves forward for selection, but also means that if the squads were to start training now a considerable amount of time would be needed to bring them up to the fitness levels required to play the high standard of competition we want in our showpiece competition.

There are non-sporting considerations we have taken into account as well, not least the anticipated number of personnel from all three Services who are required to support the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination programme, which has to be everyone’s first priority.

In short, the circumstances have conspired to be against us in 2021. But by making the decision now we can instead turn our attention towards putting together an outstanding Inter-Services Championship for our Senior Men and Women, age group and Veterans teams in season 2021/2022.

We thank all our players, coaches, referees, staff and supporters for their understanding, as we do with all our sponsors and commercial partners, who have maintained their backing of Services rugby throughout these uncertain few months.

We wish everyone involved in and associated with Services rugby the very best of health.

Images Army Navy Match / Navy RAF Match © Alligin Photography