Storm Barra ends Women's Development Squad Season

The Royal Navy Rugby Union Women’s Development Squad final fixture of 2021 against Plymstock Albion Oaks has become a victim of Storm Barra as it blows through the UK this week. The match which was due to be played at Keyham Sports Ground on the 8th of December has been cancelled.

It is of course a disappointment that the weather has brought an abrupt end to the Royal Navy Rugby Union Women’s Development Squad fixtures for 2021 but it has by no means brought about an end to the future of the Development Squad as they have flourished this year.

Whilst the pandemic has had a significant impact on people’s abilities to play sport and for teams to recruit new players, the Women’s Development Squad went from strength to strength in 2021. Recruitment of players, a mixture of those who had never touched a ball and those who had played prior to joining the Royal Navy, was strong and this resulted in the largest attendance of players at  Women’s Development Squad fixtures since the creation of the squad in 2017. 

The fixtures also allowed already capped RN players to return to full contact post pandemic without the added pressure of pulling on a representative shirt. The integration of both development and capped players resulted in three hugely successful wins for the  Women’s Development Squad against Havant RFC, Bath RFC 2XV and Portsmouth Valkyries. This has set a huge (and amazing) challenge for the Women’s Development Squad coaches when it comes to selection for Inter Services 2022.  

“Whilst it’s disappointing to have to cancel the game this week, I am hugely proud of the squad for sticking together through the pandemic providing support to each other through social media. To come out the other side with the same enthusiasm and commitment to rugby, that I saw on the pitch at HMS Excellent against the Army in May 2019, is truly fantastic” said Paula Bennett-Smith, Royal Navy Rugby Union (Women) Assistant Director of Rugby. 

She continued, “I am very much looking forward to the next stage of the season and can’t wait to see the talent that we have already seen in the last few games in a Royal Navy shirt, showing what they can bring to the party, whilst also welcoming back players that have been deployed that we have not yet seen in 2021. 

Looking beyond the festive period Royal Navy Women’s Rugby will shift focus to the Senior Women’s side who will kick off their season in January as they build to their first fixture at Twickenham Stadium.

The RNRU Women’s Development Squad continues to recruit for it’s TSG. To view the roles click here.