Success for Navy Rugby Player

Leading her team out as team captain in France 2018
In action against the Marine Nationale
Sam leading a Royal Navy attack

A stalwart of the Royal Navy Rugby Union Women’s team, Petty Officer Sam Alderson has been rewarded for her 10-year commitment to Royal Navy Rugby through the award of Royal Navy Sportswoman of the Year 2018.  

Sam Alderson joined the Royal Navy in 2008.  Being a keen sportswoman, she attended a rugby grass roots session while under training at HMS Collingwood and has been hooked on rugby ever since.   

She first represented the Royal Navy in the then newly formed Women’s Rugby League team, playing in the first game and first Inter-Service competition in 2008. Her talents shone early and she was selected for the Royal Navy Rugby Union Women’s’ 1st XV too.  Sam has played every Royal Navy Rugby League and Union match that her professional commitments (and injuries!) have allowed since 2008. Her commitment to Royal Navy Rugby has been unwavering. Her impressive performances in both codes quickly drew the attention of the UK Armed Forces selectors and she has been selected for the UK Armed Forces League every year since 2008, with only operational commitments preventing her clocking up 10 years of caps. Her skills, motivation and leadership ability on and off the pitch have grown and she has captained UK Armed Forces Rugby League for 3 seasons, achieving notable performances in the Great Britain Top 4 competition versus England Students, Teachers and Lionesses.

Alongside her prolific Rugby League career, she has gone from strength to strength within Rugby Union. The fullback of choice for the Royal Navy Women her name is usually the first on the team sheet. She has represented UK Armed Forces on 3 occasions, being the starting fullback on each occasion. She captained the Royal Navy Rugby Union Women’s team throughout 2018 and was instrumental in a step change of professionalism within the team. Sam’s personal performances were outstanding, notably away against a strong Marine Nationale (French Navy) side which boasted 4 full international players, she also scored the RN Women’s only points against a premiership studded RAF side.   

Sam’s commitment to Royal Navy Rugby extends beyond playing.  She is the regional development officer for the South West region and is responsible for organising and supporting new players to Navy Rugby.    

Off the pitch, Sam’s leadership skills have been recognised by the Royal Navy with a prestigious instructional role at HMS Raleigh, the Royal Navy’s new entry training establishment in Torpoint.

Article written by John Brennan
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton and Keith Woodland