Aircraft Carrier Play the First Women's Rugby match in Cyprus

It was the first match for HMS Queen Elizabeth's Women's Rugby Team and it was the first ever women's match for the Cyprus Rugby Federation.

As the Royal Navy Flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth made her first port visit to Cypress as part of the Carrier Strike Group deployment 2021, the Ship's Women’s rugby team competed in their first ever competitive matches. The best of 3 series against the Cypriot side 'Spartans', held at AEK Katholiki Stadium, would be the first ever official women’s rugby matches held under the Cyprus Rugby Federation banner.

Royal Navy capped player, Rachael Carragher, led out the Aircraft Carrier's fledging side against the Spartans. The first game of the series which utilised tweaked rules to suit the conditions, number of available players and local Covid-19 restrictions saw Spartans cruise to victory, despite the excellent defensive play and a great try by Jenn Menn.

HMS Queen Elizabeth's women were able to overcome the disappointment of the first match and made amends by winning the next game. The experiences gained in the first game resulted in the Ship's team having a more robust defensive system. Susan Badger made an excellent try saving tackle; to prevent the Cypriot team from winning the match but it was Lucy Honeybell's work rate and performance that saw her was chosen as Player of the Match.

With temperatures soaring to 36 degrees it was decided to cut the series short due to the opposition having insufficient subs, leaving it one game a piece.

Team manager Yvonne Mealy said "With a range of players from experienced senior team to the 6 new players who have never played rugby everyone played amazingly. It was a great day for all involved. We wish the Spartans the very best as they continue to grow their squad and we look forward to playing them in the future".

HMS Queen Elizabeth's men were also in action at the AEK Katholiki Stadium where they ran out winners of the men's Touch Rugbby tournament.

HMS Queen Elizabeth Women's Squad: Mealy*, Honeybell*, Sondack*, Carragher*, Tui*, Badger, Menn, Stacey^, Baker^, Quigley^, Connelly^, Petty^, Mathews^

*Capped RN player

^ First game

The history making Women's team alongside their male counterparts pose for a photograph before both teams competed in Cyprus