All Black and (Navy) Blue
When Navy Women’s fullback, LPT Lou Clark, was looking to improve her kicking skills she didn’t expect that Navy Rugby would team her up with former All Black test star, Andrew Mehrtens. It was quite fortuitous for Lou that when she first asked CPOPT Mick Cowie for advice on how to develop her kicking game the Navy Rugby Development Officer was in the middle of arranging a leadership camp for the Harlequins squad at HMS Collingwood. Dean Richards, Harlequins Director of Rugby and not someone noted for his tactical kicking, was delighted to help out and suggested Mehrtens. Mehrtens is currently in his second season with the Harlequins but prior to that was capped 70 times for New Zealand, playing in two World Cups. He also won 5 Super 12 titles with Crusaders and set a number of points scoring records. He is still the record points scorer for the All Blacks. Prior to a one hour kicking and skills clinic Lou, herself a qualified rugby coach, attended the Harlequins training ground where she sat in on the backs strategy meeting as they prepared for the weekend’s fixture away to Gloucester. She then observed the team’s training session before Mehrt’s took her through the skills and techniques of his kicking game. When asked about the day Lou remarked “I must thank everyone at the Quins who made me feel most welcome and especially Andrew Mehrtens who stayed behind to pass on some kicking skills. It still hasn’t fully hit home that I was being coached by one of the great rugby players of all time. I just hope that I can utilise his advice when we play the RAF and the Army in the Inter Services and also pass on some of his tips to other girls in the squad.” Commenting on the opportunity RN(W) Head Coach, Capt Steve Melbourne said “Lou is one of the leaders in the team. She is excellent at organising the defence and has a strong running game. With what she has learnt from her day at Harlequins I am looking forward to her adding a new kicking dimension to her game which will give us better options in both attack and defence.” The RN(W) start their Inter Service Campaign at 1200, Wednesday 11 April, Newbury Rugby Club against the RAF(W). The match against the Army is at Kneller Hall, Saturday 5 May, kick off 10:30. Your support would be much appreciated.