Christmas message from the Chairman
None of us will ever forget 2020 and most will be very glad it is nearly over. I am acutely aware that CV19 has had devastating effects on many people and their families that far out way any effects on sport and rugby. With what has become a tradition, I wanted my pre-Christmas message to just summaries where we are and take a positive look forward to the coming months from an RNRU perspective.
March seems an awful long time ago and the Representative season was moving through the gears. The U23s had successfully retained the IS championship (4th championship in 5 years), we had had a successful Inverdale Trophy competition and we were heading towards another Inter Service campaign before it all came to halt and we have not made a tackle in anger since! The focus in the summer was financial damage limitation, like many organisations, and it was no different for the RNRU. With huge thanks to loyal sponsors, patrons, the Sports Lottery and Naval Service Sports Charity we have managed to steady the ship post the massive loss of the Army Navy match at Twickenham. However, it has come at a heavy cost, we have had to make redundancies and Furlough staff to ensure we could be ready to ‘start again’ when we got the green light from the Government and RFU.
That green light has just been switched on by the RFU and rugby can now start again in earnest, albeit with some adapted laws. The community rugby team of Ade Cherrington and Beasty Williams have plans in place for various activities in the New Year including: grass roots events with HMS Duncan and Kent, a Navy Cup competition in Feb/March with a final’s day at the end of March and Navy 7s and Beach competitions in the summer. Director of Rugby, Rob O’Kane, and his Team Support Groups are planning on success and confirming representative fixtures required to build up to an Inter Service competition in April/May and we expect a full Representative 7s season in the summer. There are many potential hurdles to navigate; CV19 is still and will remain with us for months to come, the ‘Tier’ system will challenge our ability to travel, train and play with squads from many geographical locations and not everything we plan will happen, but it is great to be able to do something positive in rugby terms.
The biggest casualty of the continuing situation is that, should the IS21 competition happen, and we are planning on success, the Army Navy match will not be held at Twickenham. This decision was not taken lightly, but the potential cost of the event, the likelihood of limited attendance and inability to insure against late cancellation meant, regrettably, we and the Army made the decision to not hold the match at Twickenham. As we move forward, we will update the website and social media with the planned fixtures so please keep an eye out for these and where possible and safe to do so I hope to see some of you there.
Finally, on behalf of all the Trustees and Executive Committee of the RNRU, can I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas. Stay safe, look after family and friends and lets all look forward to training, playing and watching some rugby in 2021.
Captain Andy Kellett MBE Royal Navy
Chairman - Royal Navy Rugby Union