Fast and Furious Women’s 7s match

Has Oli thrown the ball straight?
Oli Critchley gets to grips with Sarah Jenkinson
RNRU Women Team Captain Charlotte Fredrickson shows how it is done

As a curtain raiser to the final of Inverdale Challenge, players from the Eastern and Western Women’s Development Programme played a fast and furious 7s game. This game demonstrated the talent and skills of players, many of whom only started playing rugby in October 2017.

With Women’s Rugby one of the fastest growing sports in the country, the Royal Navy Rugby Union has introduced a weekly grassroots Women’s’ Rugby coaching programme for the 2017/2018 season. The programme has been designed for absolute beginners, returning players and regular players alike.

To celebrate the success of the programme, which has already seen new players selected to represent the Royal Navy, a combined Eastern and Western region training session took place at HMS Temeraire. This culminated in a fast and furious 7s match prior to the final of the Inverdale Challenge.

Team A quickly took the lead and despite a determined defence from Team B, tries by Drew Powell, Oli Critchley and Sam Barnard led to an early lead of 29-0 after the first 7 minutes of play. Team B again mounted a resolute defence during the second 7 minutes of play, however, a fantastic run from Emily Buchannon from the half way line increased the dominance of Team A. This was quickly followed by a second try from Emily, however, in the final moments of the quarter, Rachel Cavagher brought some hope for team B with an excellent try.

The third and fourth quarters of play saw Team A, re-establish their dominance and despite some valiant defending by Team B, Team A secured a well-deserved victory. The game demonstrated the talent and skills of the Development sides, as well as showcasing Women's Rugby as a friendly and all-inclusive sport.

The weekly sessions take place at regional hubs - in Plymouth, Yeovilton and the Portsmouth area, with the same sessions being delivered in each venue in order to ensure that those travelling between bases or attending courses can attend the full programme wherever they are.  See the RNRU website for further details.

Royal Navy Rugby Union Women's XV players have volunteered to be the regional player/managers to co-ordinate local players and be the point of contact for any questions or queries.  If you are in the West Country then Sam Alderson is your lead (, near Yeovilton then contact Emily Park ( and in the Portsmouth area Lauren Salisbury is the person to speak with (  Come along and join in with the fun ladies.  Take up a new sport and come along and make new friends.  All are welcome.

Team A – Oli Critchley, Nic Elvidge, Drew Powell, Abi Ashby, Charlie Fredrickson, Emily Buchannon, Steph Coles, Laura Blagden, Sam Barnard.

Team B – Holly Till, Sarah Jenkinson, Billi Staite, Abi Sandack, Emma Swinton, Allanah Pope, Hannah Cole, Kiera  Gavan, Rachel Cavagher

Words by John Brennan
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton