Navy Rugby Appoint Assistant Directors of Rugby for Women and U23s

The Royal Navy Rugby Union is pleased to announce the appointment of Lt Cdr Lynne Martin as the Assistant Director of Rugby (Women) and Lt Cdr Rob O’Kane as Assistant Director of Rugby (U23)

Lynne Martin
Lynne first played rugby for George Watson’s College in 1998 whilst at University in Edinburgh. Normally found on the wing or in the centres and with a very capable team around her, she found herself climbing through the Scottish Leagues and playing in the Scottish Cup Final in 2000, prior to embarking on a career in the Royal Navy.  Keen to promote rugby as a sport for all women, she was the driver behind women’s rugby training and touch rugby sessions during her time at Dartmouth, which culminated in a fantastic inter-squadron women’s touch rugby match prior to Passing Out and some of those players continued to play rugby for many years after.

Keen to improve her own game, Lynne continued training at various civilian clubs, including at Gosport and Fareham Rugby Club, which then lead to her earning her Colours with the RN(W) Rugby Team.  Now with 2 mini rugby players at home, and a serving husband (David, a member of the RNRU Comms Team) who coaches their boys as part of the youth section at Gosport and Fareham Rugby Club, Lynne was keen to re-join the RN Rugby family.  

Lynne sees her appointment as ADoR(W) as a real opportunity to promote an inclusive sporting environment that will attract females from all corners of the RN.  She wants to encourage all serving females, whether they have ever touched a rugby ball or not, to get in touch to find out how they can get involved and will work closely with the Team to ensure that its success continues to grow in a safe and supportive coaching environment.  Lynne hopes to see the squad numbers grow and even more silverware in the cabinet as a result. 

Rob O'Kane
Originally from Wigan, Rob was brought up on the 13-a side game before joining the once-famous Orrell Rugby Union side as a 13 year old. Nurtured by the experienced coaches, he went on to represent club and county before embarking on his chosen career as an Observer in the Fleet Air Arm.

Capped in 2000 as a 23 year old, Rob knows only too well how critical the U23 team is to the output of rugby within the Royal Navy. “The majority of rugby players joining the Royal Navy have played junior rugby at their local club and few have made the transition to a level commensurate to the Inter-Service games prior to joining the Service” says Rob. “It is a huge leap to make, not just in terms of the physicality but also the tactical, game management and mindset”.  Rob is looking to develop these areas in the U23 players with the ultimate aim of ensuring they are playing Senior level representative rugby in the future. 

The U23 season is limited to a handful of games in the autumn which culminates in the U23 Inter-Service games in November. Having beaten the RAF, the young Navy side were beaten by the Army in 2014 and Rob is extremely keen that this is reversed during his tenure. “The focus is quite rightly on the autumn games yet the players development needs to continue throughout the season. The coaching team and I will work with the players with a view to their long-term development – ultimately we need the majority of the U23 players to win caps at Senior level .