Navy rugby plays its part for the Rugby World Cup

Rugby World Cup is coming back home to England next year and the Royal Navy Rugby Union (RNRU), under the banner of the ‘Legacy Programme’, is investing in the future of the game within the Service in the build up to this prestigious event.

The tournament will take place from 18 September to 31 October 2015, across 13 locations in England and Wales, and will be broadcasted to a global TV audience of over 4 billion - it is the third largest sporting event in the world.

The RNRU Legacy Programme aims to grow the player and wider rugby community base by attracting new people to the sport.  There are currently 5 main lines of activity: Basing, Festival, Unity, Volunteer and Community.  Commodore Keith Beckett who is leading the RNRU programme feels that:

‘having the Rugby World Cup in the UK next year gives the perfect opportunity to show case the game and inspire more Service men and women to get involved in all aspects of the sport’.


Lines of Activity

‘Basing’ is aimed at attracting international teams to the Portsmouth and Devonport areas as they prepare for the group stages of the tournament and to create opportunities to boost the visibility and enthusiasm for Royal Navy rugby.

A new form of amphibious warfare will come to Weymouth beach in September 2014 with the inaugural RNRU 7s ‘Festival’ of Rugby.  This is due to take place on Wednesday 10 September with a select number of RN and local civilian teams invited to test themselves out on a pitch more akin to the middle-east than the more traditional (sodden) pitches of the UK!

The RFU has launched an initiative called ‘Unity’ to further develop relationships with developing European rugby nations.  This will be achieved through twinning English Counties with 17 countries to exchange ideas and explore opportunities for developing the game.  The RNRU hopes to provide a unique opportunity to facilitate this initiative through supporting Ship, Submarine and Unit visits to Europe over the next 2 years.

The organisers of RWC, England Rugby 2015, is looking for ‘Volunteers’ (similar to the Olympic ‘Games Makers’) to help create an unforgettable team and spectator experience.  Of the 6000 available, 60 spaces have been allocated to the RNRU.  Whilst this does not relate to uniformed presence within the stadium on match day, this is an opportunity to be part of the wider experience along with 1000s of other members of the rugby community.  All Commanding Officers have been invited to nominate members from their unit to take part in this once in a life time opportunity.

The final and, arguably, most important, work strand is ‘Community’. This is very much focussed at those involved in RN rugby today and in the future. Through maximising the opportunities to play the game and develop strong ties within the rugby community, whether in the local area or on the global stage, this final piece draws together the work from all other areas in order to increase the numbers involved in the game, help raise the standards played, and provide our sailors and marines an opportunity to get the best out of this distinctly British game.

If you are interested in supporting the Legacy Programme, please contact Commander Phil Coope