New Director of Navy Rugby hopes to continue (Read) winning ways

Captain Roger Readwin is the new Director of Rugby for the Royal Navy Rugby Union.

As we enter the 2016/17 Rugby season the Royal Navy Rugby Union has a new man at the helm who is looking to build upon the success of the 2016 season; Captain Roger Readwin Royal Navy is the new Director of Rugby (DoR).

Based in Portsmouth as Captain Mine Warfare and Patrol Vessels, Diving and Fishery Protection he found time in his busy schedule to meet with David Martin.

DM – So Roger, thank you for taking the time to talk to me, I want to begin by asking how it feels to be the Director of Rugby for the RNRU?

RW – First of all, I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of my predecessor, Mark Deller.  Mark’s hard work and energy has left a strong legacy, and of course, a Senior XV and U23 side who are both the 2016 Inter-Service Champions.

Personally, it is an absolute honour to be selected as the Director of Navy Rugby.  Having been a part of the Navy Rugby family since joining the Naval Service in 1991, through the U23s and into the Senior XV, to be selected for this opportunity and to give back to an organisation which gave me so much as a Young Officer is a real privilege.

DM – You mentioned being part of the Navy Rugby family since you joined, what has been your journey within the RNRU?

RW – I have been part of it since I joined the Navy in 1991.  I played a lot of rugby at school, for WASPS and then for BRNC when I was undertaking naval officer training and rugby in numerous Ships.  For me though the highlight was being awarded my first Navy Cap in 1996 – a very proud moment indeed.  Thereafter every time I pulled on the RN shirt, gaining a further 6 representative caps and playing in numerous games on the road to the Inter Service Championships, it was the players, our shipmates, who made my journey with the RNRU the incredible experience it was and continues to be!

DM – You have already appointed a “new” Assistant Director of Rugby to the Senior XV in Scott Ashley which is something new, that role was normally fulfilled by the DoR.  So what do you see as your role as DoR within the Union?

RW – I see my role as DoR to act as the ‘strategic’ glue for all pillars of Navy Rugby, namely the Senior XV, Women, Mariners (Veterans), U23s and the Sharks (7s).  In doing so, working closely with my Assistants (Scott Ashley (Senior XV & Sharks), Lynne Martin (Women), John Holroyd (Mariners), Rob O’Kane (U23s) within these respective pillars, will be key to our future success.  To ensure we grow our players of tomorrow, there has to be a close link with Navy Community Rugby and as such, I will be taking a close interest in the community rugby matches in the opening months of the season and looking to identify players to pull through into representative teams.

DM – With that in mind what are your aims for the 2016/17 season?

RW – Each pillar of Navy Rugby will have its unique aims and objectives for the forthcoming season.  As DoR, my aim for the 2016/17 season is to facilitate the most competitive teams on the park from each pillar of Navy Rugby.  In doing so, we need to continue to look beyond the next season to ensure we grow the ADoRs, coaches, players and support teams of tomorrow.

DM – So, looking ahead, what is your vision for your tenure as DoR?

RW – My vision underpins the RNRU’s vision, ‘To be fun, relevant, successful and sustainable, inspiring players, coaches, officials, volunteers and spectators to enjoy rugby at all levels from mess deck to international, wherever the RN goes, reflecting all that is best in the Service.  Above all, I intend to reinforce the RNRU Goals which are:

  • Ignite and sustain curiosity, desire and passion for rugby.
  • Provide a balanced season to ensure the development of players at all levels of participation.
  • Achieve a creditable winning record in the Inter-Services.
  • Provide appropriate structures and opportunity to support and develop coaches, officials and volunteers.
  • Ensure the appropriate off field management and governance structures are in place to allow the club to operate effectively.
  • Ensure coherence with the RFU strategy and maintain our status as a Constituent Body of the RFU.
  • Encourage and support investment in facilities and resources to deliver enjoyable rugby for all.
  • A financial strategy that ensures a regular income stream.
  • A communication strategy that promotes the brand (image and profile) and relevance of the RNRU to multiple target audiences.
  • A strong reputation founded on individuals’ and teams’ core values.

In my opinion, Navy Rugby underpins the heartbeat of the fighting spirit of our Naval Service – it develops team work like no other sport, and has a tangible impact straight back into the fighting ethos of our Royal Navy Warships and Royal Marine Commandos.  We must also create memories for our players, which they will all look back on in the years to come, with pride and honour.

DM – Thank you very much for taking time out to speak with me.  It certainly looks like it is an exciting time to be part of the RNRU and one full of opportunity and we wish you all the best in your inaugural season.

Article by Lt Cdr David Martin RN – RNRU(W) Comms Manager