New Year Message from the RNRU Chair
The RNRU Chair, Captain Roger Readwin ADC Royal Navy, with his message to the Union for 2022.
First and foremost, to all our Royal Navy Rugby Family, I wish you all a happy and healthy 2022. I would especially like to recognise all those members of our family who remain forward deployed on operations and their loved ones at home at this time; our thoughts, gratitude and prayers are with you all, at what is always a challenging time. Equally, many of our family have been leaning in on the home front, supporting the NHS with the booster programme and providing wider help to civil authorities. Additionally, but importantly, it would be remiss not to recognise our wonderful NHS and key workers, who continue to deliver in what must now feel like an unrelenting COVID environment; thank you to you all.
It was brilliant to see the restart of Navy Rugby last autumn after 18 months of no play due to the pandemic. Once again, it was our community rugby igniting Navy Rugby, with the historic Navy Rugby Cup competition, successfully bringing players, coaches, managers, referees, and supporters all back out enjoying the game. Whilst COVID impacted some establishment’s ability to field teams, the Navy Cup final between HMS HERON & SEAHAWK delivered a super exciting match. Congratulations to HMS SEAHAWK on a much-deserved victory, after a close game between two competitive sides. Navy Rugby Women’s Development XV commenced their return to the game with some of the best rugby I have seen our Women play in their opening games of a season. Despite going into the U23 IS Competition as reigning champions, our U23s could not retain the Crown for a 6th time in 7th consecutive seasons. Whilst the team were disappointed, rugby talent remains in abundance and our U23s are set well for the years ahead.
Looking ahead, the New Year sees our attention shift to the Inverdale Challenge Rugby, which will close out the community rugby competitions. Always a fiercely fought Challenge, I look forward to the final due to take place on 26 Jan at United Services Portsmouth. Thereafter, our focus turns firmly to the 2022 Inter-Services Competition warm up games for our Mariners, Men & Women Senior XVs. We will play against the RAF at Ealing Trail finders on the 9 April 22 and then take on the Army at Twickenham on 30 April. The fixture against the Army at Twickenham, will also see the long awaited and long overdue inaugural match between the Senior Navy XV and Army Women XV on the hallowed turf. All told, it will be an exciting day for the history of the Army v Navy fixture at Twickenham, which remains the largest watched amateur game of Rugby in the world. Of course, this accolade remains only possible with the commitment and passion of all our loyal supporters, for which we, the Royal Navy Rugby family, remain utterly grateful for.
Army v Navy Tickets will go on sale soon which I know there is much anticipation for. The date and timing for the ticket sales has been driven by the ongoing impact of COVID, which has required close co-ordination with the RFU and the Army Rugby Union throughout the autumn. Keep a close eye on all our media channels for the ticket sales announcement and keep everything crossed for a warm sunny day at Twickenham for the return of the Army v Navy fixture.
Once again, Happy New Year and a massive thank you to you all for your loyal support throughout the last few years. Providing COVID does not interfere, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible on the touchline throughout the remainder of the season.
Captain Roger Readwin ADC Royal Navy
Royal Navy Rugby Union Chair