RN Senior XV Training Camp Week 1Early morning runs to Stokes Bay beach, breaking the ice before completing the assault course at the Royal Navy Leadership Academy (RNLA), jumping off a 60ft high platform and conducting a damage control exercise in the Damage Repair Instructional Unit (DRIU) at HMS Excellent, not the sort of training the Royal Navy Senior XV training squad were expecting as they start their preparations for this year's Inter Services Championship.
‘With a large number of new faces this year, I wanted a mixture of team building activities as well as fitness testing, gym work and on pitch sessions' said new Royal Navy Rugby Union Director of Rugby (DoR) Lieutenant Commander (Andy) Kellett Royal Navy.
The team have been supported really well by all the establishments in the Portsmouth area, but in particular the staff at the RNLA and the DRIU, who gave their time to help the squad in the first week.
A day with the RNLA saw the squad take on ‘the high wire course', a challenge for most, but in particular for the players who do not get on with heights. The low wire exercises were superb for communication skills and team building.
All this was finished off with a competitive run, between 2 teams, on the assault course. After breaking the ice on all the water obstacles, Petty Officer Physical Training Instructor (Les) Dennis encouraged (as only a PTI could) the teams around the course with only 3 seconds between the teams in the end showed evidence of the competitive nature of the squad.
Visiting HMS Excellent saw the squad take on the DRIU, again in challenging water temperatures the squad were placed in replica compartments of a sinking ship and had to work as a team to stem the incoming water whilst the DRIU pitched and rolled. The squad received plaudits from the trainers on there ability to work as a team in extreme circumstances.
These days were interspersed with 6 am beach runs, sessions on the rugby pitches, in the gym and work on individual skills.
This packed, but targeted programme was aimed at bringing together the new squad through team work and team building exercises in extreme conditions. This training will be valuable in building a competitive squad for the season ahead.
The detailed rugby training will start in earnest this week as they prepare for the first game of the season, on 15 Feb, against a strong Oxford University team. This will give the DoR and coaches their first look at a number of new players in a Senior XV shirt.