RNRU Affiliate Club are 140 not out! United Services Portsmouth Prepare for Success On and Off the Field

Photo Credit: Keith Woodland

United Services Portsmouth RFC is celebrating its 140th birthday! Whilst the RNRU was lying back and enjoying the sun in Weymouth for the beach rugby festival, United Services Portsmouth RFC was busy doing all those crucial administrative tasks that ensure they’ll be celebrating many more birthdays to come.

President, Mr Jed Stone OBE, wished the club Happy Birthday while also stating that he was looking forward to the 150th party if someone else has taken up the mantle of President by then! He highlighted that for the time being the club will not appoint a Director of Rugby, because Joel Crook (Team Manager) and PO(CIS) Nathan ‘Pony’ Moore (Lead Coach) have dealt so admirably with the additional workload. Amateur rugby committee members have day jobs and are inevitably busy. USPRFC is no different but Captain Bill Olliphant RN (Retired), CEO of the Royal Navy Association still manages to find the time to be elected as Chair while pulling together the Falklands 40 commemorations in Portsmouth.

He said in his Chair’s address that the club suffered, like others, because of the pandemic but praised the team for fulfilling the fixture list. He also stated the importance of the links with the Naval Base and HMS Temeraire which ensure that commitments are met, and the facilities are at their best. RNRU Director of Community Rugby was praised, Lieutenant Commander Jane West receiving the gratitude of the club for engaging with the Naval Base.

Following the RFU divisional structure review which was designed to encourage more people to commit by reducing the distance to travel, USPRFC have been signed up to Hampshire Counties League 2 (Level 8) pitting them against teams such as Tottonians and Fawley.

The League will start on 3rd September and there are fourteen games before Christmas and eight afterwards, with the league ending on 11th March when a five-week period of Cup rugby follows.

The on-field review of the 2021/ 22 season was favourable. It is safe to say that the club achieved beyond their wildest expectations with the 1st XV fulfilling 19 out of the possible 19 league fixtures, finishing second in the league and ensuring promotion. Along the way the club used 48 players, 29 of which handed their first caps; 26 of the 48 being under 26, all of which bodes well for the club’s future.

Youth Chair, Mrs Zoe Farrow, said, “This season was a ‘building’ season after two years of pandemic for the Junior section. We have a thriving set of teams in the u15, u13 and u11 teams, with u12s, u9s and u7/8s needing focus, as the numbers need to be built up. These teams will be the Junior committee’s focus this season. A highlight for the year was the start of the first Girls’ team at United Services Portsmouth with a Girls’ u13 team, which ended with a group of 10 girls looking forward to next season.”

The Junior section are also supporting an initiative with local schools to maintain an after-school rugby club. Players have been coming down for a session after school on a Wednesday throughout last season. US opened it up to several schools to come along, which helped to build interest in the game across the local community.

While numbers are healthy at pre-season training which started on 5th July, the club is keen to appoint an assistant team manager, a kit man, a video analyser, a public address announcer and a coach or two. Whistlers are also required, and Hampshire Referees have a few courses lined up of which should be taken advantage. More details are available on the club website - www.usprfc.co.uk. 

Senior Training takes place 1900 every Thursday at HMS Temeraire (4G pitch).

Mini-Youth (Sun/ Thu):

u7 – u12 0930 – 1100/ 1800 – 1900

u13 – u16 1100 – 1230/ 1800 – 1900