RNRU appoint new Head Coach for the Senior XV – Dave Pascoe
Pascoe has played rugby for the Royal Navy since 2000, and has been the mainstay of the side ever since. Always the first name on the team list as a player and a captain, he has been fortunate to lift the Babcock Inter-Service Cup on two occasions. The end of the 2015/16 season should have marked the end of an era for the man from Cornwall as he was expected to bow out of the playing side of the sport to take up the new challenge of coaching. Most of that came to pass until he was required to pull on his boots again when a sequence of unfortunate events led to a dearth of scrum halves, so Paco found himself on the bench and finally back on the pitch against Hampshire RFU and he also played in the Army v Navy match at Twickenham at the end of April.
Under Pascoe’s captainship, the RN Senior XV became a side capable of competing for and delivering success. Since the 36-year-old was handed the captaincy at the age of 25 in 2006, Pascoe led the RN to 12 wins, including the aforementioned Inter-Service Cup. His leadership earned him the respect of a strong squad of players, setting an impressive example to the Navy players such as Edd Pascoe (no relation) and Tom Blackburn – now both worthy recipients of RN Senior XV honours themselves.
Whether it was lifting the Commonwealth Cup on three occasions, playing for the Baa-Baas, running out with some of the best in world rugby for two Help for Heroes matches or captaining the Combined Services, Pascoe’s cold steel determination has proved vital in all the big games. But perhaps his finest individual sporting moment was with his family proudly watching as he was awarded the Royal Navy and Combined Service Sportsman of the year in 2013 – the first time a RN rugby player has won the award since the 1970s.
Rugby has been in Pascoe’s blood since joining Penryn RFC as a youngster, and it was only natural that when the best of his playing days were over he would graduate to the Training Support Group. When hindered by injury in his final playing season, his encouragement from the side lines and the coaching he provided during the warm weather training camp in Malta highlighted an ability to get the best out of people.
Edd Pascoe, RNRU forward and former team mate said, “I can’t put a finger on it; he just has presence. Other people can speak; he has a talent to make people listen.”
Dave Pascoe has been a loyal figure for Royal Navy rugby since making his debut in 2000 playing both half back positions. Within the sport, there is equal respect and appreciation for the RN playmaker from senior officers and team mates alike.
Captain Roger Readwin, RNRU Director of Rugby says, “In any sports team, but particularly in a rugby team, everybody’s contribution is vital, but it takes a particular character to carry the weight of the team’s expectation on your shoulders alone; for many of his 15 years as a Navy XV regular, Dave Pascoe has been that man, commanding the respect of his teammates and opponents with his total commitment to the game. The RNRU Senior XV is in a great pair of hands and I look forward to watching Paco develop his talented squad.”
Pascoe will be keen to bring his encyclopaedia of rugby knowledge to bear; he has everything to inspire the youngsters coming into the ranks and the skill to continue to develop the more veteran campaigners, and what better way to honour such a stalwart of the RNRU than by giving him the final say:
“I am delighted to have been selected to take on the challenge and responsibility as the Head Coach for the RNRU Senior XV. Having been involved with Navy Rugby for the past 18 seasons, I’ve had the privilege to play under and work alongside some great Rugby minds. Now it’s my turn to take the knowledge I’ve gathered over those years and give back to Navy Rugby. It’s an exciting time with a tight playing group and the bloodline is strong with the U23s having a standout season, retaining the Inter Services for the third year in a row. I relish this challenge and seek to do the role justice.”
Words by Jamie Campbell-Baldwin
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton and Keith Woodland