The Royal Navy Rugby Union held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday 14th September. This year it was decided to move away from the traditional venue of HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth and instead travelled to RNAS Yeovilton.

The AGM was opened by the RNRU Chairman Capt (Chris) Alcock OBE who reported on the sad passing of 2 Life Members: Capt (Rtd) Dermot Crean RN and Cdr (Rtd) Terry Le Manquais. Many in the room knew both of these stalwarts of Navy Rugby.

Chris then reviewed the 2011/12 season, paying particular thanks to all of the unsung supporters of the Union. He went on to say how successful the Army v Navy games had been this year with yet again another record crowd at Twickenham. Chris also reported on the RNRU taking the lead of the Combined Services and how the fixtures will be fashioned during the Royal Navy's tenure.

RNRU Secretary and Treasurer, Cdr (Rtd) (Alan) Church provided the assembled Union members with an understanding of the Union's finances, Alan stated that over the last few years the Union's financial position had improved and was in a healthy state.

Lt (Dusty) Miller RN, Director of Community Rugby (DoCR), was the first of the Directors to report to the Union. Dusty was appointed as the DoCR during the off season and has already been tasked with reviewing the role of the RN Rugby Development Officer (RNRDO), along with the 2 Navy Rugby supported Directors of Rugby (DoR) at Devonport Services and US Portsmouth respectively.  The clubs' DoRs, former Navy players Dave Oakley and Simon Burns then presented to the Union on the present position of the Clubs and their 5 year plans. Mention was made about the annual fixture between Devonport and US Portsmouth on the 10 Nov in Devonport, as a date for all diaries. 

Dusty commended the work of the Navy Referees' Society that is holding a training day on the 25 Sep in RNAS Yeovilton which is open to all coaches within the Union.  He went on to mention the Coach Development area which lost its Coaching Development Officer WO1 (Ian) Smith, who had left the Navy and is now one of the RFU Community Rugby Coaches (RFU CRC).

He also mentioned that only 9 teams have so far signed up for the Navy Cup!

Cdr (Andy) Kellett, Director of Rugby (DoR) talked through the future of the representative teams and how successful the rejuvenation of RN Sharks had been. Andy also thanked the Team Support Groups (TSG) for all the representative teams; this is an unseen bunch of fully committed people who get little reward for their efforts.

Andy briefly talked about the forthcoming Commonwealth Cup 12 and the make-up of the squad.  However, a more detailed update would be provided by Lt (Chris) Roberts RN later in the meeting.

Finally Andy mentioned the start of the RN U23 season under the coaching of Capt (Scott) Ashley RM, starting with training this weekend in Portsmouth. He also emphasised that if there are any U23s out in the Union who wish to be considered then they should contact Scott on e-mail fleet-dnpersnptrmcorpscas@mod.uk

Cdr (JC) Cunningham RN, RFU Council Member and Director of Governance, gave an update on the RFU and its restructuring, which although should have little impact upon the Union, would still merit a watching brief to ensure that the Union's voice is heard. JC asked the assembled Union members to vote on the changes to 2 RNRU By-laws.  He explained the rationale behind the changes, which were then voted in.

Chris Alcock returned to the floor to report on the Union's Marketing area. He reported that as he had now taken up the role of RNRU Chairman, he would now stand down as Director of Marketing. Chris stated that all of the sponsors had renewed their support to the Union and a few more had come alongside.  He reported on the 3 Advertorials completed by Life Member Paula Rowe which had been placed in high level competition magazines/programmes, part of the Classic Sports Series, including F1, British open and the Ryder Cup. 

Director of Communications (DoC) Maj (Steve) Melbourne RM reported on the review and update to the RNRU Website and social media areas. He reported on the success of Facebook and Twitter during the first year of its use.  He went on to request that the Union members provided input in the form of match reports and event updates to ensure that that the Communications area remains progressive. He thanked Devonport Services and US Portsmouth for their Weekend Round-ups, and Lt Cdr (Doc) Cox for the input on the 3 Peaks Challenge. Steve's final point was to ‘advertise' for anyone interested in joining the Communications team to contact him on Mob 07919292825 or rnrucomms@googlemail.com. A Comms team is essential to continue the level of support to the Union and to ensure that future initiatives could be fully embraced.

The next 2 speakers, Col (Ewen) Murchison DSO MBE (Director of Operations) and Cdr (David) George RN (Stakeholder Management) both described their new roles and how they fitted into the Union's vision.


Lt (Chris) Roberts RN reported on the Commonwealth Cup 2012 during which he gave an outline of the competition, noting that the South African Navy would not be attending the competition.

Alan Church then announced the Value the Volunteer awards to Maj (Keith) Stanton RM (40 Cdo RM), WO2 (Stevo) Stevens (CTCRM), Sgt (Elvet) Williams (Cdo Log Regt RM) for their work with Royal Marines Rugby; Capt (Scott) Ashley RM (Fleet) for his support to the RN Senior XV, RN Sharks 7s and RN U23s.  A special award was made to former WO1 (Ian) Smith (RNAS Yeovilton) for his continuous support to Command and Navy Coaching Development.

The President of the Union, Vice Admiral P Jones CB, closed the proceedings with his view of the season to come with the start of the U23s season, the Commonwealth Cup, Inter Commands and Navy Cup competitions, as well as the start of the run up to the 2012/13 Inter Service competitions.  He stated that this was an exciting year for the Union that should see it go from strength to strength both on and off the pitch.