Royal Navy Rugby Union Inverdale Challenge kicks off
The annual inter-region and Command rugby competition kicks off on Wednesday with four of the five teams in action. The Inverdale Challenge allows the five regional and Command sides to compete against each other over the next twelve weeks, culminating with the final to be played at United Services Sports Ground in Portsmouth on 30 January 2019.
The five teams represent the Royal Marines, the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy East, Royal Navy West and Royal Navy North. The Fleet Air Arm are the current champions and have won the competition 8 times in its 22 year history. They will be keen to retain the title this year so they draw level with the Royal Marines who have won 9 times previously. However after their recent success at the RNRU 10s competition and in last season's Navy Cup, the Rugby players from north of the border might be the team to watch. The main aim of the competition is to provide a competition at the regional level which exposes players to a higher standard of rugby than Unit, Ship of Establishment level. It also allows Representative Team Managers to see players from across the Royal Navy and Royal Marines who may merit selection for the representative teams in action. The first teams to face each other are the Royal Marines who host Royal Navy North at Commando Training Centre Royal Marines, Lympstone and Royal Navy East travel to HMS Heron to play the Fleet Air Arm side. The Royal Navy West team will have to wait a couple more weeks for their first match; they host the Fleet Air Arm on 7 November at Devonport Services RFC. The fixtures are played at two-weekly intervals and each side will play two home games and two away games so there will be plenty of opportunity to come along and support your local side. Entry is free. Follow the link for details of all the fixtures.
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © Mark Andrews and Keith Woodland