Three New Caps Following RAF Inter Service Day of Rugby
Following the very successful day of rugby at HMS Temeraire and US Portsmouth on Wed 23 Apr 14, the Royal Navy Rugby Union not only ended the day with three wins from three, but also awarded three players their first cap. Emily Park, Stacey Hargrave and Eldon Myers became the latest players to receive their velvet cap from the Union’s President, Vice Admiral Phil Jones CB.
The Women players have only been eligible for caps since 2011; with the two new inductees there are now nineteen capped players in the select group. Emily ‘Peanut’ Park became the eighteenth member of the club with Stacey Hargrave becoming number nineteen.
This season, Emily has captained the side on a number of occasions in the absence of Sarah Jenkins, including the match against Marine Nationale in Toulon. She also won a Combined Services cap back in November. One of the more bubbly characters of the team, she becomes the first hooker to be capped by the Royal Navy Women.
Stacey Hargrave’s recent progress as a strong ball carrying lock forward has been remarkable and winning her first cap should only add to her confidence. Her recent displays have been the perfect foil to fellow second row forward, Caroline Penrose, as coach Bali Salisbury continues to develop the depth of talent in the Women’s squad.
The third player to receive their cap was Eldon Myers, who debuted on the left wing for the Royal Navy. Having missed the capped match against Marine Nationale, as he was still under training, Eldon becomes the 715th player to be capped by the RNRU since the first capped game in 1907. Watching his performance from the stand was one of the Royal Navy’s most capped wingers, Bob Penfold. He will have appreciated the skills of his young successor who was not even born when Bob won the last of his 12 caps in 1994.
Next week, at Army Navy Day, another new chapter in the history of Royal Navy Rugby will be opened when for the first time the Mariners will become eligible to be awarded a Royal Navy Rugby Union cap. Similar to the Women; qualification is to play in six Inter Service matches and the first qualifying match has been backdated to 2012. A look through the archive to the team of 2012 reveals that there could be a couple of Mariners sporting the famous, and treasured, head gear as they leave Kneller Hall to watch the Army and Navy match at Twickenham.
Royal Navy Women and the Mariners take on their counterparts from the Army at Kneller Hall, 3 May 14, KO 1030 and entry is with your Army Navy Match ticket.
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones