Royal Navy drills help England women’s rugby squad

The England women's rugby team at HMS Collingwood. Picture: Keith Woodland
The England women's rugby team at HMS Collingwood. Picture: Keith Woodland
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ENGLAND’S women’s rugby squad enlisted the help of Royal Navy sailors to get them into shape ahead of the World Cup in France.

The England squad visited HMS Collingwood in Fareham for some military-style training in preparation for their upcoming rugby matches.

The team and their coaches took part in a week-long training camp at the naval base including a day at the Royal Navy Leadership Academy (RNLA), where they were put through a series of challenges and activities used to train officers and sailors in the fleet.

They built rafts and ran obstacle courses burdened with a heavy dummy to test the group on team building, problem solving, and leadership.

Sarah Hunter, England vice-captain, said: ‘This has shown we can really work together as a team and trust each other.

‘It’s been really good fun to have different challenges away from rugby.

‘We’ve identified some key aspects we can transfer to the field in terms of the leadership roles; it’s a case of taking a step back, assessing the situation and moving onto the next bit.’

Lieutenant Commander Neil Caswell is the officer in charge of the RNLA.

He said: ‘They came in the morning all quiet, not what I was expecting from a rugby team.

‘However, just half-way through I observed them all talking to each other, I could see progress and impressive cohesion between the teams.

‘I see people come through on course and to see the way they are when they leave is inspiring, hopefully we have achieved this with the ladies.’

During the days the squad of 30 and their coaches were broken up in to groups of six and given tasks to complete.

Gary Street, the England women’s head coach, added: ‘The Royal Navy are world experts in performing under pressure, thinking through problems, communication tasks and decision making.

‘We thought it would be really good to tap into the expertise they’ve got here and see if we can transfer that into a rugby situation.’