The Army Women turned on the style as they kicked off the season with a handsome 97-7 success against Pacific Islanders at Havant.
There were plenty of debutants, who had previously trialed for three days at North Luffenham back in October, among the ranks, and Head Coach WO2 Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) was pleased with what was on show.
She began: “It was good to get to see all the girls play, as a Development fixture the most important thing is to get new girls in Red Shirts as much game time as possible, which we certainly did.
“It might have been nice to have it a little more competitive, but it was good to see our players finding space and building confidence.
“There were some very good performances, but I don’t want to highlight anyone because there’s still another game against Brunel before the squad is cut down and the players find out if they’ll be selected (for post-Christmas).
“However, there were a couple of players who I was definitely happy to see.”
While most of the squad were new players, there were some experienced heads in the form of captain SSgt Jade Mullen AGC (SPS) at fly-half, Gnr Amy Carr (RA) alongside her at 12 and WO2 Nat Lewis (R Sigs), with WO2 Mitchelson praising their leadership.
Other members of the squad also helped out the opposition, with Sarah continuing: “One of the biggest moments was when a couple of our senior and junior players stepped in to help the Pacific Islanders – it was nice to see the girls play the game in the Spirit of Rugby and there were smiles all over the pitch.
“They’re a great team to play, a high level of rugby and they play in the traditional way with strong running, off-loads and hard tackling! They kept going to the end.”
Another batch of first-time starters are likely to be in action when Brunel University visit Aldershot next Thursday (ko TBC), but Mitchelson is also excited by what is to follow post-Christmas as the build-up to Inter-Services ramps up.
She ended: “We’ve got some decent fixtures against Wales and England Under 20s and our main aim, along with the Inter-Services, will be to put on a good show against them.
“We’ve played them and international teams before, but the past couple of seasons we’ve struggled to do it, so it’s good to have them back.
“Spirit in the camp is high, there’s a good friendly atmosphere along with being professional and we’re looking to keep building.”
Words © Richard Ashton
Header and featured images – Alligin Photography © Army Rugby Union