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SSgt Keith Bird believes there is a bright season ahead for Women’s Corps rugby after an interesting exhibition match at Newbury RFC.

The Head Coach of current Corps Champions RLC saw some of his players combine with those from REME, edging out a combined RA/AMS outfit 22-15 in an entertaining seven-try contest.

The RLC/REME amalgamation started fast as they raced into a 12-0 lead, the two sides then exchanging tries before two more from RA/AMS made it a two-point game towards the end.

However, a late try for the leaders gave them victory, and SSgt Bird commented: “For a bunch of girls who had just come together after a bit of a break before the season, it was a very, very strong effort.

“The communication was good, the tackling was good – there are a couple of work-ons – but overall, I was very impressed with the players’ work.”

With Women’s Rugby growing across the country and history-maker Bdr Bethan Dainton also flying the flag for the sport in the Army, SSgt Bird is confident it can continue to grow, despite certain challenges.

He explained: “The festival brings more attention to the game, especially when it comes to the ladies. We want to invigorate it and get more people involved in the ladies’ game, but it’s growing in the Army.

“Obviously, we’re hindered by deployments, work and other sports which are going on, but the girls are getting involved.

“Their commitment is excellent and while we can’t always get them together, when we do, they put on a performance.”

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, SSgt Bird is hopeful the RLC can be victorious again, having beaten the RA 10-6 in last season’s Corps Championship final.

He ended: “We want to keep the trophy – we went undefeated last year, but looking at our competition and especially REME, it’s going to be an intense one.

“The Gunners always play their part – they’re also an intense squad, always physical, strong and they’re another one to watch for us.”

The Corps Championship is due to start on Wednesday, September 27 with games between AMS and AGC, and REME versus RA.

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn


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