I am delighted to be the new Chairman of the Army Rugby Union, having been the vice chair for the last 3 years. Prior to that, I looked after Community rugby, Corps competition and our league for Units and Regiments.
The focus for the Army Rugby Union remains making rugby union available for all members of the Army through a series of competitions. Secondly, to play and train within the values of the Game and the Army. Lastly, to win.
Those players that show promise can seek representational honours via their Corps and ultimately the Army and the United Kingdom Armed Forces (UKAF) squad. It is important that these pathways remain valid and well resourced.
The Inter Services competition remains a key focal point of the season and we are delighted that the format is more stable than ever before.
Our place at Twickenham is safe and the fixture at Gloucester is developing into a marvellous rugby day for player and spectators – the support of Gloucester RFC is very much appreciated and is offering a renewed rugby experience in a premiership club in the West Country.
The work that Major Marc Wilding is doing with Community rugby is excellent – responsible for the Unit and Corps competitions which are run by Major Andy Bennett and Major Jase Lowe respectively.
At representative level – we are delighted with the Women’s XV squad performance and their 7’s team continues to thrive.
In the men’s squad, we lost to a better side in the Royal Navy at Twickenham but our performance against the RAF at Gloucester was marvellous.
The Masters continue to go from strength to strength and are winning regularly.
In the men’s 7’s squad we continue to play and win at the highest levels in the UK – attracting much media attention and plaudits.
As we move forward we aim to develop the Aldershot stadium by building a stand opposite the current facility that will include some covered spaces for hosting, better changing rooms, and an indoor training space. The build should start next spring and be ready for the September 24 season and ultimately the RWC in 2025 that England are hosting.
Finally, as your Chair of Army rugby, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with ideas, support, or constructive criticism – I look forward to hearing from you.
Brigadier James Cook OBE
Chair Army Rugby Union