There has been a double international call-up for Army Women this week.
Capt Nikki O’Donnell (QARANC) is heading to New Zealand as one of five assistant referees who have been chosen among an 18-strong group of match officials for the Women’s World Cup.
The World Cup, which was deferred from 2021 into 2022, will kick off in Auckland on October 8th, with the world’s best 12 teams battling it out for the right to be crowned world champion.
Capt O’Donnell was an assistant referee for several of this season’s Women’s Six Nations, in addition to making her debut as a referee at National League 1, the second woman to take charge of a game at that level.
She is one of just two English officials to be named in the group for the World Cup, and everyone at the ARU sends their congratulations for this achievement.
World Rugby Referee Talent Development Manager, Alhambra Nievas, said: “Selection followed a rigorous process that was based on merit and form, and with such strength and depth in the pool of match officials we are fortunate to work with, selecting a final team of 18 was not easy. I’d like to personally congratulate everyone on their selection and thank all of those involved in the process.”
Image © Craig Watson
That is to come later in the year, but this weekend coming will see Pte Courtney Pursglove (RLC) return to Twickenham as part of an England Women’s group which will play exhibition matches as part of the World Rugby Sevens Series event being held there on Saturday and Sunday.
The squad will be made up of core Sevens players as well as those who have stood out in the Premier 15s throughout the 2021/22 campaign.
Pte Pursglove is not in a Premier 15s team at the moment, but was one of the stand-out players in the Inter-Services Championship, scoring two tries against the RAF in Gloucester and then three more against the Royal Navy at Twickenham, adding several conversions to show her skills off the tee.
The experience will act as key preparation for the home Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham this summer, with the teams playing three matches across the weekend.
“We’re delighted to announce that our women’s sevens squad will play at London this year,” said head of women’s and sevens performance, Charlie Hayter. “The opportunity to play and perform in front of a passionate Twickenham crowd ahead of a home Commonwealth Games is essential for preparation.
“With this being the first London leg since 2019 due to the pandemic, it’s sure to be a celebratory occasion and all players and staff are looking forward to the event.”
Image © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb
This week also saw the Army in Scotland team see off their counterparts from both the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in Edinburgh.
After beating the Royal Navy 36-3 the Army team had to come back from conceding an early try against the RAF to claim the Inter-Services Scotland title.
But once they hit the front there was little doubt as to the trophy’s destination, Josevata Niumataiwalu, Ryan Robertshaw, Ashleigh Layton and Waisea Ratokalau all crossing to record a 24-5 final result.
Image © Bryan Robertson
Finally, the Army Sevens teams are back in action this weekend, heading to Hazelwood – the home of Premiership outfit, London Irish – for Round 2 of the 2022 Super Sevens Series.
The Army Men will be needing to take some steps up from their Round 1 outing in Newbury, where they exited the tournament at the quarter finals stage at the hands of Spain. They play Samurai – who the Army beat in Melrose a few weeks ago – at 1340hrs, along with The Lambs (1020hrs) and Karuta 7s (1200hrs) in the group stages.
The Army Women had a run to the semi-finals, where they came up against a Hong Kong team which proved to be one step too far. They play Lionesses (1000hrs), Savvy Panthers (1140hrs), Hammerhead Barbarians (1340hrs) and Hong Kong (1640hrs), with the winners and runners-up from each pool progressing through to the Cup semi-finals.
The day’s action starts at 1000hrs and all are welcome at Hazelwood.
Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks
Header and Featured Image © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb
ARMY WOMENS SQUAD FOR RD 2 OF THE SUPER 7S SERIES
Sgt Dodd (JHG SE), Rfn Green (7 RIFLES), Capt Mills (104 Regt RA), LCpl Landers (4 MI Bn), Gnr McAuley (16 Regt RA), SSgt Mullen (11 SFA Bde) (C), OCdt Nicholls (Oxford UOTC), Capt Parker (3 Armd CS Bn REME), Capt Pearson (11 SFA Bde), ATpr Rees (3 Regt AAC), LCpl Glynn (1 RHA), Gnr Kasowaqa (1 RHA)
ARMY MENS SQUAD FOR RD 2 OF THE SUPER 7S SERIES
Cpl Rokoduguni (3 SCOTS), LCpl Sukanayagi (2 YORKS), LCpl Ratukadreu (1 YORKS), LBdr Visei (19 Regt RA), Fus Laulaba (1 RRF), Spr McDonald (8 RE), Pte Nakoronivalu (1 YORKS), Pte Ratu (6 Regt RLC), Pte Selanabuka (2 R Anglian), Pte Suluaqalo (1 YORKS), Pte Tulele (1 R Anglian), Pte Uluvesi (2 YORKS), Pte Waqanidrola (1 PWRR), Gnr Rokomoce (7 PARA RHA)