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Army Senior Women Head Coach, WO2 Sarah Mitchelson (RLC) says that there were plenty of learnings to be happy with from the team’s latest warm-up match against the British Police.

WO2 Mitchelson and the coaches blooded more new players and different combinations against the Police in Aldershot, ­and while the red shirts got off to a good start with two tries in the first half from Gnr Charlotte Tweddle (RA) and SSgt Nat Lewis (R Sigs) there were a few turnovers for the hosts’ liking, two of which were significant in creating positions from which the Police scored.

A fantastic start to the second half tied things up at 17-all, but the Police scored next for the final try of the night which set up the 22-17 result.

“Yes we lost, but that’s not the reason why we’re here,” WO2 Mitchelson told BFBS. “We were here to look at the players, and I know that if we played the way we did in the first half then we could have walked away with a win rather than a loss.”

The games against Sweden and the British Police have seen a number of individuals be introduced to the rigours of red shirt rugby, and while there was a period of adjustement for the step up, WO2 Mitchelson says that the experience has been very worthwhile.

“It was a bit of a shock to the system over the first two days where everyone was trying to figure things out,” she added, “but by the end of Tuesday everyone was understanding what we are trying to achieve, understanding the structure, and having a bit more confidence in themselves.

“We’ve done the opportunity to play phase, and are starting to build now. The players who come together for the next game will be constant for the next two fixtures before we go into the Inter-Services.”

One returning player into the squad was SSgt Carrie Roberts (REME), back from representing England in the Rugby League World Cup and recovering from a torn ankle ligament sustained earlier in 2022.

She certainly made her mark, setting up the Army’s second half try with an excellent break and offload to Gdsm Komaitai (IG), and was an eye-catching presence throughout the second 40 minutes.

“I loved it,” she said. “This is where my journey started back in 2011, and it’s great to be back. Regardless of the result I had a great time with the girls.

“We’ve had quite a few sessions in the build-up to the game, and had to sacrifice our bodies a little bit to get the momentum and have everyone singing off the same song sheet.

“The camaraderie’s been great, everyone’s been backing the new girls and it’s been brilliant.

“We came here to put our structures together and we did that, so we’re going to walk away from this game with our heads up.”

The Army Senior Women are next in action away to Bath on Saturday, February 25th.

Tickets for the 2023 Inter-Services Championship are now on sale.

CLICK HERE for information about the Army v RAF at Kingsholm, Gloucester, on Saturday, April 15th.

CLICK HERE for information about Army Navy at Twickenham on Saturday, May 13th.

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks

Header and Featured Images – Alligin Photography © Lee Crabb