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SSgt Jade Mullen (AGC (SPS)) says that she is honoured to have been handed the responsibility of leading the Army Senior Women’s team for the 2022 Inter-Services Championship.

It has been a memorable 12 months for SSgt Mullen, who followed up being part of the Harlequins squad which won the 2021 Premier 15s title with her first selection at Wales international level, winning Sevens caps in the summer and then a call-up to the national XVs training squad for the Autumn Internationals.

With a start for the UKAF team which beat France at the end of September and a try-scoring return to the Harlequins team after Christmas, being appointed captain for the Army Women is certainly a cherry on the cake for SSgt Mullen.

“It’s a massive honour for me personally,” she says. “We’ve got a great group of girls with plenty of strong leaders, and it means a massive amount to lead the team out.

“As a group we want to get the team playing in the same way. It’s really important that we trust each other, trust the way that we want to play and don’t go running around like headless chickens!

“On the social side we’ve tried to keep everyone engaged with things like games, quiz nights, that kind of thing. We only have a short time together in camp, which makes this part of the role really important as well.

“But the culture in the group is really strong. Everyone is really committed and we’re looking forward to the Inter-Services.”

The Senior Women’s team’s build-up has been disrupted by matches having been cancelled, which in turn restricts the opportunities for game plans to get tweaked and put into action. Nevertheless, with wins over the British Police and Wasps Amateurs, and a challenging run-out against Premier 15s outfit DMP Durham Sharks, SSgt Mullen insists that the group will be ready when it comes time to take on the RAF in Gloucester.

Image © Alligin Photography, Lee Crabb

“We had a hard game against the British Police in December,” she says, “and then while the game against Wasps was not as hard we used it to put our structures together and try some different things.

“Then the game against DMP was what we needed, as far as having to react to a new challenge and showing character in a tough situation. We came back well in the second half but shouldn’t have given them the start that we did in the first half, and learned a lot of lessons about ourselves.

“We know that there will be quite a few new faces in the RAF team, and there’s a massive incentive for us to get back the title which the RAF have held since 2019, of course with no games being played. It was a shame that we didn’t get to play them in 2020 as we had been building our team nicely, but we’ve got our opportunity now and don’t want to waste it.”

Fitness and form permitting, there is also the prospect of becoming the first woman to lead an Army team out at Twickenham on April 30th. And while this is still a few weeks away SSgt Mullen is more than aware of what it will represent for the Women’s team.

“The Men have played at Twickenham something like 95 times but for us this will be our first,” she says. “It’s a massive deal for us, and something that we’ve been building towards for years. So this is not just about us as the 2022 squad, but for all the legacy players who have helped get Army Women’s rugby to where it is today.”

Tickets for the 2022 Inter-Services Championship matches against the RAF (March 26th, Kingsholm) and the Navy (April 30th, Twickenham) are now available.

CLICK HERE for information about the RAF game

CLICK HERE for information about Army Navy