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Army Senior Men’s Head Coach, Lt Col Tim Osman (RA), is looking forward to taking on the challenges which the team will face over the next few months.

After a summer of planning, the path towards regaining the Inter Service Championship title began with the annual trials in early October, with development matches to come against Oxford Greyhounds and the RAF Development XV this side of Christmas.

The fixtures come thick and fast in the New Year before the season reaches its climax in May with the Inter Service Championship itself.

“The headline for us this year is having two more capped games,” Lt Col Osman says. “We’ve got France away in Pau in the middle of March and in the middle of April we’ve got the Irish Defence Force back in the UK.

“That’s two chances to run out fully, but I want to put out the best team possible in a red shirt whenever we play. We have France and Ireland before the Navy and RAF games.

“We’ve also got the Varsity matches to get us into the season and other tough fixtures like Bedford, which is always a good place to play.

“It’s an exciting season with some decent fixtures and I’m trying to have a cohesive squad as soon as we can, and then playing as much as we can.

“It was clearly very disappointing to have a loss at Army Navy, but over the season there were positives. Fourteen new caps added to our depth and lends itself to inexperience and transition. The balance over good things and experiences is one to take into this season as an upward curve, and something to push onto.”

Lt Col Osman was not just concentrating on red shirt planning in the summer, as he also had UK Armed Forces commitments within the coaching group for September’s International Defence Rugby Cup in France, an experience which had every possible emotion.

“It was challenging across the piece,” Lt Col Osman says. “The first two-and-a-half weeks was tough, with three full contact games in a 10-day period. There’s a mental toll as well as a physical toll.

“Then with Steffan Rees’s tragic death there was another layer of emotion and stress and I thought the boys did remarkably well across the board.

“It might not have been as enjoyable as it might have been, but was rewarding in its own way.

“From a coach’s perspective it’s an opportunity to learn from other coaches and players and pick their brains. People are at different stages of their careers, are at different clubs and have different themes and thoughts.”

And CLICK HERE to see the full fixture list for the 2023/24 season.

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks

Header and featured images © Alligin Photography

Video editing © JPF Sports Media