Andy Goode and Jim Hamilton – hosts of the UK’s number one rugby podcast, The Rugby Pod – enjoyed an amazing time as they spent a couple of days with the British Army last week.
The former international duo, Andy for England and his co-host Jim for Scotland, are looking to spread the word about the kind of opportunities on offer in the Army, with the former explaining their reason for being around during the Red Shirts Under 23s’ 19-9 win against the RAF.
Andy began: “We’re doing a bit of an activation between our Podcast and the Army, involving rugby and recruitment. It was truly eye-opening, we had an amazing time meeting a lot of the guys and girls, firing a Light Gun and other various other things around the Apaches.”
And Jim continued: “I’ve got a deep history with the Army as my dad was in it for 26 years – I always say my English accent is down to being around the Army – and my sister was born in Northern Ireland.
“I travelled a lot, down here in Tidworth, in Germany, Scotland, but I’ve got a deep love for the Army, a lot of my mates were in it and the Royal Marines.
“There’s a big societal shift now in terms of jobs and opportunities and you look at something like the Army and the public perception is it’s very strict, but actually what we’ve picked up is it’s a real brother and sisterhood, a big family.
“With our platform on the Podcast we want to try and showcase that because it’s the perfect demographic for people who might be changing careers – some people go to the military at the age of 17 or 18, but we were speaking to a 23-year-old bricklayer who decided actually he wanted to join.
“There’s also a big crossover between sport and the military, chatting to SSgt Jade Mullen (AGC (SPS)) and Pte Courtney Pursglove (RLC), the opportunities they get to go off and play for Harlequins and Ealing Trailfinders.”
Continuing on the theme of the crossover between their careers and the values of the services, Andy said: “There’s a real synergy between sport, rugby and the Army.
“Teamwork and camaraderie go hand in hand with life in general, and whether that’s in your day-to-day role in the Army, playing a sports fixture, there’s the real thing of caring about people.
“The Army has that feel of not just your direct family but all the people you work with – so much resonates with professional sport and the kind of bonds you build up with your teammates.
“You’re always working to win, whether that’s on a Saturday as a rugby player or in the Army.”
Impressed by what he saw as the U23s ran in three tries against the RAF, Jim added: “The military is a performance industry so again you can see the synergy and why it works – the nutrition, the training, the teamwork, all these buzzwords you can throw around – and that’s why you get the quality you can see.”
With the likes of Jade and Courtney playing in the Premier 15s, Rfn Vereimi Qorowale (2 Rifles) on the books at Newcastle Falcons and Gnr Senitiki Nayalo (7 PARA RHA) a regular for Championship side Coventry, there is continued history of Army involvement at the top end of the sport going back to the likes of Tim Rodber.
And Andy ended by reflecting on his own experience as he said: “I played with (LCpl Semesa) Rokoduguni (SCOTS DG) for England A and he was just ridiculous. He was off the charts good in the Premiership, and I used to watch some of his Army stuff and didn’t always shine as much as in the Prem because he was a big target, but he was a wonderful player.”
The Podcast featuring Andy and Jim’s visit is due to be aired early next year.
Words © Richard Ashton
Header and featured image – Alligin Photography © Army Rugby Union