The recent Six Nations Women’s Championship provided divided loyalties for a number of Service Women International players before their thoughts return to the preparations for the 2016 Inter Services. In November they will hopefully all be available for the UKAF Women’s Remembrance Match in November when the Armed Forces side will hope to field all five of their current full Internationals.
Army Rugby’s flyer Beth Dainton has established herself on the wing for Wales but had few opportunities in attack against England at the Twickenham Stoop. However her full on defence will not have been lost on either the RAF Women or Navy Women when she returns to Army’s colours.
Sian William’s, with head band, has established herself as a versatile and well respected back row forward for Wales. Sian is on the RAF Elite Sportswoman scheme and her game continues to develop apace whether at Number 8 or as in the recent Six Nations at open side flanker
AVM Elaine West was in the crowd to watch the RAF’s two internationals go head to head against each other. However it was RAF Reservist and England’s reserve hooker, Amy Cokayne who had most to smile about at the final whistle. Coming off the bench Amy helped England secure a close and at times tense 20-13 victory.
Ensuring fair play (from a Service sense) was former UKAF Team Manager, and current England Team Manager, Helen Richardson (centre); who ensured that the Royal Navy were represented throughout the Six Nations. Having just completed her first twelve months in the role she has a busy schedule with the Women’s World Cup looming next year. Hopefully Bee Dawson (2nd left) will have done enough coming off the bench to be part of England’s plans throughout 2017. Her powerful scrummaging stood out in the Six nations when she was unleashed from the bench and watching her and Amy pack down against each other on 6th April should be well worth a trip to RAF Halton. Gemma Rowland (2nd right) was not originally due to be part of the Welsh squad due to professional Army commitments. However she stepped in following the late withdrawal of the Wales Number 8. She brought to five the number of Service Women rugby players involved i the match.
It was not just on the pitch that the Army Rugby Union were represented. Senior Service women’s referee, Nikki O’Donnell was named as one of the match officials for the game.
The RAF Women were at the Stoop in good numbers to support Sian and Amy. This togetherness will stand them in good stead on 6th April when they seek to become the first side to beat the Army Women in an Inter Service match. [All images courtesy and copyright of © John Walton]
Women’s Inter Services
6th April Royal Air Force Women v Army Women – RAF Halton KO: tbc
20th April Royal Navy Women v Royal Air Force Women – USSG Portsmouth KO:13:00
30th April Army Women v Royal Navy Women – Kneller Hall KO:10:30