Army v RAF u23s rugby
Rugby Union

Army U23s Head Coach Hails Success Of Inter Services-Winning Side

Captain Mal Roberts' team won the title despite many changes from last year's team.

Army v RAF u23s rugby

Army U23s Head Coach, Captain Mal Roberts, has hailed his side’s youthful nature as a strength after they were crowned Inter Services Champions for 2018.

The team sealed the trophy with a comprehensive 26-6 victory over the RAF at Halton and the victory marked the first time the Army has won the tournament for four years.

Roberts is proud of how his players have dealt with a year of change. He said: “I think I’ve had about four or five boys left over from last year’s squad so relatively new squad.

“The boys have come together really well.

"It’s created that team environment where the boys want to be part of it and they’ve come in and bought into all that we’ve set out as coaches."

Army Bench 28/11/2018
The great atmosphere in the Army squad was on show during the game.

The championship win was boosted by their performance in the first game, a victory against the Navy, and Roberts complimented his players for moving on from an unsettled warm up to the tournament.

“We’ve had a few games,” he said.

“We’ve not had great preparation if I’m being honest and you know, I spoke about earlier that we have been struggling this year with front row in terms of availability and not having massive front row players in terms within the army at the minute.

"We had an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old that started today.

“For me, it’s really really promising moving forward. We thought it would be an area of weakness but in actual fact, it turned into one of our areas of strength. Those two young lads have come in and added real value.”

For Roberts, it’s not just the players that are learning but his coaching staff too.

He explained: “It’s almost a breeding ground for coaches as well. The young up and coming coaches like myself taking over as head coach and stuff is really pleasing because everyone has got all sorts of energy and enthusiasm.

“It’s about channelling it in the right direction and that is the trick with age group stuff. You need to challenge that enthusiasm and eagerness to do stuff and try to get together a piece of a gameplan.

Roberts also revealed that the Inter Services win has come as a shock. He said: “It’s really pleasing. If we said at the beginning of the year that we would be the Inter Service Champions, I would have probably said no.

“At the end, as we’ve been building and going through, we kind of knew in the squad that we had it within ourselves. It’s pleasing that we have come out and delivered.”