Rugby Union

Forces Rugby Union 'Could' Return This Year

Rugby union suffered an enforced hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic but there are moves to see the sport return to the military.

Forces rugby union could be back before the end of this year, according to the Army Rugby Union Secretary.

Major (Retired) Chris Fowke said he hopes an Inter Services tournament could go ahead in December.

He also said there are hopes for an Army-Navy fixture at Twickenham.

Other sports, including football, tennis and cricket, have started to return after a break forced by the coronavirus pandemic.

Rugby union had to wait but Maj Fowke told Forces News the sport is on its way back.

He said: "The Army rugby union have submitted our first application to get community rugby, which is unit rugby, back to playing rugby ready.

"That's a two-touch, 10 vs 10 in an attack/defence environment. That will allow us to get some of the drills in place. It is very basic but it’s a start in the right direction."

"Zone D, which we are in from the RFU [Rugby Football Union], allows limited contact," he added.

"Fifteen minutes on individuals to do very basic things like tackle below the waist, have two-on-two rucks and unopposed line-outs which you must throw to the guy that is being lifted in the air.

"It's all based upon face-to-face contact and limiting that time so that potential infection can't be spread."

Maj Fowke said he is hopeful the annual Army-Navy fixture at Twickenham will go ahead in some capacity (Picture: Alligin Photography).

Maj Fowke told Forces News he is hopeful the sport could return before the end of the calendar year, with the U23 Inter Services Championships potentially leading the way.

He said: "If we get to start playing in November, we could potentially, with the right windows, try and fit that in, in December before everybody disappears on Christmas leave.

"I think the other two services are as keen as us to get that window of opportunity and if we can go in November, we certainly will."

For fans hoping to watch the showpiece Army vs Navy event at Twickenham next year, Maj Fowke revealed that there are plans being put in place.

He said: "Our intent is to play at Twickenham. That's hopeful.

"The RFU have done a great job in the last few months in getting a huge amount of work done for the autumn international series.

"They've got some great processes in place that will make the whole experience COVID safe."

Cover image: Alligin Photography.