Rugby Union

New Army Head Coach talks of preparations for Inter Services defence

The new Army Men's Senior Team Head Coach, Lieutenant Colonel Tim Osman, has spoken to BFBS Sport about his appointment following the departure of former head coach Captain Mal Roberts

Lt Col Osman has made the step up from is role as Director of Army Under 23's Rugby as the Army men's senior team prepares to defend their Inter Services title. 

In order to achieve that, the former Army rugby player turned coach says he expects to select and prepare a team that is "super competitive".

He said: "This season I expect us to be able to try and select and prepare a team that is super competitive.

"We have got a a whole bunch of very keen and talented soldiers and we have just got to transfer that into a very talented and keen Army team. 

"But the bedrock is there and Mal is in the middle of his programme effectively and certainly he has set us up for victory anyway, so it is my job to continue that and not drop the ball in every sense of the word essentially."

The role of head coach comes with a lot of personal sacrifice. Coaches and players are expected to juggle their roles in Army rugby with their regular jobs in the Army. 

But despite Army rugby's ambitions to retain their Inter Services title, Lt Col Osman says that "we are soldiers first".

He said: "Everyone has day jobs depending on what you do and where you are working, some are more difficult and more busy than others, they have to do courses that are important for their careers and we understand that, there is give and take. 

"And likewise, we expect the guys who want to play red shirt rugby to stick their hand up and be good at their job. We are soldiers first and an athlete, a rugby player and a sportsperson second and that's very much our mantra.

"The Army is about team work, the Army shows that sort of character, resilience, fitness and leadership that is key to everything we do so we expect the guys to put that back in when they are at their home units.

"And then likewise, we can try and offer them something back as a privilege for having the opportunity to play for Army rugby too."

The Army have a short window to prepare for the up and coming fixtures, including a clash with the Navy at Twickenham next year which is currently being rescheduled as the original match date, 6 May, was the same day as the coronation of King Charles III. 

Lt Col Osman added: "It's going to be in the parish but we are preparing now. 

"The guys have already got it in their focus and their radar, we can source some players who stick their hand up and see if they are up for the challenge. 

"So October through to the police game, Blackheath, the French Army and Oxford and Cambridge we have got a bit of preparation time there and it is just tryin to get that cohesion together when we have a few intermittent weeks in between our gatherings so it is a challenge but we will get there."