Rugby Union

RAF Head Coach: Inter Services Places 'Up For Grabs' In French Fixture

The new head coach of the Royal Air Force's rugby union side says there are Inter Services "places up for grabs" in their match against the French Air Force.

Sergeant Justin Coleman has taken over from Howard Parr's previous regime and his first match in charge will be against the French at Allianz Park.

With a number of experienced players leaving the RAF set-up, the squad is providing plenty of opportunity for the younger talents ahead of April's Inter Services championships.

"There’s still places up for grabs to be honest," said Sgt Coleman.

"Looking at the amount of guys we've lost, there’s a lot of shirts available for the Inter Services.

"We’ll be testing combinations again and trying to increase and just keep building as we move forward.

"I think we’ve got long-term goals.

"There’s a lot of youngsters involved with the senior players retiring and stepping down from the team and rugby altogether.

"There’s probably long-term goals that we want to start succeeding and start putting the foundations in place moving forward."

RAF Rugby Training Before French Fixture Credit BFBS 24022020.jpg
The RAF were training in Stourbridge after the heavy rain caused the pitch at RAF Cosford to become waterlogged.

The team captain Lance Corporal Daniel Johnson has been impressed by the new set-up.

"There’s a been lot of work this year on developing players and making sure we all gel as a team," he said.

"It’s a very new side but we said last week, we need to start upping how professional we are on and off the pitch.

"This week looking at the schedule, the workload has gone up massively.

"It needs to happen because we’ve got minimal fixtures before the Army and Navy so every minute on that pitch counts."

The match against the French provides a tough test for the RAF, but with the Inter Services games coming up, the squad are ready.

Vice-captain Corporal Luke Riddell said: "I think it is another test and another step-up as we build towards the Inter Services.

"It will be really physical and the atmosphere will be good if we get a few people come down to the Allianz Park to watch.

"It will just be really good and another good progression of upping the intensity and physicality as we build up to the Army and Navy."