Rugby Union

'We Will Be Ready For Them': RAF Rugby Captain Ready For Inter Services Title Defence

You can watch the reigning Inter Services champions start their title defence LIVE from Twickenham Stoop on Forces media.

The RAF are ready to defend their Inter Services Title when they kick off their campaign against the Royal Navy.

The Airmen won the competition last year at the Twickenham Stoop and will return to the stadium for their opening game.

Despite their good form at the Stoop last year, team captain Dave Manning is keen not to look past their tough opponents.

He said: "It certainly holds good memories from last year being the first time we won it. We beat both the Army and the Navy teams for the first time in over 25 years too.

"We are under no illusions that they will both be gunning for us this year as reigning champions, but we will be ready for them."

Manning will be joined in the squad by UKAF Sportsman of the Year, Josh McNally. The London Irish player is a key part of the squad and the team have been preparing well for the Navy fixture, according to Forwards Coach Justin Coleman.

He said: "We’ve had some good victories against the British Police and Richmond and some tougher tests that we expected and wanted in the build-up such as the Coventry game and the French Air Force away.

"I think we are in a really good place. We have had those tough tests now and learnt from it. We take positives away from every game to analyse and review.

"Hopefully, we see that on Friday evening."

Justin Coleman RAF 04042019 Credit BFBS.jpg
The RAF's Forward Coach is hopeful that their good work in friendlies will result in a win against the Navy.

It is not just the men who are facing Navy opposition at the Stoop. The RAF women’s team start their Inter Services tournament against the Navy earlier in the day.

Both teams are looking to topple the reigning Army champions, but the Air Force have happy memories of beating the Navy last year.

Their captain, Chrissie Siczowa, was wary of the threat that the Navy posed but is looking forward to returning to the Stoop.

She said: "We’ve worked really hard over the last few seasons, but especially this season. We have got a great squad of players so I’m really excited to take on the Navy at the Stoop on Friday.

“It’s going to be a bit of a big event hopefully.

"The Navy are always going to be a strong side. They will have a powerful pack and hope to take them on up front.

"Last year was a fantastic occasion. It was the first time a lot of us have ever played at the Stoop so hopefully it will feel a bit more like home this year."

The RAF women’s team coach is John Wilding and he has a plethora of talent to call upon. For him, blending youth with experience is key.

"Having Amy Cokayne and Sian Williams makes a massive difference," he said.

"We have at least three players who are playing their first year of rugby so we have a huge balance in between.

"We have got a lot of people who have Inter Service caps so there is a lot of experience there and a lot of fresh faces.

"It has kept the group really rejuvenated really."

You can watch both games LIVE by visiting either the Forces Sports Show YouTube channel, right here on forces.net or on the Forces News Facebook.