RAN women prepare for on-field clash with French Navy

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Kiz Welling-Burtenshaw (author), ABIS Kieren Whiteley (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Kuttabul, Sydney

Topic(s): Rugby Union

Representative of the Rugby Club de la Marine Nationale Dorine Silvestri (left) and Lieutenant Gemma Casserly meet during the welcoming of the Rugby Club de la Marine National by the Royal Australian Navy Rugby Union Womens Association. (photo: ABIS Kieren Whiteley)
Representative of the Rugby Club de la Marine Nationale Dorine Silvestri (left) and Lieutenant Gemma Casserly meet during the welcoming of the Rugby Club de la Marine National by the Royal Australian Navy Rugby Union Womens Association.

The Women’s Rugby Club de la Marine Nationale (RCMN) arrived down under yesterday for their inaugural tour to Australia. Hosted by Royal Australian Navy Rugby Union (RANRU), the RCMN team will play three games in country this month. The first against Sydney University on the 19th, another in the Capital against ACT Barbarians on the 24th, and finally a highly anticipated match against the RANRU Women at 2pm on the 27th at Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

The two Navies have worked together as allies since World War I through to regional security operations today. This long standing friendship was on display, and further solidified, as RANRU officially welcomed RCMN to Aussie soil today. The welcome function, attended by the RCMN squad and representatives from RANRU, celebrated both nation's mutual passion for rugby.

“The sport of rugby is symbolic of our jointly shared ideals and mutual understanding. It is a unique sport played anywhere both our Navies operate across the world, that exemplifies the values and signature behaviours our Navy people strive to achieve through service to their nations.” Captain Nicholas Stoker, President RANRU said.

Players from both teams are excited and looking forward to the experiences both on and off the field. For RANRU debutant Seaman Sharon Atkinson-Nicholson it will be her first venture into Defence sport, and the honour and opportunity is not lost on her.

“Being able to represent Navy playing a sport I love is an incredible opportunity and one I won’t undertake lightly. It is not just the rugby, the forging of friendships and connections with our allies is something I highly value. I am sure both teams will equally benefit from the experience.”

In contrast, when asked which team would retain the Cup in its maiden year, SMN Atkinson-Nicholson’s response favoured one side.

“They are a fantastic side and will be a massive challenge to overcome. However, the French can enjoy the FIFA World Cup, the Admiral’s Cup is remaining on Aussie soil.” SMN Atkinson-Nicholson said with a smile.