The French Women’s Rugby Club de la Marine Nationale (RCMN) 2-week rugby tour to Australia culminated at Victoria Barracks on Friday, with a thrilling 39-21 victory against the Royal Australian Navy Rugby Union (RANRU) women's side.
The two teams were playing for the inaugural Admiral's Cup.
The aim of the match was to solidify the passion and common beliefs the two nations share, and take the mutual cooperation between both Navies onto the rugby field. While there is a history of competition between the men's sides, this was the first, and certainly not the last, between the two women's teams. From today onwards the Admiral's Cup will be played between either the men or the women, in Australia or France.
The quality of the match didn't disappoint, with both teams leaving nothing on the field. It was a fast and hard hitting game with impressive skills on display from both nations. Player of the Match, Leading Seaman Shannon Evans, reflected on the experience and what it meant to her to wear the Navy blue.
“It is always such an honour putting on the Navy jersey, and it meant so much more to run out on an international stage.”
“The French were tough, but I believe our defence stuck together and put the pressure we needed on them. They were good in the scrums which hurt us a bit, but I think collectively as a team we gave it everything we could.”
Seasoned RANRU, ADFRU and ACT Brumby Able Seaman Courtney Frankl is excited about the future of Navy rugby and believes that this is the start of many international matches in the future.
“Bringing the RANRU game to an international level is just another step forward for women's rugby. I look forward to continuing with the French Navy, and hopefully bringing other teams into the fold.
“Women's rugby is moving forward in leaps and bounds and it is a great thing to see.”
In the lead up to the match both teams also participated in a 100 Days For Change Sport and Engineering Speed Mentoring event. The event was hosted at HMAS Watson and promoted mentorship for Women in Sport and Engineering.
Females from the RAN Engineering community and both teams converged on HMAS Watson to listen, engage and find mentorship that will hopefully promote future unity and change.
The Captain of the RANRU team, Able Seaman Tika Yeend, participated in the event and believed all involved benefited from the experience.
“The 100 Days For Change was a great opportunity to meet other women who have excelled in their field. I think this initiative is a great idea moving forward, and will give others the opportunity to network with fellow females in all aspects of work and life.”
The RCMN team flies back home on Monday with the Admiral's Cup firmly in hand. It is the memories and friendships, however, that they will be holding most tightly.