RAF Police Battle it out in Welsh Rugby's field of Dreams

27 September 2016

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It was the battle between white caps and black caps, as the Royal Air Force Police rugby team, took on their South Wales Police (SWP) opposites at the iconic Cardiff Arms Park, the home of the Cardiff Blues.

Flt Lt Jon Colley prepares to pass the ball out from the scrum in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park

In a hard-fought match the speed and enthusiasm of the RAFP players repeatedly clashed with the more experienced and larger players of SWP, with their size allowing them to often come out on top in the scrums throughout the game. RAFP Corporal No14 Dom Williams managed a few successful breaks for the opposition goal line, but each time fell foul of the penalty whistle, while No20 Corporal Leighton Hughes played a key role in stopping the charges of SWP players on several occasions before having to retire with an injury.

The RAF Police leap for lineout ball in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms ParkDespite stalwart defending and some spirited attacking from the RAFP, the SWP notched up four tries and a conversion, with the airmen clinching a consolation try in the dying seconds of the game to leave the score 22-5.

After players and coaches on both sides had shaken hands, Coach Corporal Clive French was still pleased with his team’s performance, regardless of the final result, saying: “It was a fiercely competitive match, but you’re not going to get much different when 30 policemen are on the field. My team were definitely up for it and tried to play an expansive game. We’re in a development stage at the moment with a lot of young guys coming through, so we’ll take the result, but scoring the last try at Cardiff Arms Park was still a highlight for us.”

Before the game the squad also trained at the Vale of Glamorgan training facility used by the Welsh national side and were put through their paces by Welsh Rugby Union trainers, which Cpl French described as "a different level of coaching."

Officer In Charge of RAFP rugby, Flight Lieutenant Jon Colley said that the visit to South Wales was part of the plan to develop RAF Police rugby: "The RAF Police rugby team has been around for a number of decades now and we're trying to create a more corporate image, including working with charities that are close to our values as a rugby team and encourage sport for all in the air force.

No14 Corporal Dom Williams on the break in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park

"This year we're supporting the RAF Charitable Trust and the Dallaglio Foundation, created by the former Captain of the England National Rugby Team, Lawrence Dallaglio "

The Dallaglio Foundation teaches life skills based on the values of rugby to young people not in mainstream education. They work in London, Newcastle, Bristol and South Wales. The RAF Charitable Trust as well as staging the Royal International Air Tattoo and Royal Air Force concerts gives grants for sporting and welfare causes.

RAFP rugby will now prepare for more high-profile fixtures, including a winter tour of New York to play against the New York Police as well as bringing the sport to disadvantaged children, and taking on the RAF Fire Service at Allianz Park, home of the Saracens.

Editor: LAC Iwan Benneyworth

Photographs: LAC Cathy Sharples

Flt Lt Jon Colley prepares to pass the ball out from the scrum in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park.

No14 Corporal Dom Williams on the break in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park.

The RAF Police leap for lineout ball in the match between RAF Police and South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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