On Tuesday 14th May 2019, Eddie Jones, England Rugby Union coach and his coaching staff were invited to RAF Brize Norton to provide an insight into the skills required to develop a world class team whilst experiencing the daily workings of an RAF station.
Eddie and his team spent the day visiting various sections who took the opportunity to put the England Rugby Coaching Team through their paces; from decision making under pressure on the range to collaborative working and the essential training required to deal with the unexpected.
RAF Brize Norton is very excited to be able to work with England Rugby and share our knowledge, particularly highlighting the parallels between RAF personnel and professional athletes including mental performance and decision making under pressure.
Squadron Leader Lofthouse
After lunch the team experienced first-hand why military personnel need these skills, utilising our state-of-the-art virtual training facilities – both for parachuting and flying our newest addition to the Air Mobility Fleet – the A400M. During this time, they were subjected to various scenarios in the flight simulator and during their visit to the Parachute Training Squadron shown the reasons why we must develop fundamental skills to deal with the unexpected; such as a malfunctioning canopy opening.
In the afternoon Eddie provided an inspirational talk at the Station Briefing Facility where he highlighted how he has taken his coaching staff out of their conventional stovepipes. He went on to discuss how the game has moved on, utilising the full squad to maximise potential. The key links between sport, military skills and mental resilience are well established and this speech highlighted another example of how sport provides a platform for mutually beneficial learning and training.
The RAF Rugby Union has seen significant success in recent years, both on and off the pitch. Part of that success has been achieved by working with world class coaches like Eddie Jones, Frank Dick and the likes of the England Rugby Union set-up. The visit to Brize Norton is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent we have in the RAF and demonstrate how we train and make decisions under pressure. I know from previous work with the England set-up that the mental edge the squad will develop is likely to be the difference between winning and losing the Rugby Union World Cup in Japan, and I am delighted we can help develop the cognitive resilience of the players and coaching staff.
Air Vice-Marshal Moore
Director RAF Rugby