Rugby AU and Australian Army embark on new partnership

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Wallabies could train alongside Australia’s special forces soldiers as part of a new partnership between Rugby Australia and the Australian Army.

The first relationship of its kind between the army and a national sport will give Australian rugby teams access to army barracks around the country for training.

Beyond that, both organisations will work to share sport science knowledge, leadership training and “performance under pressure” concepts.

Brigadier and president of the Australian Army Rugby Union Ben James said both groups could feed off one another, both in physical and mental areas.

“Both of our institutions are involved in maximising the potential of our people,” he said.

Brigadier Ben James, Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle and Australian Sevens players and Wallaroos. Photo: Ray Vance“The sorts of programs that we're already involved in - you mentioned performance under pressure.

“It might involve training alongside our Special Forces soldiers.

“Most likely so that when those lights are on (or) when our young Australians are leading soldiers overseas on ops, they turn up and can deliver when it really counts and we've got a number of programs we'll pursue to be able to land that.”

Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle said there were strong threads that tied the two organisations together.

“I think as we grow organisations that are combative in nature, there's learnings for both sides,” she said.

“We've had an iconic history with many of our rugby players serving so that can be really aspirational, inspirational for our athletes and likewise for the people in the army to see players train here."

Castle said the relationship would go beyond the ‘combative’ top level associated with soldiers serving for our country and delve into other areas as well.

“I think we also think about it at a really combative Test matches or under pressure in a combative situation but actually in every day engagement your forces do so much work overseas, in communities and actually engaging with different countries,” she said.

“I think there is some benefits at that level as well, it's not just at the very top combative level, there's actually some real benefits for the skill base that we share engaging in different communities as well.”