army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Inspirational Women in Inter Service Rugby

The 2022 Inter Service championship saw a Twickenham debut for the Army v Navy women's game, and such was the success that this year each occasion will feature a double-header of women's and men's matches at the same venue on each day.

International Women’s Day seems like the ideal time to take a look at some of the outstanding women who will be a part of this year’s Inter Service Championship. Women will once again be sharing the stage with the men this year, with matches taking place on the same day at the same venue. Tickets will give you access to a double-header making this once again a truly family-oriented occasion.

Courtney Pursglove
Private Pursglove is a Communication Specialist at 6 Regiment RLC. She has played
Union at many levels, including Yorkshire and Northern England. She has represented the Army at 7s as well as in the 15s game.

Courtney made her Inter Service debut in 2022 and burst onto the scene with two stand-out performances against the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, scoring two tries at Kingsholm followed by a hattrick at Twickenham. It was these performances that caught the eye of the England 7s set up which led to trials with the squad followed by three exhibition matches at the London 7s last summer.

Courtney signed with Sale Sharks for the 2022-23 season. Capping an outstanding 2022, Courtney was deservedly nominated in the Rising Star Category at the British Army Sports Awards where she came runner up.

Bethan Dainton
Bombardier Dainton has had a long and highly successful sporting career though her journey with rugby started surprisingly recently. In 2015 the then Wales and Army player, Captain Gemma Rowland, spotted Bombardier Dainton and invited her along to play for the Dragons at a rugby 7’s event.

Bombardier Dainton did surprisingly well and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience decided to begin playing rugby. She began playing premiership rugby for Bristol Bears. In January 2016, she was selected into Wales’s Six Nations squad and gained her first cap in the opening game against Ireland. Later that year, Bombardier Dainton was selected into the Welsh 7s squad travelling to the Rugby Europe Championships.

The team’s success in the competition, due in no small part to Bombardier Dainton, secured a place in the Women’s 7s World Series Qualifiers in Dublin. Unfortunately, a serious foot injury sustained on international 7s duty kept Bombardier Dainton out of action for most of the 2017/18 season. After a lengthy period of rehab, she returned to play but with a switch of positions from wing to back row. Once she consolidated her understanding of her new playing position, Bombardier Dainton was recalled to the Welsh squad for their 2021 Six Nations campaign, featuring against France and Scotland and with this earning her the rare accolade of being capped for her country as both a back and a forward.

These performances caught the eye of the World-famous Barbarians’ club and in November 2021, Bombardier Dainton gained a coveted Baa-Baas’ cap against South Africa; the first and still the only Servicewoman to have received such an honour.

To date, Bombardier Dainton has represented her country in Athletics, Cross Country, Rugby Union and Rugby League; she was awarded her first International Cap for Wales at Rugby League last summer against England. With this achievement, Bombardier Dainton joins a small prestigious group of players that have been capped for Wales in both rugby codes.

Within military rugby, she has represented UKAF and the Army in every version of the sport available to her across both codes. She has played premiership rugby for Bristol Bears and Harlequins. She has played in the premiership final numerous times and was part of Quins’ Championship winning squad in 2021. Bethan has signed with Rugby League side Leeds Rhinos for the 2023 season.

Sian Williams
Sian Williams made her Wales Women's debut off the bench against Scotland in the RBS Six nations 2010 and also went on to represent and Captain Wales 7s.

The Wrexham-born back row took up rugby aged 7 at Mold Rugby club with her two Brothers. The Logistics Mover Joined the Royal Airforce Oct 2008 before being posted to RAF Lyneham where she played for Bath RFC.

Williams has previously played for Premier 15s sides Worcester Worriers and Gloucester-Hartpury. In Oct 2022, Sian Retired from rugby and has since coached the Women’s UK Armed Forces 7s at the World Military 7s Tournament in France.

The individuals above have done a great deal to raise the profile of Inter Service rugby, and the women’s game in general. Those upcoming matches are set to continue that momentum, with speed, skill, and power on display in a lively but family-friendly atmosphere.

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