Royal Marines share Commando Spirit with St Helens

Plymouth based Royal Marines of 42 Commando welcomed warriors of a different kind to their Bickleigh base to share their ethos and team spirit.

The players and coaching staff of Super League giants St Helens RLFC made the long journey to South Devon from their Cheshire home on Tuesday as part of their pre-season preparations.

The Green Berets of 42 Commando were typically welcoming to the sports stars and laid on three days of both physically and mentally challenging activities to test and improve the players’ toughness and team spirit on the field.

Reflecting on the week, head coach Keiron Cunningham said: “The most important thing for me this week was to see the players out of their comfort zone. It was a really tough week, probably the toughest training camp I’ve seen, and that’s exactly what I needed.”

“It shows what people are made of, and what can be achieved with hard work. There were some personalities in the team who really came to fore as leaders this week.”

I’m a great admirer of the Royal Marines. It takes the same type of physical and mental toughness to be both a rugby player and a Marine

Head Coach, Keiron Cunningham

A sign of things to come, the week began with a military fitness session soon after the players arrived and was followed shortly after by a tutorial in navigation techniques to ensure they had a fighting chance of successfully completing a route around the notoriously inhospitable Dartmoor National Park the following day. 

Further lessons in survival techniques, including how to safely kill and prepare live animals, and team cohesion ensured that the rugby boys were left in no doubt about the toughness required to become an elite Commando. 

Keiron added: “I’m a great admirer of the Royal Marines. It takes the same type of physical and mental toughness to be both a rugby player and a Marine.  It’s been great this week talking to different people around camp and realising that we all have the same mindset.  The success of both groups relies on respect and hard work.”

“The most interesting and beneficial aspect of the week was the 2am wake up and cohesion exercise.  It was brutally tough but showed everyone just what can be achieved with hard work.”

The Royal Marines are the amphibious soldiers of the Royal Navy and, with their specially adapted shipping, are able to land and operate in any environment in the world. Alongside 40 and 45 Commandos, 42 Commandos are one of three elite amphibious fighting units which make up the global reach of 3 Commando Brigade.