Scotland Women’s Rugby Squad learn to think like Commandos

When it comes to mental and physical toughness, the Royal Marines know a thing or two.

That’s why players from the Scotland Women’s Rugby Squad headed to Arbroath recently, to visit 45 Commando at their base at RM Condor, and learn about the Commando mindset from the people who put it into practice every day.

The players from the squad are no lightweights themselves.  Since their debut in 1994, the Scotland Women’s team have qualified for five Rugby World Cups and are determinedly working towards their place in 2021’s competition.

Before receiving the coveted Green Beret, each Royal Marine must pass the infamous Commando Course – one of the longest and most arduous training programmes in the world.

We were really impressed with the squad’s attitude: no-one ducked a challenge and everyone got stuck in.

Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Forbes RM

45 Commando hosted 24 players and 11 of the training staff from the Scotland Women’s Rugby team from the 6th to the 7th October to help them in their World Cup bid by providing leadership and team building training.

“While this group of women are at the very top of their game, we aimed to get them out of their comfort zone and to think about leadership and teamwork from a fresh perspective,” said Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Forbes, Commanding Officer of 45 Commando.

“The Commando mindset is about reading and adapting to situations quickly, and identifying, seizing and exploiting fleeting opportunities. Cool heads in the heat of battle and the ability for each individual to have the confidence to make decisions – playing what is in front of them – is at the heart of this.  This takes practice.”

He continued: “As Commando forces, we can only maintain our competitive advantage by having the humility and resolve to relentlessly seek to improve our performance – individually and collectively.

“I need my people to demonstrate courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity; these qualities are equally valuable in the team room, training ground or during rugby tournaments.

“We were really impressed with the squad’s attitude: no-one ducked a challenge and everyone got stuck in.”

After being corralled off the team bus by the crack team of Commandos the players were introduced to the equipment and techniques they’d need to master over the weekend: erecting shelter, providing first aid, cooking in the field, and adopting the Royal Marines’ mindset.

Next, the group headed to RM Condor’s airfield for a demanding night time exercise where they had to work together to rescue a downed pilot.

The following day, after minimal sleep under canvas, the Rugby Squad were up early for some battle physical training up and down the steep sand dunes of Lunan Bay, an area that 45 Commando have used to train for decades.  The day ended back at RM Condor, where the team tested their mettle by abseiling from the climbing wall.

The Scotland Women’s Rugby Squad compete in the Women’s Six Nations Championship, with training camps, including matches, held in the lead up to the tournament.

The Squad will next face Italy Women on the 4th November at Pata Stadium, before going on to face Canada Women at Scotstoun Stadium on the 27th November.

The Naval Service will open the Royal Marines to women at the start of 2019, with Armed Forces Career Offices around the country currently gathering expressions of interest.