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History-making Navy Rugby League team on cusp of big-time cup match

Rugby League
24 February 2022
The Royal Navy’s Rugby League team face the greatest test in their 25-year history this weekend – and a potential crack at the biggest names in the sport.

The team face Batley Bulldogs in the fourth round of the Betfred Challenge Cup – to Rugby League what the FA Cup is to football.

It’s the first time the Navy side has reached this stage of the competition and, should the sailors and Royal Marines succeed, it sets up the prospect of a fifth-round encounter with Super League sides such as Wigan, St Helens and Leeds entering the fray.

Success in 2022 follows disappointment in 2021, when the RN was unable to compete in the Inter-Services Competition.

Nevertheless, head coach CPO Steve Lockton and his coaching staff got the squad together in November to face top London side the Chargers.

A 30-6 win on home turf energised the squad ahead of the new season and the early rounds of the Challenge Cup. Most impressive in this victory was the number of players making their debut for RNRL having completed training during the lockdown period.

Victory over the London outfit set the team up for the first round of the cup and a trip to Bridgend in South Wales to face Welsh Champions, the Blue Bulls, who were steamrollered 60-0 including 11 tries, securing a 2nd Round tie against the Army.

 
To have reached the fourth round is not only a fantastic achievement for Lockton’s squad but also just reward for the players and coaches’ efforts in the last couple of months.

RNRL stalwart Keith Humpleby

A golden point extra time score for AB Joey Sugden won the game for the RN 10-14 – much to the despair of the Army.

The third round home tie against York Acorn was a huge test for the RNRL Class of 2022 and they rose to the challenge in tremendous style, restricting the opposition to just eight points whilst scoring 22 in response and earning their ticket to the fourth round.

RNRL has never reached this stage of the contest before. Their opponents, a Championship side, lifted the trophy after their very first Challenge Cup final in 1901.
Along with the only Amateur Club, Hunslet Club Parkside, left in the draw, the round includes some of the most famous names in the sport.

“To have reached the fourth round is not only a fantastic achievement for Lockton’s squad but also just reward for the players and coaches’ efforts in the last couple of months,” said RNRL stalwart Keith Humpleby.

The match kick offs at 1pm on Sunday. You can watch it live via the BBC website while BFBS is covering the game for personnel serving overseas.

 

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