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Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

Teaming up to tackle transition

Teaming up to tackle transition


16 Mar, 2022

With the final of the Six Nations Rugby Championship taking place this month, we’re on the sidelines to check out Rugby for Heroes’ Transition through Rugby course. Aiming to foster a sense of belonging you might otherwise miss on civvy street, it could be your pitch-perfect pathway to a less rocky resettlement. Why not give it a try?

When the time comes for you to leave the Armed Forces community, there’s a huge amount to consider: new career options, job prospects, geographic location, housing, education … The list is daunting and appears endless. And, while this might seem overwhelming and unfamiliar territory to some, Rugby for Heroes – the organisation that sponsors the Transition through Rugby course – has identified that the rugby community can offer a sense of belonging to those leaving the Services that is easy for them to recognise and relate to.

The course is founded upon the RFU (Rugby Football Union) core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship, and also provides those taking part with the opportunity to complete the RFU Level 2 coaching course. However, Transition through Rugby is about so much more than gaining a coaching qualification …

Recognising the similarities between a professional transitioning from a career in rugby and Service leavers transitioning into the civilian sector, Rugby for Heroes began working with the wider rugby community and professional player network in 2011, when the charity was formed to raise funds, awareness and support for Service leavers who are making what can be, for some, a difficult transition from military to civilian life. The rugby community has long been a staunch supporter of the Armed Forces and, through a deeper understanding of the difficulties that can be associated with individuals transitioning into the civilian sector, decided it could do more to help by providing opportunities for Service leavers through the rugby network.


TV’s Nick Knowles, a patron of the charity, with Springbok Thinus Delport, one of the mentors on the Transition through Rugby course

Rugby for Heroes the dream team

Dream team: Chris Pritchard, Ceri Jones and Roger Utley (no prizes for guessing which of them has worked as a Prince Harry lookalike!)

Let’s hear from some of those who have recently benefited from taking part in the course …

Roger Utley

Last July, when the Transition through Rugby admin team saw they’d received an application form from one Roger Utley, they wondered why an England and Lions icon from the 1970s would be interested in doing a Level 2 RFU course.

However, when Roger arrived at the hotel in Gloucester that was to be the base for the course, he turned out to be a 49-year-old NCO from the 1st Military Working Dog Regiment! 

Reflecting on the TTR course, Roger – who had already set up his own company (UK Canine Ltd) in preparation for his exit from the Armed Forces at the end of 2021 – has some simple, sound advice for any would-be applicants: ‘Do it!’

Yorkshire Dalesman Roger was joined on the course by his colleagues from the Dog Regiment, Chris Pritchard and Ceri Jones …

Chris Pritchard

Chris was similarly impressed by the course. The Bristolian’s own background was noteworthy, to say the least. The illness of his father had curtailed his initial time in the Armed Forces several years previously. Now aged 34, he has a CV that shows he spent some time running the family business, then travelling to more than 40 countries and working as a personal trainer. Chris has also been employed as a Prince Harry lookalike!

Ceri Jones

Ceri had played rugby at his home club at Waunarlwydd near Swansea before joining up. Now, 15 years later, he says he feels that the TTR course has rekindled his love for the game, and he is looking forward to coaching so that he can, as he says, ‘give something back to the kids’.

The course

Ceri, Chris and Roger were great value on a course that was packed with some terrific characters. Expertly coached by South West Coaching Development, and mentored by former Gloucester and Leicester Tigers-fly half Ryan Lamb, the group had to keep their energy levels high in what turned out to be the hottest week of 2021. The searing heat was just one challenge they had to face, but everyone on the course succeeded in passing their Level 2 coaching qualification. 

To date, more than 200 Service men and women have passed this milestone through Rugby for Heroes, providing much needed Level 2 rugby coaches at all levels of the game. The charity’s main focus is to raise funds to pay for these courses, as well as hotel accommodation and meals during the week, to ensure that there is no barrier to entry for our military personnel.

As Service leavers seek to build their CVs in preparation for the day when they take their first steps on civvy street, they can be sure that Rugby for Heroes will help them along the way. As well as a rugby qualification, course participants benefit from discussion of issues ranging from professional development to mental health. And, just as importantly, the course is a great confidence-builder as those leaving the Armed Forces face the challenges ahead of them.

Says course founder Alan Lamb, ‘There are some obvious parallels that can be drawn between the UK’s Armed Forces and the sport of rugby – the traditions and core values of leadership, teamwork, commitment, discipline, courage, respect, loyalty and camaraderie are all values the sport of rugby and the military unite behind and aspire to, and it is these values that Rugby for Heroes champions through the delivery of its Transition through Rugby course.’

Like to join the team?

The next course for which applications are open runs from 24–28 April 2022, so get in touch now to book your place!

Click here to find out more and to download an application form, or email

Up to four courses are run each year, and they are open to any serving or former member of the Armed Forces, irrespective of rank or Service background.

Follow Rugby for Heroes on social
Twitter: @Rugbyforheroes


Main image, top: ‘Crouch, bind, set’: scrum coaching on the most recent TTR course at Brockworth RC in February 2022