Academy tests Commando ethos in amphibious exercise

Scottish Rugby’s BT Sport Academy players and staff have carried out the inaugural ‘Peck Hunter’ programme this week as part of the ongoing partnership between the Royal Marines and Scottish Rugby.

Named after Corporal Thomas Peck Hunter VC – who won his posthumous Victoria Cross 62 years ago at the Battle of Lake Comacchio (April 1945) – the exercise aims to develop the players’ Commando Mindset, focussing on personal responsibility and leadership.

The strenuous, amphibious, two-day exercise began with an intense military swimming fitness circuit before moving on to close-quarter battle training at Strone Camp, with an operational planning exercise in the evening and overnight at Garelochead Camp near HM Naval Base Clyde.

The second day saw the group challenged further in a physically and mentally-demanding amphibious exercise on Loch Lomond, under instruction by the Royal Marines from 43 Commando.

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kemp Royal Marines, Second in Command of 43 Commando, who has been the manager of the programme, said: “We are building on the training delivered by 45 Commando in Arbroath in December last year and working the players hard mentally and physically.

The aim is to develop the personal responsibility that is so important for those engaged in high-level sport in much the same way as it is for Royal Marines on operations.

“I hope the players have learnt a lot about this important part of Commando ethos and discovered something about themselves in the process.”

Jason Baggott (Melrose Rugby) was selected as the best performing player over the two-day programme and was presented with a trophy by Lt Colonel Kemp. Jason stated after the prize giving: “The training has been a good experience and we have been exposed to activities and events that we would not normally do and we are then able transfer those experiences to the Rugby field.” 

Read more about the partnership

Launched in December last year (2016), the partnership is designed to support the governing body’s identified target of enhancing the high performance behaviours and environments for players and staff of the BT Sport Scottish Rugby Academy.