SHARPSHOOTERS at RAF St Mawgan had an unusual enemy in their crosshairs this week – the Cornish Pirates rugby team.
The squad spent a day training with the Air Force regiment, comparing brains and brawn and finally facing off in a tactical ‘laser-tag’ battle.
The activity sees teams hunt each other with laser-firing rifles, with all combatants wearing battery packs that light up and bleep when a shot hits its mark.
By the end of the day, the two teams concluded that there were many similarities between military and rugby training.
Ian Davies, the Pirates coach, said: “The day was great value, and, as expected concentrated on core values of leadership, teamwork, problem solving and concentration. We obviously prize these principles in rugby, but having an opportunity to test the guys outside of their own environment made for an interesting day, and helped identify some new potential from unexpected areas.
“It was no surprise to see such synergy between the military training and rugby training.”
Corporal Sam Hunt added: “The Cornish Pirates visit was a huge success and has solidified a fantastic working relationship.
“The receptiveness, enthusiasm and vigour of the squad when participating in military team building skills made them an absolute pleasure to work with and we are excited to be hosting them again later in the year for a two day visit.”
The ‘laser-tag’ session was held in an old station building, with plenty of places to hide, and proved a valuable insight into military tactics for the rugby players.
Flight sergeant Dan Boswell said: “There is a time to act and a time to consider; the secret is doing the right one at the right time. These exercises also show that despite a common aim, in a group task, someone has to determine who has specific responsibilities for a specific action as it is usually not wise to allow everyone to try to do everything – the sure way to failure on the pitch and on the battleground.”
Matt Evans, a Cornish Pirate and a Canadian Rugby International, added: “I really enjoyed the laser exercise. It seemed to be all about situational awareness and correct positioning; but the whole day has shown good practical rugby lessons, but in a different context.”
Wing Commander Philip Lamb, station commander at RAF St Mawgan, said: “I’m delighted to welcome people ‘behind the wire’ here at St Mawgan. The RAF belongs to the people, and we have a duty to remain a key and influential part of the community. We, the military, have a lot more in common with the Pirates than you might imagine and we can and should learn from each other.”