Leading the underdogs is never an easy challenge. Petty Officer Dave Pascoe discusses the triumphs and tribulations of leading the Royal Navy rugby team to victory in the Inter Services Championship 2010.
Raise your Game: What preparation was involved ahead of that winning performance?
Dave Pascoe: We were given a 12 week training camp which allowed us to train and work hard on our strength and conditioning. This was a big step forward in our team preparation because we got to know each other inside out and on the day that shone through for us.
We also approached the mental aspect of the game and to me that's what stood us in good stead.
RYG: How proud were you to have been captain of this team?
DP: I'm very proud. It was a great honour for me to do it and it was an honour to have such a good team behind me. Working so hard towards the same goal.
RYG: What qualities make a great captain?
DP: Leadership is key but you need to earn respect so that they're prepared to follow you through thick and thin, whether that's in training or on the field.
RYG: How hard was the training leading up to this match?
DP: We had a really hard build-up. We targeted our weaknesses which were our strength and conditioning. We had some really nasty sessions in training, but they paid off in the end. We were strong, we came through and we felt fit. This showed when we scored in the dying depths of the game.
RYG: How important was the mental preparation?
DP: Many of our players had played in this tournament before and could mentally prepare, but when you have new players coming onto the side, they have no idea what to expect. Having suffered a lot of losses over the years, we needed to get the belief back that we could win and that we would win.
RYG: How important is that winning attitude?
DP: Its that 'never say can't' or that 'never say die' attitude. If you prepare properly and you have the right attitude, anything is possible and achievable.
RYG: What skills can you transfer from your role in the Royal Navy to your role on the pitch?
DP: In a working environment, you're working in a very close team whether you're on a ship or in a squadron. You're also living in very close quarters so you have to know each other inside out. This places you in an environment where teamwork and communication are very important. All of these skills are transferrable to the rugby pitch.
RYG: What was is like to hear the final whistle?
DP: Everyone's emotions were different. I was looking around as a captain to see how everyone was acting. It was almost like a weight had been lifted off us. It was over and we'd won. We had accomplished the goal that we'd worked so hard for as a group, as a team and as individuals.
RYG: What are the highlights of working in the Royal Navy?
DP: To me, this job is brilliant! The opportunities are there to explore. You need to work very hard, whether that be taking up a sport or working your way up the ladder and seeking promotion. It's really down to you.
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