It is well documented that workers at the Woolwich armament factory established an association football team named Dial Square in 1886, shortly renamed ‘Royal Arsenal’ and leading a nomadic existence before leaving for pastures north of the river Thames . Well since then the empire has gone, the original purpose of the arsenal has gone and so has the football club. What has not changed is the need for organized recreation in the newly redeveloped arsenal site.
In 2015 residents, rather than munitions workers, led by John Gavin and Errol Slater(co-founders) decided to form a rugby football club with a focus on the TAG version of the game. Their nomadic existence (borne out of necessity owing to grass scarcity in SE18) sees them plying their skills at the MOD Woolwich barracks, behind the statue. The Welsh joke that their Principality Stadium roof is open so God can watch their team play; Royal Arsenal joke that the statue intentionally faces the opposite direction.
Every Sunday morning from 11:00 the hardy members of the Royal Arsenal Tag rugby don belts and tags and embark on the skills of evasion, passing, team play and the exhortation of playing to the laws of the game. It is a truly democratic game with all welcome and all encouraged to participate.
Fun is important but all players relish the competition, fitness and camaraderie that rugby has to offer.
If you have read about the dangers of tackling in the press recently, then this is the game for you; contact is forbidden. The onus is on cooperation and mutuality (another fine Woolwich tradition) with an aims to branch off to more competitive sessions in the future.
Please give us a go!
TAG Rugby at Royal Arsenal SE London
By Dr Robert Morgan