Six members of the Saracens senior academy took time out on Tuesday to visit HMS Blazer, a patrol vessel stationed at St Katherine’s Dock in London.
Academy manager Don Barrell led his very own crew on to the 52 tonne vessel to meet ex-Saracen analyst now HMS Blazer’s Executive Officer, Ash Coates, who introduced everyone to Captain of the ship Lieutenant Amie Jackson.
The players were given a guided tour of the boat (which has been most recently used in security operations in the London Olympics and Queens Diamond Jubilee Pageant) and after meeting the members of the crew, they sailed up the Thames towards the Thames Flood Barrier near Woolwich.
“The visit gave us a great opportunity for some of our senior academy players to get to know some active service personnel who live and work aboard HMS Blazer,” explained Barrell. “The boys learned about how these servicemen and women function as a team in the both the workplace and their living quarters
“It was a great experience for us all, and I’d like to thank the crew of HMS Blazer for their time and hospitality today; it has been a worthwhile experience and the lads have really enjoyed themselves.”
HMS Blazer Executive Officer Coates said: “The Royal Navy and Saracens have a great partnership and we are extremely happy to show some of Saracens’ future stars around the boat. We hope it gave the young players an insight into what the Royal Navy does and how we function as crew and I really thought the lads bought into the day and they were a credit to the club throughout the trip.”
Nick Auterac, Max Crumpton, Matt Hankin, Ben Spencer, Scott Spurling and Sam Stanley made the trip.
“The highlight of the day though was Max Crumpton mistaking The Greenwich Naval College as Buckingham Palace,” said prop Auterac.
“In all seriousness though, it was interesting to see how the crew worked as a team in enclosed living conditions, and also how well the crew communicated throughout the day. I enjoyed the day and we are grateful for everyone connected with HMS Blazer for inviting us.”