Aviva Premiership rugby team the Exeter Chiefs have been put through their paces by the Royal Navy during two days of training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

Transporting equipment and the team across a mock chasm using ropes and wooden planks was among a host of challenges faced by the squad and their coaching staff.

The challenges are similar to those given to the Royal Navy officer cadets to develop their leadership skills during their 30-week Initial Naval Training Course.

Warrant Officer Bill Bailey, BRNC’s physical development officer, said: ‘The idea of the sessions with the Chiefs was to move away from a physical challenge and to introduce them to various styles of leadership to test them as individuals and as small teams and that they can hopefully transfer onto the pitch.’

The squad also spent time out on the River Dart carrying out various waterborne activities.

These included competitive gig racing, which was intended to improve further their teamwork.

Keen to challenge his squad in different areas away from the training fields, Exeter Chiefs head coach Rob Baxter said: ‘It’s always nice to get the squad into different environments, particularly those that you can use to challenge them in ways we can’t achieve in normal rugby training. Going down to Dartmouth for a few days was not only one of those opportunities to test the guys at something a little bit different, but it got them thinking outside the box, which you have to do at times on the pitch.

It was nice to put the guys into a different ­environment, but at the same time to let them make use of a great facility that’s almost right on our doorstep.’

BRNC’s rugby team are the current holders of the Navy Cup.

The BRNC rugby team was established last year due to the college reintroducing competitive sport into its curriculum.

BRNC Commanding Officer, Captain Henry Duffy, said: ‘During initial naval training we’re looking to develop the fighting spirit required to succeed on operations and a number of core values. These core ­values include courage, commitment and discipline.

‘Sport is one way of doing this, as these attributes are just as important in professional sportsmen and women.

‘We were very pleased to share our training methods with the Exeter Chiefs and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the club.’