RN defeat RNZN and RAN to Win the Babcock Commonwealth Cup

16 September 2022

19:00 @ Plymouth Albion RFC

Senior Men XV


Royal Australian Navy

The Royal Navy have retained the Commonwealth Cup after convincing wins against the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Royal Australian Navy at Brickfields, the home of Plymouth Albion.

In the opening match, the Royal Navy beat their counterparts from NZ by 26-12. Before the action began, a minute's silence was held in tribute to the Queen, as well as a rousing rendition of 'God Save The King'.

The Senior Service were quick to make an impact in the match and raced into a 21-0 lead. While the Royal New Zealand Navy improved in the second half, it wasn't enough as they were beaten by 14 points.

Tries from Rhys Williams, the tournament’s top try scorer and Leeds Tykes trialist, his replacement at hooker, Connor Bick, and team captain Hayler demonstrated the strength of the pack. A try from Jesse Lowe, another player catching the eye of Cornish Pirates, and three kicks at goal from Jordan Gott (who plays for Taunton Titans) was the back’s contribution to the score line.

In their second encounter, the Royal Navy sealed the deal with a 23-13 win against their Aussie counterparts. The RN made a couple of changes with Dom Cleverley coming in at Loose Head, Ben Raivalitia, a trialist at Scarlets, coming in on the right wing with Chambers moving to the left and playmakers Gott and Hanley switching positions.

Maintaining their confidence in the Second Row, Josh Williams (England Age Groups) and Dean Roger (Scotland Age Groups) more used to playing against each other were paired up again. Williams was nominated as Player of the Tournament for his ball carrying, strong defence and his control of the line out which resulted in 2 tries from Rhys Williams from driving mauls. Gott and Hanley, who plies his trade at Hartpury RFC, shared the kicking duties, scoring 5 and 8 points respectively.

Australia made a strong impression in the opening stages and forced the Senior Service to work hard in defence. After the Aussies were reduced to 14 men after an illegal no-arms tackle, the Royal Navy capitalised on their advantage and took a 13-6 lead into the half time break.The visitors mounted a strong comeback campaign in the second forty, but it wasn't enough to break through the solid Royal Navy defence. A 10-point victory meant the Navy could celebrate a title win.

In the final game the Royal Australian Navy ended their Commonwealth Cup campaign with 20-10 victory over their antipodean rivals, lifting the Stokes-Shelford Cup.

A penalty from Fraser Baird and two tries from Erik Schneider and Thomas Hiramatsu meant the Australians sauntered into a 13-0 lead. However, Paula Ulakai's score for New Zealand made sure it remained a contest. In the final ten minutes, Australia sealed the win thanks to Conor Trudgen before Keanau Howe finished the match with a consolation try for the New Zealand Navy.

The next Senior’s game is tentatively scheduled to take place on 8 Feb against Oxford University at Burnaby Road. The next RNRU representative fixture is the u23s vs Cardiff Met on 9 Oct at Cyncoed Campus, (KO 1400).

RNRU vs. RNZN: LET(ME) Richie Ives, MNE Rhys Williams, LA(AH) Ben Watson; MNE Dean Roger, MNE Josh Williams; MNE Toby Papp, Lt Mitchell Spencer RN, Lt Jarrard Hayler RM; LAET Sam Carter, AET Jordan Gott; MNE George Prentice, AB (SEA) Jesse Lowe, MNE Seta Raumakita, POAET Ben Chambers, AB Jake Hanley.

AET Connor Bick, ETME Dom Cleverley, Lt Russell Orr Burns RN, LCpl Rory Mitchell, MNE George Wagstaff, AET Jay Toogood, AB Sean McKervail, AB Jamie Maleham.

RNRU vs. RAN: ETME Dom Cleverley, MNE Rhys Williams, LA(AH) Ben Watson; MNE Dean Roger, MNE Josh Williams; MNE Toby Papp, Lt Mitchell Spencer RN, Lt Jarrard Hayler RM; AET Jay Toogood, AB Jake Hanley; POAET Ben Chambers, AB Jesse Lowe, MNE Seta Raumakita, AB Ben Raivalitia, AET Jordan Gott.

AET Connor Bick, LET(ME) Richie Ives, Lt Russell Orr Burns RN, AB Dan Macadams, LCpl Rory Mitchell, AB William Rigelsford, AB Sean McKervail, AB Jamie Maleham.


Words by J Campbell-Baldwin

Images by Mark Deller, Lee Crabb, David Cunningham / RNRU and Michael Ferris / BRNC