Academy Left Sharks in their Wake
24 January 2024
19:00 @ Devonport Services RFC
RNRU Academy XV43
On a warm and dry evening at the Keyham ground in Plymouth, the Academy XV kicked off their season opener against the Torbay Sharks in a high-energy encounter.
Head Coach Dec Johnson, despite having only a couple of training sessions to prepare, quickly molded his team into a force. The artificial surface at Keyham set the stage for a fast-paced game, with a delayed start allowing players to arrive for the mid-week fixture. As expected, the match provided an evening of entertaining open rugby, marked by physicality in the set piece and plenty of big tackles from both sides.
The Academy XV demonstrated their ability to play with a faster pace, showcasing good ruck speed and a willingness to spread the ball wide early on. The crowd was treated to a thrill a minute encounter, with the 3G favouring the Academy's effective play in the wide spaces. The scoreboard kept ticking, with Rickus Brink's accurate kicking, including a penalty, contributing to the Academy's momentum.
Wingers Joe Clark, Kane Tear-Bourge, and Jack Davis proved their scoring prowess, with Jonah Moore adding to the tally from the number eight position. Despite a team yellow card in the second half, Moore's try highlighted the Academy's resilience. For the Sharks, Tom Osbourne scored twice from driven lineouts, displaying determination to stay in the game.
The Torbay Sharks, an experienced team, demonstrated their tenacity, attempting a fightback with well-worked phases and a converted try. However, the Academy XV maintained control, and a series of replacements further solidified their dominance.
The second half mirrored the first, with the Academy playing a high-tempo style, moving the ball at every opportunity, and securing a comprehensive 43-14 victory. Kane Teear-Bourge's remarkable solo effort, weaving past defenders to score under the posts, was a standout moment in the match.
The Academy's performance in this season opener sets a promising tone, with the team eager to build on this success in their upcoming matches. The Academy will be buoyed by this performance and will want to build on it for their next match as well as providing a great spectacle of rugby for an enthusiastic crowd.
Senior Men's XV ADoR, Owen Salmon, was on hand for both the training sessions and the match said, “It was a pleasure to watch the Academy’s game against Torbay Sharks, their commitment and discipline stood out. They were clearly well coached by Dec Johnson and played with power, pace and a willingness to attack space. It was pleasing to see a number of players perform well and some of them have been invited to train with the Snr XV. Having a strong Academy underpins the strength in depth we have across Navy Rugby and I’m looking forward to their next fixture”.
Academy XV: W Napier, C Thurgood, D Gallon; L Sutton (VC), C Lewis; E milford, C Dale, J Moore; M Coopey, R Brink (C), J Clark, D Palmer, A King, K Teear-Bourge, B Johnson.
Replacements: C Goldsmith, R Orr-Burns, C Kerr, V Delainukunawa, K Baldry, D ROnald, J Davis, M Ravudolo, J Slark, A PArry, M Hall.
Words by P Moore and O SalmonImages by C Sanders