Frustrated Navy Go Down Fighting in France

16 March 2024

16:00 @

Senior Men XV


Marine Nationale

Kristan Dobson’s last-minute try brought a wry smile to the TSG’s faces in a game littered with inconsistencies. On as a replacement his obvious talent and eye for a gap suggest that he has put himself in a good position for the RAF fixture– we shall see. Eyeing up the space on the Navy 10m line he burned past the defenders to make 20 metres. The next phase play had him repositioned on the right flank scoring a try resulting in a 19 – 7 victory to RCMN.

The way the game was going to be played was spelled out in the first kick return when Ben Chamber’s opposite number was escorted off the pitch having come off worse after a huge collision.

In a game where kicking out of hand and off the tee were key, it was the RN who came off worse in the first 30 minutes losing Raumakita to a yellow card and finding themselves 13 – 0 down due to the pinpoint accuracy from the boot of the French 15 and a try due to an overlap.

The penalties came thick and fast against the Navy, seemingly penalised for every minor infraction. Captain Jarrard Hayler admirably maintained his cool when permitted to speak to the referee.

A change occurred and the plays improved. The RN was primed for a try on the short side, the pass to Chris Mills didn’t stick but the Navy were in a good position and scrummaging well. A significant call from the referee just before half time allowed RCMN to clear their lines, though to the supporters it appeared that the French pulled the maul down as it made ground to within a short distance from the line.

An unideal start to the second half saw Jordan Gott leave the field for the RN’s second yellow. Two players came together for a 50/ 50 ball, the player who go up quickest was deemed to have caused the incident and was given a 10-minute rest.

The niggles became more obvious to the spectators. Debutant scrum half Will Rigelsford was unceremoniously ejected from a ruck and found himself surrounded by French players. The benefit of the doubt for whatever happened was given to RCMN. The opposition full back duly converted – anything just inside the halfway and he could knock it over.

With 10 minutes to go RCMN had their final successful kick at goal. An offside followed by a quick march forward by the referee put the shot easily in range drawing further bemused smiles from the TSG.

Like in the Women’s game the Men broke the duck in the final act drawing huge cheers from the travelling supporters. A tough game to watch. Both teams wanted to play but it never achieved the spectacle it was meant to be. RCMN won back the trophy and remain unbeaten at home since 2008.

Team captain Jarrard Hayler felt “…that it was a great match up and both teams fought hard till the end. An unfortunate result for the Navy team in a peculiar game however I couldn’t fault the lads’ effort and heart all the way through. Focus swiftly shifts to celebrating the 9 new caps who all thoroughly deserve it. Even though it’s a loss, it’s a step in the right direction to [achieve] back-to-back IS.”

Dave Pascoe echoed the sentiment. “Always a tough ask in France to come away with a result. I thought we played with great intent and embraced the opportunity of welcoming 9 new caps into RNRU history. Team should be proud of themselves, and we are looking forward to our next fixture.”

The Senior Men next take on the British Police in Portsmouth on 27 Mar, KO 1830.

Senior Men: K Beasley, R Williams, D Cleverley; D MacAdams*, J Williams; C Mills*, J Hayler (C), S Matavesi; W Rigelsford*, J Gott, B Chambers (VC), A King*, S Raumakita, K Teear-Bourge*, C Duncan.

Replacements: B Mallett*. T Lindsay*, B Watson, W Scott, AJ Hussell*, J Toogood, D Rutter, K Dobson*.

*Awarded Royal Navy Rugby Union Cap.

Words by J Campbell-Baldwin

Images by Jarrad Hulm