Justice Served at Burnaby Road

27 March 2024

18:30 @ USSG Portsmouth

Senior Men XV


British Police

Royal Navy Rugby returned to Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, on Wednesday night, hoping to continue their run of impressive results, against some of the toughest opposition they’ve ever faced. From Exeter Chiefs to Cornish Pirates, the RNRU have been put through the paces this season, and on Wednesday night it was the turn of the British Police, who were coming off the back of an impressive win against Army Rugby the previous week. With that in mind this would turn out to be a huge test for the Navy coaches and players to see where they stand going into the Inter Services Championship.

With some key players either resting or injured this week, such as Jarrad Hayler, Jordan Gott and Ben Chambers. A few less experienced boys were given the opportunity to prove themselves to the coaches and prove themselves they did.

The stand was filled, and the flood lights were lit, as the game was kicked off it was the Police, who were looking to replicate their success from the week previous. The Police asserted forward dominance early on, finding success in the mauls and at scrum time.

The first big moment of the game came in the form of a yellow card as the Navy found themselves defending just inside their own half. An unfortunate tackle by Navy winger, Matt Hall, saw a Police player deemed to be lifted just above the horizontal, and Jack was sent to the bin for 10.

Defending with only 14 men proved too much for the Navy, and they quickly conceded from a pick and go on their own 5 metre line. Navy 0 - 5 Police.

This wasn’t the story of the half however, as a determined Navy squad came out firing, with big breaks from Number 8, Ratu Vakalutukali, and Inside Centre, Jamin Hoffman, who picked up a try himself late into the first half.

The back and forth first half was brutal, with physicality at every break down and every tackle. It finished with two tries a piece, going back into the changing rooms at half time all level, at 12 - 12. A fitting score, really summing up the hard, contested match that was the first half.

The second half kicked off, and the half time talk had RNRU looking like a different team. With newfound dominance in the Navy defence, the Police found themselves often having to play out of their own 22.

This defensive dominance gave Navy Rugby freedom to play when they did have the ball, putting the ball through the hands and finding success down the left wing on more than a few occasions. Hanley’s touch from the boot and out of hand was laser accurate.

It was the Navy’s game to lose in the second half, as their relentless effort to keep the Police inside their own 22, opened the door for several tries, stretching the scoring to a very safe 33 - 12.

The impact off the bench was also too much for the police, as centre replacement, Setareki Raumakita, was unstoppable with his constant barrage of powerful tackling. As well as winger replacement, Kane Teear-Bourge, beating multiple defenders with his pace on the outside, and managing to bag a try of his own.

The British Police had moments of hope in the second half, such as an intercept try that ran the length of the field, and the Police prop able to sneak his way over the try line, breaking away from a maul without anybody noticing. However, these moments were too little too late, and they couldn’t back it up against the brute force of the Navy defence. Leaving the final score at an impressive 40 - 24 Navy win.

Head Coach Dave Pascoe had this to say about the game. “A great result after a disappointing French Trip. The British Police put up a very physical contest which has given us solid preparation moving towards the Inter Services Championship. Some stand out individual performances will make for some healthy selection headaches”.

A huge win for the RNRU against a team that bettered the Army, as preparations are now well-advanced heading into the Inter Services Championship. The first game of which kicks off against the RAF on the 20th of April at Brickfields, Plymouth.

Tickets are available from:  Navy v RAF 2024 - Albion (plymouthalbion.com)

Senior Men: G Evans, J Wright, B Watson (C); J Williams, W Scott, C Mills, B Mallett, R Vakalutukali; D Rutter, J Hanley, J Ryder, J Hoffman, K Dobson, M Hall, R, Dingemans.

Replacements: K Allton, D Cleverley, M Scott, D MacAdams, L Roxby, R Hume, AJ King, S Raumakita, K Teear-Bourge.

Words by Archie Carter-Humphries

Images by Cinnabar Studios