Convincing win for U23s


Navy U23 XV


London Scottish

Cameron Gladwin draws two defenders to put Tom Ridehalgh into space
Man of the match Paddy McGrath supported by Drew Kinsey

This annual fixture against the London Scottish Academy, the fifth fixture in the lead up to the Inter Service competition, proved challenging but with the improvements gained during the previous games brought a comprehensive victory for the side.

On a mild evening at Richmond Athletic Ground the Royal Navy Rugby Union Under 23 squad took on London Scottish Academy. In this annual fixture both sides have experienced success in recent years.

The Royal Navy kicked off and almost immediately gave away a penalty for a high tackle. London Scottish failed to find touch and the RN relieved the pressure. For five minutes both sides tried to settle but with unforced errors neither gained an advantage. On 7 minutes the Navy weathered pressure in their own 22 forcing the Scots to infringe resulting in a scrum duly won by the Navy and the clearance kick made it into touch in the Scottish half. The Scots continued to apply pressure during which the Navy defence and in particular the back row of Drew Kinsey (6), Keaton Leyland-Jones (7) and Paddy McGrath proved extremely effective winning a penalty which landed in touch on the halfway line. Winning the line out the Navy moved the ball across the backs but a crash ball knock on in the centres stopped what was a promising movement. For the next five minutes both sides continued to try and get some advantage and control of the game. On the 17th minute after a Scottish knock on, the resultant Scrum saw the Navy move the ball across the backs with Brad Janes, fresh from his very successful tour to Japan with the UKAF team breaking through to score a magnificent individual try under the posts. It was converted by Jake Hanley (10) and the Navy took the lead 0-7.

From the restart the Scots applied pressure within the Navy 22, again the forwards reacted well, keeping their discipline and forcing the Scots to transgress. The Navy cleared their line with a penalty kick to halfway. The resultant line out was won by the impressive Keaton Leyland-Jones.

A forward pass by the Navy allowed the Scots to regroup, win the scrum and apply pressure to the Navy’s defence.  After tenacious defending by the Navy the Scots again transgressed and the penalty resulted in a lineout on the Scots 5 metre line. Success at the lineout saw the Navy move the ball back and forth across the backline with Jerome Rudder (11) receiving a fine offload from Janes to score in the corner. The try was again converted by Hanley – 28 minutes played Scots 0 – RN 14.

Shortly after Janes left the field and was replaced by Tom Ridehalgh (25). The remainder of the first half was played out with both sides trying to assert control over the game.  Halftime – London Scottish 0 Royal Navy 14

The second half started with the Navy smashing the ball up the middle with the Scots not rolling away at the breakdown. A long penalty kick into the corner by Josh Belcher (9) resulted in a throw in on the 5 metre line, won cleanly by the Navy. After a maul the ball was spun to the left from which Rudder scored his second try in the corner. The conversion was missed by Hanley. Scots 0 – Royal Navy 19. Time played 42 minutes.

The next 15 minutes saw both sides again trying to enforce their game on the opposition without success – too many unforced errors and poor decision making was evident as the Scottish players tired. On 57 minutes and after an injured Navy player was replaced, a period of sustained interplay resulted in a breakaway from halfway by Leyland-Jones before he offloaded to Rudder who accelerated scoring his hat-trick try in the corner. It was converted by Jordan Gott (15). Scots 0 – RN 26.
At this stage the coaches started to empty the bench with Callum Holbrook (16) Tam Lindsey (17), Sam Creak (18), Kyle Ashcroft (20) and Cameron Gladwin (22) joining the action.

Into the last quarter Scottish regrouped and with a concerted effort applied pressure in the Navy half which was not dealt with effectively and enabled the Scots to camp on the Navy line. After a lineout, maul and persistent rucking the Scots went over for a try which was converted. London Scottish 7 – Royal Navy 26.

After Scottish scored the Navy upped the pace and applied considerable pressure in the Scots half, although the Scots broke out occasionally it was never for long and invariably resulted in a turnover to the Navy. With five minutes to go the Navy attacked down the left with quick handling by backs and forwards alike entering the Scots 22 where after some sharper handling Adam White (21) crossed the line for the Navy’s fifth and last try. The try was converted by Gott. London Scottish 7 – Royal Navy 33.

Shortly after the final whistle sounded and the RN had achieved a very good victory with plenty of positives and a lot fewer negatives than in previous games. Final Score: London Scottish Academy 7 – Royal Navy U23 33.

Overall a considerable improvement on previous games but with much still to work on. The ability to play to a consistently high standard retaining focus, discipline and basic skills is vital as is courage, consideration and mate ship when all around you is chaos.
This marks the difference between an average team and a very good one. This group of players and team management have the potential to be a very good team capable of winning the IS Competition in November if they carry on improving the way they have done over recent weeks.

Asst Director of Rugby Aidan Riley said “A pleasing performance tonight from a group of players that are starting to get to know one another well. With several starting XV from last year’s IS Championship yet to feature this season the TSG have some hard decisions to make; this is exactly the sort of headache I had been hoping for. We are really looking forward to our next feature against Hartpury where the IS19 squad will begin to be refined”.

Defence Coach Nathan ‘Pony’ Moore commented after the game “I was really pleased with the defensive effort, we applied pressure, forcing London Scottish in to making mistakes. We are starting to implement the structure required and to maintain it when both planned and unplanned charges are made during the game”.

The next game for the Royal Navy U23 is on Sunday, 27th October 2019, Kick off 1400hrs at Hartpury College, Gloucestershire GL19 3BE. If you have the time do come along and support these young players as they continue the journey to the Inter Service Competition.

Team List: 1. Dom Cleverley 2. David Scoot 3. Kai Allton 4. Moshin Aziz 5. Sam Powell 6. Drew Kinsey 7. Keaton Leyland-Jones 8. Paddy McGrath 9. Josh Belcher 10. Jake Hanley (Captain) 11. Jerome Rudder 12. Jarty Esroy 13. Brad Janes 14. Tom Collins 15 Jordan Gott 16. Callum Holbrook 17. Tam Lindsay 18. Sam Creak 19. Kyle Ashcroft 20. Adam White 21. Cameron Gladwin 22. Cameron Cumming 23. Alex Grant 24. Sam Kretzchmar 25. Tom Ridehalgh

TSG: Asst DOR Aidan Riley, Head Coach John Court, Andy Vance (Backs), Loz Salisbury (Fwds), Pony Moore (Defence), Team Manager Rob Jones and Team Physio Kila O’Boyle.

Words: P. Pongo
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton