Pirates Outgun the Royal Navy


RN Senior XV


Cornish Pirates


In a long-anticipated return to rugby, a newly formed RN Senior XV side took on the Cornish Pirates at The Mennaye in Penzance.  With only 2 weeks to go until their first league game in the Championship, the Pirates proved tough opponents for a Navy side that had only been together for a few days.  The warm and dry conditions promised a game of expansive and exciting rugby and it was the Pirates who ultimately won an impressive 8 try victory over the Navy.

The Pirates scored first through flanker Matt Bollwell, shortly after an initially successful Navy lineout was turned over inside their own half.  Almost immediately after the restart, the home team were then penalised for not releasing and fly half Rickus Brink slotted a long-range kick from near the halfway line, securing the Navy’s only 3 points of the match. 

For the remainder of the first half, the Pirates were dominant, and they proceeded to score 5 more tries from either lineout mauls or out wide through their wingers.  Scrum-half Alex Petersen did well to apply pressure on his opposite number at the set-piece and full back Craig Duncan was impressive under the high ball, occasionally finding space amongst a well-drilled defence.  With 10 minutes remaining of the first half, several replacements were made and Dom Cleverley immediately made an impact, sending several Pirates backward in a big hit.  The Navy defence improved steadily towards the end of the first half and they were unlucky to miss a tackle on Pirates centre Rory Parata, who carved his way to the try line before ending the half 36-3. 

After the half time team talk, the Navy came back with renewed energy and forwards Ben Watson and No.8 Rory Mitchell impressed with big hits and carries under pressure.  The game began to open up and full back Craig Duncan almost made it through the Pirates defence after stealing a cross-field kick.  But despite this increase in possession and a reliable set-piece, the Navy could not find a way through the red shirts.  The Pirates made further use of their lineout maul and pace on the wings to score 3 more tries, taking the lead to 55-3 with just over 10 minutes remaining.

The final 10 minutes saw the Navy build a strong attacking platform after winning a scrum penalty on the halfway line, but after several phases of pick-and-go in the Pirates 22, the ball was eventually knocked on.  One last counter-attack by the Navy failed to yield any points and the momentum swung back in favour of the Pirates after the Navy were penalised for a high tackle.  With the clock at 80 minutes, neither team chose to kick the ball out of play and the Navy endured one last assault from the home team before the ball was knocked on.  

After the game, Head Coach Dave Pascoe said “it’s so good to be playing again, and I’m so impressed by the energy and enthusiasm these lads brought into the game today”.  

Royal Navy Rugby continues this weekend with the Royal Navy U23s taking on Hampshire Rugby at Burnaby Road in Portsmouth.

Royal Navy Line Up:

15. MNE Craig Duncan (VC), 14. MNE Kane Teear-Bourge, 13. MNE Kai Baker, 12. MNE Matthew Owen, 11. AB(CS) Ben Raivalitia, 10. MNE Markus Brink, 9. MNE Alex Peterson, 8. MNE Rory Mitchell, 7. LPTI Ben Priddey (C), 6. MNE Toby Papp, 5. LA(AH) Ben Watson, 4. MNE Josh Williams, 3. LAET Chris Warner, 2. MNE Rhys Williams, 1. LET(ME) Richie Ives

Replacements: ET(ME) Dom Cleverley, LS HM(M) Ben Illsley, AET Conner Bick, Lt Jack Cohen RM, ET(WE) Matt Scott, AB(Diver) Jack Goodey, Lt Keaton Leyland-Jones RN, MNE Joe Palmer, AB(Diver) Gavin Hughes, LAET Chris Mills, LT Matt Bowden RN, MNE Rory Dingemans, AB(SEA) Jesse Lowe, MNE Mick Stratford