RNRU u23s Weather a Perfect Storm in Kernow




Cornwall u20s

The Royal Navy Rugby union have a strong relationship with Cornwall Rugby, from Lieutenant Chris Alcock RN who captained the Cornwall team to County Championship success in 1991, to the likes of Sam Matevesi, Ben Priddey and Ed Pasco in latter years. It’s fantastic to get this fixture back on the calendar and a big thank you to Cornwall Rugby and Hayle RFC for hosting the game. For the youngsters who have pulled on their representative shirt for the first time, it will have been quite the experience.

CRFU President John Sumnall said before the game, “It is great to get this year’s county rugby kicked off with this prestigious fixture against the Royal Navy U23. We thank everyone at Hayle RFC for hosting us and allowing us to use their facilities.”

The game itself was a great spectacle despite the Cornish weather. The endeavour from both sides was impressive despite the conditions in the first half. The Navy had to opponents in the first half, the other being the elements. Cornwall’s game plan was as expected, direct and kick long into the corners; both teams tackled hard and managed to keep play going, moving the ball through the hands, trying to settle into their patterns and training ground plays. For the first 20 mins the Navy were unable to cross the halfway line, Cornwall attacked well taking advantage of the Navy’s over-eager line speed.

On the 10 min mark, Cornwall’s Hooker Pritchard capitalised on a mistimed RN line out to burst through and score, converted 7-0. The Navy side was testing the Cornish defence who held strong, some big tackles from both side but neither team were able to break through. At times a bit of panic kicking allowed the Cornish boys some good territory, but they were unable to capitalise. A penalty from Cornwall in front of the posts extended their lead 10-0. Just before half time the Navy managed to build through the phases, AJ Hussell finished under the sticks from the 3rd pick and go, with Kieran Manson converting. The Navy had closed the gap: 10-7 HT.

The weather cleared! Both sides made changes and came out from the changing rooms charged and ready to go. The weather of the first half stopped the game from being played at the pace it deserved, it was yoyo affair, but it was the Navy who were more clinical in their play, keeping the ball and running some strong lines. Prop and skipper Dom Cleverly scored the second try of the game and it wasn’t long until hepicked up a loose ball on the opposition 22 and rampaged his way through Cornish defence to score his second which Scott slotted over, 10 - 19.

The pressure was building from the Navy; Cornwall tried to defend their channels, but the space was created out wide for the Oli Raynor to score. Cornwall never gave up and pushed the Navy in all areas. Simple errors were creeping into the Cornish game: a few simple passes were dropped, or kicks sliced. Their opportunity came after a line out and good pressure to allow centre Andrewatha to score after a deft chip into space behind the Navy's defensive line; the conversion was good 17-24. The game became even more energised, fantastic breaks from both sets of wingers on either side, some heavy and hard carrying from the forwards but it was centre Scott for the Navy who had the last say, charging through the Cornwall line. The try was converted by Raynor, 17 - 31 to the men in blue.

DoR Rob O’Kane commented, “…our defence was huge, particularly in the second half, and the energy the boys had, and their physicality, is what saw them through to victory…overall it bodes really well for the coming challenges, the first of which is a big game against Exeter before the start of the u23 Inter-Service Championship”.

The u23s next match is against an Exeter Outreach XV at Sandy Park, Exeter on Wed 9 Nov; KO 1900.

RNRU u23s vs. Cornwall u20s: Cleverly, J Wright, Vincent; Watson, Paterson; Utton-Smith, Cann, Hussell; Cumming, Manson; J Davis, Scott, Bartlett, Prentice, Marsden.

Rees, Wales, H Wright, Greenwood, Kerr, C Davies, Angliss, Griffiths, Raynor, Elliot

Words and Images by G Pallet