29 Cdo RA Win Navy Sevens

29 Cdo RA narrowly defeated 30 Cdo RM, 14 – 12, to win the 2014 Royal Navy Rugby Union Unit Sevens, held at Weymouth RFC. The finale was a fitting culmination of a great day of 7s rugby which was dominated by the ‘Commando’ teams although BRNC, Ocean and Trenchant had their moments.

Probably the pick of the pool matches was 30 Cdo RM’s game against Commando Logistics Regiment. Gaz Evans led 30 Cdo RM, and had fellow capped players, Nathan Huntley and Silvi Buinimasi alongside him. A quick start brought two tries before Cdo Logs’ own capped player, ‘Toots’ Vakalutukali reminded those watching why he is one of Navy Rugby’s most promising players. His solo break opened up 30 Cdo’s defence to bring the game back to a single score. However 30 Cdo RM proved too strong and were convincing winners in the end. Their second pool match was against HMS Trenchant, the sole submarine represented at the 7s. Though they gave their all, and did their Boat proud, they were never going to cause an upset.

The other Fleet representative, HMS Ocean, faired slightly better, making it through to the quarter finals. An early try saw them briefly hold the lead before 40 Cdo RM over powered them to ease through to a semi final meeting with 29 Cdo, who had earlier eliminated Cdo Logs from the competition. In the other half of the draw BRNC staged a remarkable come back against 30 Cdo RM and having been out of the game produced two tries in quick succession to put some pressure on the Royal Marines side. However with seconds remaining 30 Cdo secured possession from the kick off and went the length of the field to score the decisive try and secure a semi final meeting with HMS Heron. Despite first half tries from Ben Clarke and Gareth Cadmore, Heron were always struggling to contain 30 Cdo and as the replacements were made the difference in the depth of squads was to be decisive. Evans’ team secured a final between the two form teams of the day.

With a slight slope in their favour 30 Cdo RM started the final the more brightly of the two sides. However two unforced errors gifted 29 Cdo RA possession. They scored tries from both to lead 14 – 0 at half time. It looked as if the match was over but the second half was dominated by 30 Cdo. A piece of individual Huntley skill set up the first try before Evans crossed for a second. However having missed a conversion they still trailed by two points with time fast running out. They achieved the first part of the challenge by securing possession. However a third fumble proved costly as 29 Cdo regained possession and with time up kicked the ball out for a 14-12 victory.

Luke Robinson, their Captain, had showed why he has been selected for the Army Sevens team, producing a number of good individual displays but more importantly leading his team well and ensuring that they played with good 7s structure. Overall they were deserving of the victory but it is never easy to see a Navy trophy go to an Army side.

Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones

Welcome to Navy Sevens - HMS Trenchant had the unenviable task of meeting 30 Cdo RM in their first game
Luke Robinson receives the Navy Sevens Cup from Ady Cherrington
The winning 29 Cdo RA team, RNRU Sevens Champions 2014
Ben Clarke escapes Gaz Evans clutches in the semi final
29 Cdo RA try to out flank CLR’s defence
Toots Vakalutukali finds there is no way through the 29 Cdo defence
Chris Macdonald, HMS Ocean, stops a BRNC attack in its tracks