Malta and Navy Renew Their Alliance

The historic links between Malta and the Royal Navy go back to the 1800s. Many know of the strategic important role that Malta played particularly in World War II. However the Navy has also employed a significant number of Maltese sailors from those earliest ties. Recently Navy rugby has had within its ranks two Maltese rugby internationals in Jamie Caruana (RNAS Culdrose) and Kyle Mason (RNAS Yeovilton). The next three weeks are going to prove very busy for Kyle as the 2009 Inter Services coincides with two very important World Cup qualifying matches for Malta. On Saturday 18th Kyle will travel with the Malta squad to Riga where the islanders will be looking to continue their winning run against the Latvians – having beaten them twice in successive European Cup competitions. Malta need to win the match if they are to keep the qualification hopes alive when they entertain the Netherlands at Valetta a week later. Whilst most of the squad will enjoy a leisurely trip from Latvia to Malta, Kyle will return to the UK for the match against the RAF at Newbury on 22 April. Similarly immediately after the match against the Dutch Kyle will return to the UK to rejoin the Navy squad as they make their final preparations for the annual Army match. Though it will be a hectic schedule it has been made easier through the collaboration of Navy Rugby and the Malta Rugby Football Union and of course through the dedication and hard work of Kyle himself. Commenting on the arrangements Navy Director of Rugby Lt Cdr Geraint Ashton Jones said: “Naturally everyone within the squad are delighted that Kyle is able to further his international ambitions. We have been fortunate this season to have two players away with England Sevens and I view this no differently. The Malta coach has been very understanding and I believe between the two of us we have an arrangement that suits all parties. I am sure that when Kyle rejoins the squad he will have gained from his experiences with Malta and will bring something extra into the Navy squad.” Photograph coutresy of Marine Nationale Presse - Kyle Mason makes a tackle against the Marine Nationale 2008