This was to be the RNRU(W) first tour outside the UK since the Navy Women were formed 8 years ago writes Cdr Paula Rowe, AD RNRU(W). The squad was entered into the Cyprus 10s, with the blessing of the RNRU and support from the Sports Lottery and RNWSO. The team gathered at HMS COLLINGWOOD on Sat 26 May to start training in preparation for the competition. The team seemed to grasp the concept of what 10s rugby was all about, off loading in the tackle, support, not committing too many players to the break down and a hard-faced defence. The team arrived in Cyprus late on Sun 27 May and moved to their accommodation. The following morning the team trained hard in preparation for the evening’s fixture against the Akrotiri Swallows. The other women’s team in the competition had pulled out, so it was now going to be a 3-leg competition only. Games, Mon, Wed and a Final on Fri was the programme. Mon 28 May Leg 1 v Akrotiri Swallows v RNRU(W) 0-27 The first half saw the Swallows try and play 15 a-side rugby, kicking for touch at every opportunity however, this played into the hands of the Navy Women who kept them pinned down in their own half for the entire 1st half. Score Half Time 0-0 After a brief and straight discussion at Half Time the Navy came out and within a minute scored, with some fantastic off loading in the tackle, which destroyed the Swallows defence. Again and again the Navy tore apart the Swallows to the adulation of the gathering crowd. Jade Whitby playing as Full Back, I/S Centre and Lineout jumper scored twice, Skipper Paula Bennett-Smith, Taff Hopkins and Vic Rivets all collect tries with Hopkins landing one conversion. Wed 30 May Leg 2 Akrotiri Swallows v RNRU(W) 0 - 34 This time a later game gave the Navy Women an opportunity to watch some of the other male teams in the competition and add support to HMS Sutherland and HMS Northumberland as they battled through the early rounds. The game was a complete opposite to that of Mon; the Navy started strong and only some desperate tackles from the Swallows stopped the Navy scoring early. However, the Navy’s class and experience started to show and Rivett scored with a charge through the heart of the Swallow defence. This was joined by another 2 tries in quick succession. The Navy forwards were also taking the Swallows to task in the 5 man scrums: Rivets, Williams, Osman, Bennett-Smith and Roseamon put the Swallows under great pressure. The free run that Hopkins had enjoyed at S/H was effectively closed as the Swallows learned quickly from their first match. However, again they just couldn’t cope with the off load and support by the whole of the Navy team. In defence the Navy stopped the Swallows on or behind the gain line and then drove them backwards. Kristy Forward playing at wing/centre performed well with some good strong tackling and hard running which put the Swallows squarely onto the back foot. The Navy women ran out eventual winner by 34 pts to nil. This meant that the silverware was destined for the UK. But the Navy wanted to finish strongly. Fri 1 Jun Leg 3 RNRU(W) 17 Akrotiri Swallows 0 A clean sweep by the Navy and keeping the home team to 0 pts made the trip worthwhile. A great tour by the Navy Women and one that we aim to repeat next year as the Defending Champs!!!!!