Vikings to Test Royal Navy’s Progress

Gareth Rees John is given a start at scrum half as he continues his battle with Cory Moore
Jon Humphrey returns at fullback and will give the Royal Navy more kicking options
Harrison Marsh (right) is selected on the bench whilst Jarrard Hayler continues his fine form at openside flanker
Seta Raumakita will bring a powerful running presence to the wing
Dave Fairbrother makes his first Senior XV start since the International Defence Rugby Cup
Richard Cadywould and Silevnusi Buinimasi provide experience on the bench for the match against Richmond Vikings

Richmond, a club with strong Royal Navy links, are enjoying a renaissance at present and will provide the Royal Navy with their sternest test of the season so far.  February has now passed and the three wins have laid a solid foundation for the remainder of the Inter Service preparations.  But the games against Richmond Vikings, Hampshire and the visit to the cauldron of Toulon’s Stade Mayol for the capped game against Marine Nationale, will go along way to defining what can be expected come the end of April.

The struggles of Richmond in the early days of professional rugby are well documented.  The days when they fielded an all star cast including former Royal Navy and England wing Spencer Brown.  Their demise and a period in administration, at the time, must have seen the darkest period for a club with such a rich history dating back to 1861.  However, their journey to re-establish themselves has been a very successful one and serves as a worthwhile template as to how to grow a thriving sports club.  The stalwarts who rescued Richmond out of administration have built a club that exudes all the traditional values that the game and indeed the Royal Navy hold dear.  A warm welcome is always afforded before and after matches but the Richmond teams reserve the warmest welcome for those who take the field against them.

With a first team sitting ten points clear at the top of National One and their Vikings side unbeaten this season, the Royal Navy know that they will have to raise their game if they are to keep February’s momentum going.  It is therefore of little surprise that the side is beginning to have a more settled feel about it with fewer changes being made in selection.

Ben Priddey will skipper a side that sees just the one change in the pack, as Dave Fairbrother makes a first appearance of the season in place of the injured Lewis Cooper.  Whilst behind the scrum Gareth John Rees gets the nod over Cory Moore and Ben Chambers makes way for the returning Seta Raumakita.  Finally, the experienced Jon Humphrey returns to control the back three from fullback and add to the Royal Navy’s kicking options.

On the bench Harrison Marsh replaces fellow U23 Joe Burton as a replacement prop with Ben Watson giving way to Ollie Mason at lock.  Cover for the outside backs is provided by the experienced duo of Silvenusi Buinimasi and Richard Cadywould.

Royal Navy Senior XV v Richmond Vikings, Richmond Athletic Ground, 2 March 2016 KO:19:45

Royal Navy Senior XV: Gareth Evans *, Ben Priddey * (Capt), Chris Warner, Edd Pascoe *, John Lamsin *, Ben Fox *, Jarrard Hayler *, Dave Fairbrother *, Gareth John Rees, Nathan Huntley *, Matt Bowden *, Matt Tichias *, Sam Davies *, Seta Raumakita *, Jon Humphrey *
Replacements: Harry Collins *, Chris Robinson, Harrison Marsh, Ollie Mason, Timo Kava, Cory Moore, Silvenuis Buinimasi *, Richard Cadywould
* Denotes capped player

Article by Geraint Ashton Jones
Images by Alligin Photography / © John Walton, © Lee Crabb & © Geraint Ashton Jones