A summer of Rugby 7s starts for the RNRU
Hartpury 7s Competition
On Saturday 19th May the Royal Navy Rugby Union Sharks and Stingrays travelled to Hartpury Collage to face the challenge of their first 7s tournament of the season. The sun was shining and both teams made a good start, however couldn’t progress past the semi-final of the knock out stage of the competition.
The squad met on Thursday for in readiness for a whole day of training on the Friday. Both teams came together and all players were tested on their base line fitness, and the new players were introduced to the plays and tactics of the Sharks so they could understand their individual requirements for the match day.
The teams were in different groups for the group stage of the tournament. The Sharks and Stingrays were drawn against some new teams this tournament who had already played this season, and with teams including last year’s winners the Warriors 7s and the Godfathers entered into the competition, the day was going to be a tough test.
The Sharks were playing first against the Smiths St Bernard’s 7s; from the start both teams were cautious and tried to avoid contact, the ball was able to flow but it was not until 4 minutes were played when Ben Jeacock was released out wide for the first score, Rhys Dimmock-Williams converted and the Sharks took the lead 7-0 and it stayed that way up to half time. After the break the Sharks changed their mind set to a more attacking one and this resulted in Ross Williams scoring twice before Dimmock-Williams and Charlie Heard added more tries to finish the first game winners 33 - 0.
The Stingrays had a tough group. They first played the Barracuda Hunters. Their effort levels were always there, Chris Mills and Tom Penman combined well but they were never able to convert their breaks, a consolation score was not enough against a well drilled opposition and they went down 40 - 7.
After an hour break the Sharks next faced the Cat’s 7s. The game did not start as expected with the Cats scoring first 7 - 0, and it was not until the 5th minute when Heard was on the end of a strike move converted by Rhys Williams to level the score 7 – 7. On the 7th minute Ben Chambers chipped ahead but only managed to score out wide for a 7 – 12 lead at half time. After the break the Cat’s sunk their claws into the Sharks scoring 2 tries to rock the boat and make the Sharks react which they did in the 13th minute of play when Chambers spotted a miss-match in midfield and sliced through the defence to score under the posts for a narrow win 17 – 19 at fulltime.
The next two games for the Stingrays were very similar to the first, they faced well organised opposition the Godfathers (lost 44 - 5) and Empire 7’s( lost 50 - 7). They had periods of good possession but were unable to cross the try line, in both games they once managed to score but they were never able to make a proper impact. Declan Johnson was strong throughout with support from HMS KENT’s Ben Allen, Mariners’ John Bola and Manoa Satala were guiding the new players to the team and creating space for the players to play.
The Stingrays faced the South Wales Wildcats in their quarter final game. Both teams were equally matched in the first half; the Wildcats scored first near the posts and converted but Mills for the Stingrays responded out wide to finish the first half trailing 5 - 7. The second half was as tough and evenly matched as the first but the Wildcats managed to get 2 scores ahead. With time running out Dave Hemming scored under the posts but this was not enough and the game finished 12 - 21 and for the Stingrays the tournament was over.
With Luke’s Ba Ba’s withdrawing from the tournament the Sharks progressed to the quarter fnals where they faced the Latvian side Livonia. Tristan Trehan opened the score with a good turn of pace down the left wing to score in the corner 5 - 0, but it was the Latvians who got the next score by coasting through the Sharks’ defence to score under the posts 5 – 7. Ben Chambers added another for the Sharks to finish ahead at half time 12 - 7. After the break Dimmock-Williams broke from the regain to score in the corner 17 – 7. The Latvians never gave up and scored again to close the gap 17 - 12, and then the Sharks took control with Chambers and Dimmock-Williams adding another for a brace of tries, but in the closing minutes Livonia scored and the game ended 29 – 17 and the Sharks progressed to the semi-final.
The Barracuda Hunters were the opposition. They had comfortably defeated the Stingrays in the group stage so this was going to be a tough game. Playing on the 4G surface the Hunters raced to 21 - 0 lead over the Sharks, their wingers were used to the surface and the width of the pitch to best advantage. It took a try from Heard to get the Sharks back into the game but it was too little too late in the game as the Hunters scored again to make it 28 – 5. In the closing minutes Luke Cooper broke from his 22 to score a try by running the length of the pitch for a final score 28 - 12.
For the first tournament this season both teams should be proud of their efforts, they faced some very experienced 7s teams and the Barracuda Hunters went on to win the Tournament. Next up for the Royal Navy 7s is the South West 7s, at Cleve Bristol where the Sharks and Stingrays will be joined by the Makos (RNRU Women 7s team) on Saturday 2nd June.
S.Naulago (team captain), C.Heard, J.O’Rourke ,J.Myburgh, R.Williams, R.D-Williams, B. Chambers, L.Cooper, B.Jeacock, J.Griggs, T.Trehan, C.Mean.
C.Mills (team captain), C.Paterson, D. Hemming, A.White, B.Allen, M.Satala, D.Johnson, T.Penman, J.Bola, J.Kretz, A.Kovula, B.Roden.
Words: Guy Pallett
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton