Awesome Navy beat the RAF
RN Senior XV
RAF Senior Men
The Navy laid down a real marker in the opener of the 2019 Inter Services Championship with a performance of the highest quality against the RAF at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday.
Prior to the match many felt that it was too close to call. The Navy had recently demolished the Marine Nationale, whilst the RAF are current IS champions fielding a squad packed with talent. However, from the whistle there was only one team in it. The Navy’s performance against the French had been the best in years, but in front of this large crowd the Senior Service were magnificent and controlled the game throughout. They dominated both territory and possession whilst their defence was well organised and brutal.
After the early exchanges the game was tied at 3-3 when it snapped into life on the 20 min mark. Craig Duncan made one of his many breaks, before the ball was moved to Ed Pascoe who made a monstrous 20 meter carry only be held up just short. Rees and Lloydal moved the ball quickly enabling Duncan to touch down in the corner. The RAF then enjoyed a rare spell of possession resulting in a pick and go try. Just before half time Rees scored another penalty for the Navy making the score 13-10 at the break.
In the second half the Navy produced a mature 40 minutes of rugby, taking the game by the scruff of the neck and suffocating the RAF. Early in the half they produced a training ground move which saw Duncan slice through the RAF defence finding Eldon Myers who produced a classy finish. With the introduction of Nath Huntley the Navy really started to fire and were causing the RAF all sorts of problems. With 10 minutes to go Huntley scored to make the final score 25-10.
Pascoe and Duncan were outstanding, but this was a fine squad performance that will have undoubtedly caught the attention of the Army. The RAF played their part in an entertaining fixture, but they weren’t allowed to establish a foothold in the game. Whenever they put a series of phases together they were knocked back by a relentless Dark Blue wall. They will return, and you wouldn’t bet against them to beat the Army.
This year the Navy made the bold decision to reduce their camp by a month and it appears to have paid off. The players are looking both fit and massive. The most important factor however is the culture within this current squad. The group are a tight knit unit, training hard and making the right choices both in and off the field. This is not a squad of national league and championship players, this is a squad of humble athletes who have earnt their right to wear the jersey and they’re doing it a fine service.
“We are playing well, but we’ve achieved nothing yet. This feeling, the way we’re playing, will all be forgotten if we don’t turn up against the Army. The RAF are a great side, but we deserved that win. We were better on the night, but the Army at Twickenham is a completely different challenge. We have two difficult fixtures against Richmond and Hampshire. We need to prepare well, if we get the preparation right, who knows what this squad can go on to achieve”, said Head Coach Dave Pascoe.
The next Senior XV fixture is away at Richmond RFC, Wednesday 17 April, KO 1945.
Navy v RAF team list:
Words: Oliver Mason
Image: © Alligin Photography