Chambers Hat Trick As Navy Finally Find Their Form
RN Senior XV v Japan
For wingers to shine others in the team have to graft and the match against Japan was no exception. Ben Chambers and Dave Fairbrother may well have caught the headlines with the five tries they shared between them but it started from the very front, where skipper Kyle Mason, with the number 1 on his back ensured that his front five provided the platform from which the Navy could build its all court game.
With the ball on the front foot, Johnny Stephen exploded into life with numerous trademark sniping runs. When he did move the ball, flyhalf Richard Cadywould, provided width and variety in attack along with a sublime cross-field kick for Ben Chambers second try. Likewise Jarrad Hayler was able to again show what an effective broken field runner he is whilst also working tirelessly at the breakdown to either maintain the Royal Navy’s continuity or to steal Japan’s ball. Whilst Hayler likes to find the gap through which to run, he regularly found Dave Fairbrother on his shoulder, whose abrasive and powerful runs were proving so difficult for Japan’s defence to handler as he often looked to run through the opposition.
Alongside Hayler and Fairbrother, in the backrow, was Ben Fox whose work away from the limelight was equally valuable. Frequently it was he who made the gains in the short-range pick and goes around the breakdown whilst his work on the floor prevented Japan from lifting the tempo of the play after the tackle.
The early play was fairly even with both sides having chances. However it wasn’t long before the Navy’s pressure began to be rewarded with penalties and Cadywould was able to build the home side’s lead. Three straightforward kicks soon made it 9-0 with the Navy always coming away from Japan’s 22m area with points. The points cushion allowed the Royal Navy to relax a little and this in turn helped reduced some of the unforced errors that were evident in their early play, often caused by their desire to play at pace and with energy. As the error count reduced the continuity increased and it wasn’t long before Johnny Stephen, Tom Davies and Dave Fairbrother were making surging runs deep in to Japan’s half. It was only amount of time before the Navy would get their first try and when Johnny Stephen’s latest break was thwarted by the scrambling defence he linked with Tom Davies whose floated pass to the right found Ben Chambers who was able to score in the right hand corner.
It was Cadywould’s cross field kick that set up Chambers second. The inch perfect punt fell neatly into Ben’s waiting arms and after a simple step inside Chambers was able to cross without a Japan hand coming close to tackle him. From the restart it was Dave Fairbrother who was under the posts after side stepping Shunsuke Abe, Japan’s captain and fullback. 28-0 and the Royal Navy team had a spring in their step, for the first time in IDRC2015, as they headed back to the changing rooms for half time.
Lax play at the start of the second half allowed Takehiko Meguro to pull back three points for Japan. However, the dip in the Navy’s play was not to last and it wasn’t long before the bonus point was secured through a well-worked try by Ben Fox. Despite a number of replacements being used the Navy’s flow was not disrupted and Fox’s score was soon followed by a Sam Davies score and Chambers’ third try of the match.
Another Meguro penalty, awarded as replacement Ben Priddey was sent to the sin bin for one too many red zone infringements by the Navy team, reduced the lead but Japan now really needed the seven point scores and the Royal Navy defence was looking quite comfortable. Japan were still looking to attack at every opportunity but were struggling to contain the Navy team in defence. Fairbrother collected his second try from a driving maul before an interception by Jarrad Hayler brought his very much deserved first try and the Royal Navy’s eighth, before Sam Benzie scored from the restart with the Navy’s ninth and final try. Final score RN 64 - 11 Japan.
The Royal Navy will have been disappointed that they allowed Japan to score late on but Chihiro’s try was popular with the Japan and home team followers alike. It proved to be the last score of the match as the referee’s whistle brought both the match and the pool to a close. The draw means that on Monday the Royal Navy will host Canada in the first of the Plate Semi Finals, kick off 15:00 followed by Fiji’s quarter final at 19:00 again Australia. With so many of the Navy’s changes playing well, it should make the next selection meeting very interesting as the Navy look to win the Plate.
Royal Navy: Kyle Mason (C), Harry Collins, Tom Blackburn, John Lamsin, Edd Pascoe, Ben Fox, Jarrad Hayler, Dave Fairbrother, Johnny Stephen, Richard Cadywould, Matt Bowden, Sam Davies, Darren Bamford, Ben Chambers, Tom Davies
Replacements: Ben Priddey for Harry Collins, Ian Cooper for Tom Balckburn, Joe Burton for Dave Fairbrother, Stew Bartlett for Ben Fox, Silivenusi Buinimasi for Matt Bowden, Greg Loydall for Sam Davies, Sam Benzie for Darren Bamford, Nathan Huntley
Japan: Hiroshi NARUKE, Masakazu NAGASAWA, Shintaro WATANABE, Hisato ENDO, Yukihiko TSURUSAKI, Takeo IITSUKA, Chihiro SAKAGUCHI, Akinori TSUSHIMA, Takehiko MEGURO, Shunsuke TAKANO, Jun CHISAKA, Tatsumi KOIKE, Tomonaga KUDO, Kakeru MAETOKI, Shunsuke ABE(captain)
Replacements: Yutaka IKUTA, Toshiaki FUJIMURA, Naoki TAKAYAMA, Yuji YOSHIKAWA, Yuki FUJITA, Suguru ASANO, Suguru MIZUMA, Takuya AKASAKA
Referee: Nick Marshall (RAFRUS) Ass Referees Kitione Ligavatu (Fiji) Adam Palmer (New Zealand)
Royal Navy Canada US Portsmouth, Mon 19 Oct KO 15:00
Fiji v Australia US Portsmouth, Mon 19 Oct KO 19:00
Article by Geraint Ashton Jones
Images by Alligin Photography / © G Ashton Jones