Fantastic end to Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV US Tour
RN Senior XV
US Marine Corps
On a sunny evening in the United States Marine Corps football stadium in Quantico the Royal Navy Rugby Union Senior XV prepared for their final game of the USA tour. They stepped out on to the pitch in front of a crowd who were either there for the love of the sport or there to try to understand the rules and ask why the players don’t wear any pads! Colours were flying, Honour Guards were present and the USMC band was playing. This was only the second time the US Marine Corps have played the Royal Navy and they were defiantly “up for it”, they had flown players in from all over the globe, including Japan, to rise to the challenge.
As in the previous two games of the tour, the visitors took an early lead after 45 seconds with a converted try through Eldon Myers and Greg Loydall. This was quickly followed up by a try in the corner for full-back Pat Coy. There were 5 minutes played and the home side were losing 0 - 12. The USMC team had been training hard for the game (which included a 2-week training camp) but unfortunately the tourists were just too strong in every department. Within a 3 minute period the Royal Navy had run in a further 2 tries though Jarrard Hayler and another for Pat Coy, converted by the Navy fly-half and the scoreboard read 0 - 26. The USMC fought hard in the break-down, frustrating the tourists in waves, but again the Royal Navy side's flare and experience broke the “Leathernecks” defences and they scored another 3 tries by Lewis Cooper, Eldon Myers and Brad Janes. Unfortunately only one was converted by Loydall. With 7 minutes of the half left on the clock the tourist led 0 - 43. As expected the Navy side didn’t take their foot off the gas scoring a further brace of tries prior to the referee’s half time whistle, both scored by Sam Matavesi on the blindside of the pack. At half time the score was 0 - 57.
Ash Coates delivered his final half time chat to the players, made 8 changes to the side and the players retook their place on the field ready to receive the ball from a USMC restart. It was one of the half time replacements; second row Scott Makepeace, who got the early second half score, once again converted by Greg Loydall. The next quarter of an hour saw both sides battling for possession, but the Navy’s Senior team kept the score moving in their favour with another three tries through Dan Mason, Tom Notman and a second for Makepeace. As before the home side didn’t give up and were eventually rewarded with a well worked try by the forwards in the 32nd minute, the score now sat at 5 - 85. In the final 4 minutes the Navy side well and truly dominated the US Marines, scoring 3 tries through Ben Chambers and Brad Janes and another 2 conversions for Greg Loydall. The final score was a resounding victory for the Royal Navy 5 - 104.
It was a great end to a fabulous tour. All that remains is for the RNRU’s Senior XV touring party to wish Chief Petty Officer Ash Coates all the very best for his new adventures as a civilian following his retirement from the Royal Navy. It has been both our honour and pleasure to work with such a dedicated coach and true gentleman, who will sorely be missed on the paddock and in the changing room; a true star of Navy Rugby.
K Mason, H Collins, C Robinson, E Pascoe (captain), L Cooper, S Matavesi, J Hayler, B Cook, C Moore, G Loydall, R Dimmock-Williams, B Janes, E Myers, B Chambers, P Coy, C Warner, A Wilman, G Evans, S Makepeace, D Mason, J Stephen, G Welling, T Notman.
Words by S Ashley
Images Alligin Photography © Scott Taetsch