French Dominance at Home Continues
RN Senior XV
The Stade de la Rabine, Vannes is the 4th venue used by French. The match has previously been hosted in Paris, Toulon and now Vannes. With the rain staying away and the Marine Nationale pipes and drum band entertaining the crowd, the atmosphere in the ground was electric.
Leading his team out as Captain, Ben Priddey gained his 32 cap (9th against France) making him the 2nd most capped player behind Head Coach Dave Pascoe on 35. Memories of victory in France are quite distant, with only Backs Coach Buinimasi having won in 2008 and the RN outfit has been significantly refreshed with 8 new caps in the starting 15.
After the roar of the anthems had settled, the French kick-off and after some heavy collisions the referee sets the tone of the afternoon awarding a penalty to the Marine Nationale, which the fly-half Enzo Miot slots in the swirling wind to give the French an early lead.
The first 15 mins are a tale of big carries from the French No. 8 Romain Fernandez and Hooker Laka Mekenese and solid defense from the RN with Lt Spencer Mitchell and AB(D) Gav Hughan making their presence felt. With continued infringements at ruck and scrum, the Marine Nationale were able to keep the ball in the RN half and after some sustained pressure No.5 Daniel Bourcier goes over after the ball squirts unexpectedly out of a ruck and into his hands 5m from the line.
The Marine Nationale pack beginning to dominate at the set piece leads to a yellow card for Lt Mitchell Spencer RN and a further 6 are added to the score sheet off the boot of Fly-half Enzo Miot who was willing to take his chances anywhere in the RN half. Building up to half time, the RN are unable to generate any pressure through phases as they are penalised at the breakdown. After some sustained pressure in the 22m, the French No. 8 crashes over the line to make the score Marine Nationale 21 – Royal Navy 0 going into the break.
Coming out in the 2nd half the Marine Nationale tighten the game up and look to exploit their advantage in the set piece and hard carries. The RN look to put some pace on the game with AB Gar Rees making yards from quick tap penalties and the back 3 of POAET Ben Chambers, AET Jerome Rudder and Lt Rory O’Brien looking slick on the counterattack. Frustations with the officials start to surface and the RN are pushed back into their 22m under strong carries from the big French back row who are rewarded with a try from replacement prop Jeremy Pinchon off the back of a flurry of pick and go’s close to the line. The Bomb squad of LAET Kye Beasley and LA(AH) Ben Watson bring on some muscle up front and fresh legs come on in the backs.
The RN finally hit back after 66 mins having worked hard into the French 22m and No. 8 replacement MNE Rory Mitchell crashes over the line from short range. In the final 10mins of the game, the RN pack are gaining some traction in the scrum but the French scrum-half scoots off the back to score in the final 5 mins to finish the game Marine Nationale 33, Royal Navy 7.
Victory in France is never easy and alludes the RN for another 2 years. However with 14 new caps blooded, the squad are building in confidence and showed promise against the odds. Now the squad turn their attention to building for the Inter-services with fixtures against Chinnor and British Police before they face the RAF in Apr.
1. LET(ME) Richie Ives (Cap No. 747)
2. LPT Ben Priddey (Captain)
3. LAET Chris Warner
4. LS(HM) John Kirwan
5. MNE Josh Williams (Cap No. 748)
6. MNE Toby Papp (Cap No. 749)
7. Lt Mitchell Spencer RN
8. AB(D) Gav Hughan (Cap No. 750)
9. AB Gar Rees
10. AET Jordan Gott (Cap No. 751)
11. POAET Ben Chambers
12. LCpl Kai Baker (Cap No. 752)
13. MNE Seta Raumakita
14. AET Jerome Rudder (Cap No. 753)
15. Lt Rory O’Brien RM (Cap No. 754)
16. Lt Louis Frankland RN (Cap No. 759)
17. LAET Kye Beasley
18. LA(AH) Ben Watson
19. PO(SET) Ash Wakefield (Cap No. 760)
20. MNE Rory Mitchell (Cap No. 756)
21. LAET Sam Carter (Cap No. 758)
22. AET Dan Rutter (Cap No. 755)
23. AB(SEA) Jesse Lowe (Cap No. 757)
Full Picture Gallery Here
Match Report by Thomas Blackburn