Navy Grind It Out In Exeter
RN Senior XV
The Senior XV started their Inter Services campaign with a gritty display against a young Exeter Braves side.
Their week began at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) joined by Rob Baxter, Stu Townsend and Sam Simmonds from Exeter Chiefs for an insightful QnA session. On completion, the lads enjoyed a session on the Royal Marines Assault Course and a Mud Run the following day. The aim of their time at CTCRM was to bring the squad together through shared hardship, and from what was displayed at Sandy Park, it worked.
From the off the Braves dominated territory and possession, but were met by a thunderous Naval defence with Seti Raumakita delivering a series of powerful tackles. The Navy enjoyed a brief spell in their opponents 22, before conceding possession and the Braves countered with ruthless accuracy going the length of the field before Karea scored the game’s first try. Undeterred the Navy responded in fine fashion with Eldon Myers slicing through the Braves defence and setting a platform for the pack to go to work. Marshalled by Rees the pack implemented their brutal pick and go game with Scott Makepeace going over to make the score 7-5 to the Braves. From the restart the Braves scored again making it 14-5 and for the remaining 15 minutes both teams went toe to toe and a great physical battle.
The second half started in very similar fashion to the first, with the Braves dominating possession and the Navy leaking penalties. However, time and time again the famous Exeter driving maul was repelled by the Navy, and the senior service were starting to dominate the physical battle. After 13 minutes of constant defence the Navy were rewarded with another Makepeace pick and go try, at 14-12 there was a feeling the game was starting to turn towards the dark blue. From the restart the Navy switched off allowing the Braves to score, but they remained calm and continued their physical battering of the Exeter young guns. Then came the game changer! An interception from Eldon Myers saw him go the length of the pitch and score making the game 21-17 to the Braves. This gave the Navy a second wind and they started to turn the screw and dominate all aspects of the game, which saw Bridgen go over making the score 22-21 to the Navy. In the remaining 12 minutes the Navy showed maturity and class to close out the game against a very good Exeter Side.
“This is a great way to start the IS campaign, but stiffer tests will come and we must build on the this. We look forward to a physical battle against the British Police and developing before our crunch fixture against the French. The boys have been outstanding all week, and I’m pleased for them” Said Dave Pascoe.
Words: Oliver Mason
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton