Navy Sharks @ Slough 7's
On the 5th of July 2104 the RNRU Sharks met for their first competitive tournament of the season. The squad having previously been regenerated to meet the requirement for development within the RNRU had a number of new names and faces, all eager to gain their first experience of playing for the service.
On arrival under the direction of Head Coach WO1 Billy May and Asst Coach AB B Buinamasi the squad members were given a stark introduction to the rigours of life within a sevens team, by conducting a hard 30 min warm up and blow out to get the lungs and hearts going.
With veteran LSA Manoa Satala appointed as captain and deputised by senior RNRU squad member MNE Toots Vakalutukali there was an abundance of experience from which the new squad members can could draw from.
The RNRU Sharks were drawn in pool 1 with the hosts Slough Dragons, along with Spectrum 7’s, Cobra 7’s and Exeter Queffs.
Disappointingly the Sharks received a walkover in their first game due to a Cobra 7’s withdrawal, however showing the professional ethos being instilled this season the squad chose to conduct some further training honing the skills they had been taught the previous day.
The first opposition for the new look Sharks came in the form of the Exeter Queffs. The match started well with strong runs from debutant AB Lavelawa resulting in the first score. However The queffs did not roll over and responded with two quick scores sending a wake up call to the Sharks. They responded in force with some strong tackling from Mne Toots Vakalutukali and touches class from Mne Seva Naulago the Sharks were soon on top again with two quick try’s. In the second period the Sharks made a number of changes however continued to show their dominance with some quality team play resulting in a number of scores. Final score a triumphant RNRU Sharks 33 – Exeter Queffs 10.
Game two saw the Sharks take on the hosts Slough Dragons. Buoyed by their first tournament win the sharks started strong running in four tries in the first half. It appeared the Dragons could not deal with the pace and organisation of the newly regenerated sharks. Strong performances from Mid Tristan Trehan and Mne Gleddars Gledhill continued the pressure on the dragons, however the host did manage to pounce on a moment of indecision resulting in their only score of the match. Final score RNRU Sharks 33- Slough Dragons 5
The final pool 1 game was against Spectrum 7’S. The squad rotation continued throughout, WO1 Billy May giving more game time to AET Ash Wakefield and the late however impressive call up OC Viv Wilmot. The Sharks run riot implementing the had been previously taught skills and systems they had learnt resulting in a final score of RNRU Sharks 53- Spectrum 7’S 0.
Successfully the RNRU Sharks came top of POOL 1, progressing them straight into the cup semi final and the awaiting Semi Pro team Apache Raiders. The semi final gave the Sharks an early opportunity to test themselves against a well drilled and seasoned sevens outfit. However it was the sharks that drew first blood with a well worked move resulting in PO Ollie James crossing underneath the posts. Apache dazed slightly by the onslaught of the Sharks attack soon found their rhythm scoring two quick try’s which they failed to convert. The plucky Sharks did not roll over and with some strong defence and turn over’s they once again took the lead with the captain Satala going over for a converted try. Half time score RNRU Sharks 14 – Apache Raiders 10. The second half started badly for the Sharks, with Apache starting to find the form that has made them a well established team on the circuit. A well worked move and a turn of pace from their winger resulted in them scoring a quick try after the break. This was the wake up the Sharks needed which saw them consistently bombarding the Apache line, disappointingly to no avail. Finally a well piece of individual skill resulted in Apache going in for the final try of the game Leaving the Final Score RNRU Sharks 14 – Apache Raiders 22. Apache Raiders going on to win the cup final.
All in all Slough 7’S was a resounding success, showcasing the future talent the Royal Navy has to offer and the progression throughout the sevens season.