On the Up – Victory for Royal Navy Rugby Union U23s v London Scottish Academy
RN U23 XV
The Royal Navy Rugby Union Under 23 squad took on a London Scottish Academy side on a crisp, clear evening at the United Services Ground on Wednesday.
The Royal Navy, fielding a strong team, were quickly on the back foot as London Scottish began at a lively pace and it was not long before they took the lead with a well-executed catch and drive from the line out. With the score 0 - 5 the home side kicked into life. They began exerting pressure by securing quick ball from the breakdown and using their strong forward pack to drive the ball up. This pressure resulted in the award of a penalty which was duly converted by Acreman. 3 – 5.
Midway through the half the prolonged pressure being exerted in the opposition half gave the Royal Navy yet another penalty which was also converted, giving the Royal Navy the lead for the first time in the game 6 -3. However due to a clash of heads, the Navy side had to use their bench earlier than they would have liked when they lost both their team captain Hayler and fellow back row Roberts to blood injuries. Shortly after this reshuffle London Scottish took advantage and found themselves back in the lead 6 - 10, with a carbon copy of their first try, a kick to the corner and a catch and drive.
With half time approaching a clever kick by U23 stand-off Rutter, took play deep into the London Scottish 22. The line out was secured by the Navy and as they were driving toward the line, London Scottish could only stop the drive illegally by collapsing. With the referee signalling a penalty advantage, the U23s threw the ball out wide, resulting in a good finish in the corner by the left winger, Griggs. The try, right on the touch line was then converted by Acreman taking the score to 13 - 10. Another penalty converted by Acreman extended the score however it was London Scottish who finished the half on the up as they yet again scored from the line out closing the score to 16 - 15 at half time.
The Navy started the second half with a point advantage and looked to increase that. It was however London Scottish that dominated the next 30 minutes. The pressure both at the scrum and in the loose resulted in the home side infringing and London Scottish were successful from the subsequent penalty and retook the lead 16 - 18. Then the tide turned and the Royal Navy began to gain the advantage in terms of pressure and territory. Twice in succession they completely destroyed the London Scottish scrum, an area which Scottish had been dominating thus far. This pressure lead to the next score, a try scored by Stoppard and converted by Acreman. With only one score in it, London Scottish pushed hard to retake the lead, however some impressive game management in the last 10 minutes saw the U23s close out the game, finishing with another 3 points from a penalty making the final score 26 - 18.
An exciting, hard fought match was closed out well by the RNRU U23s which bodes well in the run up to the Inter Service competition in November. If they can work on securing their own line out ball more frequently and improving the service to the exciting back line, then the British Army and Royal Air Force will really have their work cut out to prize the Inter Service title away from the Royal Navy.
Team List: Love, Vernon, Frogley, Scott, Lindsay, Mason, Hayler (Captain), Roberts, Belcher, Rutter, Griggs, Jeacock, Myers, Heard, Acreman
Replacements: Yeomans, Salt, Treveil, Stoppard, Morgan, Walker, Burgess, Foster, Jones, Mills
Words by T Westwood
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton