Portsmouth overpower the Under 23s
RN U23 XV
It was a hard night for the Royal Navy Rugby Union Under 23s when they faced Portsmouth RFC, who fortunately stepped in at short notice to ensure the Navy Under 23 side got an essential preparation game ahead of their Inter Service matches in November. The half time score was 0 - 10 but by the end of the night Portsmouth were resounding winners 0 - 36, their experience getting the better of the younger side.
Portsmouth RFC started strongly, attacking the inexperienced Royal Navy Rugby Union Under 23 side. They quickly gained territory and crossed the 10m line. The Navy team managed to stop their progress and showed spirited defence on the 22m line. The Navy side fought back and after a brief period of possession, which saw outside centre, Brad Janes take the game into Portsmouth territory, the Portsmouth side reasserted their dominance. Having regained possession, after several pick and gos they found themselves deep in the opposition half. More determined defending by the Royal Navy Under 23s temporarily halted the attack. However eventually the powerful Portsmouth props got the better of the home side and the visitors touched down in the far corner for their first try of the night, 0 - 5.
Play continued in a similar pattern, the Portsmouth side set up attack after attack, the majority of which were stopped by the Navy team. But the effort of putting in tackle after tackle was beginning to tell on the Navy, with some injuries being sustained. Then Portsmouth broke through the Navy defence for a second time, increasing their lead 0 - 10. Frogley came on as an early replacement for his injured teammate. A further attack, led by the Portsmouth right winger, was foiled as he was brought down short of the line by the Navy defence and the referee blew the whistle for half time.
The second half started much as the first half had; the Royal Navy again resolutely maintained their defence but toll was beginning to tell. Prop, Sam Vernon, came off injured. Portsmouth then scored their third try of the match, and this was converted by the fly half, 0 - 17. The Royal Navy Team Management made their changes, aiming to expose all their players to the challenges of playing a well-drilled, strong opposition. The youngsters continued to fight back, but could not break through the Portsmouth line.
In the final 15 minutes of the match, Portsmouth really gained the upper hand and ran in three tries, two of which were converted. The final score 0 - 36.
The Royal Navy Rugby Union Under 23s team were indebted to Portsmouth RFC for stepping in as opposition after London Scottish Academy had withdrawn at short notice. The final score was not flattering for the home side, but their philosophy has always been to train hard, and this is exactly the kind of preparation they need in the run up to their Inter Service competition against the Army and the Royal Air Force in November. The post-match team talk was full of positives, and focused the team on looking forward with tips on how to continue to improve their performance.
Team list: 1. Vernon 2. Skinner 3. Allton, 4. Wilkinson 5. McClean 6. S Bramwell 7. M Scoot 8. Papp 9. Brady 10. Guilfoyle 11. Acott 12. Cooper 13. Janes 14. Watson 15. Williams
Replacements16. Frogley 17. Yeomans 18. Holland 19. C Mean 20. Tyrell 21. Tyler-Holland 22. Mitchell 23. Salt (additional player)
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton and Keith Woodland