RN Senior XV vs Cambridge University Match Report


RN Senior XV


Cambridge University

Surrounded! Gaz Evans back in the thick of the action scored late on for the Royal Navy
Johnny Stephen looks to get the backline moving
Nineteen year old Luke Berry made a promising debut
Josh Jones linked well with half back partner Stephen
Nathan Huntley with Josh Jones in support
Not this time. Matt Harvey unable to break through the CURFC defence
Jon Humphrey heads for the goal line following his interception
B Buinimasi back in a Senior shirt for the first time since breaking his leg against the RAF in 2013.

As highlighted in the pre-match preview, last night’s match against Cambridge University was the first run out of the Senior XV following the cancellation of the away fixture against Oxford University due to the weather.  On another cold night at Burnaby Road, the Royal Navy opened their 2015 Inter Service campaign with a convincing win against a Cambridge University side on the rebound after losing to both the Army and the Royal Air Force.

The first 20 minutes produced some entertaining rugby in what proved to be a very tight first quarter.  From a forwards point of view the pack performed well in the first half, but as expected for a first game of the season, there was a little lack of cohesion.  However, the Royal Navy pack won 3 turnovers, with honours even in the set piece by the time the second quarter started. 

With 20 minutes gone the penalty count was against the Royal Navy and the 3rd infringement, in front of the post, resulted in the first score off the match to Cambridge, 0 – 3.  From that point the Royal Navy disciplined improved markedly and as a result the pressure began to mount on Cambridge, with Royal Navy fullback, AB Tom Davies, going just short of scoring a try in the corner.  With 5 penalties conceded by Cambridge in the 2nd Quarter, a Yellow Card for the Cambridge No 8 was the inevitable result following a number of infringements near their line.  This gave the Royal Navy more space to operate and led to the first try of the match from Royal Navy Centre, Mne Nathan Huntley.  With the conversion missed, the Royal Navy took a 5 – 3 lead as half time approached.  However, just before the half came to an end, a high tackle by AB Ratu (Roko) Kurusasa resulted in a Yellow Card.

The second half saw the Royal Navy begin to gel as a unit, with more power up front in both set piece and the loose, and greater cohesion and pace in the backs.  The Royal Navy began to dominate and despite being a man down at the start of the half and a further exchange of penalties, an interception and try by AET Jon Humphrey, converted by Mne Nathan Huntley,  stretched the lead to 12 – 3.   The Royal Navy now took control of the match, especially in the pack, which resulted in two tries for the Royal Navy No 8, Sgt Gaz Evans, and one from replacement Hooker LAAH Ben Priddey.  With all 3 tries converted by Huntley and Hunphrey, the Royal Navy quickly ran up a 31 – 3 winning lead.

Overall a solid performance and a dominant second half, which also saw all the replacements get a run out.   There are some areas that will require some work and progression, but overall the RN Senior XV can be pleased with a convincing win.  They move on to their next challenge, an away fixture against Richmond RFC at Old Deer Park on 17 Feb 15.  

Don’t forget that 1 April will bring the Marine Nationale to Burnaby Road in the first capped game of the season before the Navy meets the challenge of the Royal Air Force, at RAF Halton, to open the 2015 Inter Services on 15 April.  With the season finale again likely to sell out Twickenham on 9 May. make sure you get your tickets through the RNRU Website. 

Team: Kyle Mason *, Harry Collins *, Kye Beasley *, Matt Harvey *, Luke Berry, Scott Puleston, Andrew Dennis *, Gaz Evans *, Johnny Stephen *, Josh Jones, Matt Bowden, Nathan Huntley *, Matt Tichias *, Ratu Roko Kurasasa, Tom Davies *

Replacements:  John Court, Mark Jones, Ben Priddey, Tom Cowley, Sumo Thompson, Seti Raumakita, Sili Buinimasi, Cory Moore, Jon Humphrey, Greg Welling

 * - capped player

Article by Mark Walker

Images Alligin Photography / © Keith Woodland