The Navy beat Marine Nationale in Plymouth
RN Senior XV
On a crisp dry night in Plymouth, the Navy produced one of their best performances in a long time to overwhelm a physical, well drilled Marine Nationale side. “Only a win will do” was the pre-match battle cry from Dave Pascoe, but the way in which the Senior XV outclassed their opponents exceeded all expectations.
As expected the first 20 minutes were extremely physical, with both teams trying to gain a foothold in front of a large crowd at Plymouth Albion RFC. With the score at 6-3 in the Navy’s favour there came an important moment in the match. The French were appearing to tire and run out of ideas when Chris Robinson produced a monstrous tackle that swung the momentum of the game towards the Dark Blue. From that point on the Navy’s pack bossed their opponents allowing Rees and Lloydal to lead an attack that had the French bewildered at times.
After 30 minutes the Navy’s dominance was rewarded following a well worked move from a scrum, and Rees scored in the corner. From the restart the Navy continued their physical bombardment of the French, and on the stroke of half time Sam Matavesi scored to make the score 18-3.
The second half was totally one sided with the Marine Nationale only venturing into the Navy’s half twice. What will have pleased the coaching staff is the level of intensity and physicality that remained eye wateringly high for the whole half. With the Navy in total control, and the French seemingly exhausted and against the ropes, the Dark Blue started scoring tries at will. Matavesi, Spencer, Myers and Lloydal each scoring; making the full time score 47-3.
The critics will say that the French were poor and inexperienced, but the Navy were simply outstanding. As a collective they were accurate, abrasive, physical and aggressive and won every aspect of the game. Both the Army and RAF coaches were at the fixture and could only have gone away nervous after watching such an impeccable performance.
“I’m blown away with how well the lads performed” said Dave Pascoe. “We’d had excellent prep and the lads executed the game plan perfectly. We now have a consolidation week, but I’m really excited going into the RAF fixture”
Scott Ashley said “To play like that against the French is incredible. We are under no illusions of how difficult the RAF game will be, but we're in an amazing place. Next week is so important, we can’t relax and must build on this”.
The Navy’s next fixture is against the RAF at the Twickenham Stoop on Friday 5th April KO 1900. Prior to that the Mariners will play the Vultures at Kneller Hall KO 1400 and the Women’s game will KO at 1615, also at the Stoop. Tickets for the match are still available at navyrafmatch.uk
( * Royal Navy Cap)
Words: Oliver Mason
Images: Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton