Clash of the Blues
The Navy U23s, led by their captain Mne Dennis Scotthorne (42 Cdo RM), will look to emulate their Senior XV colleagues when they look for victory against the RAF in the 2010 U23 Inter Service decider. The match will be played at Burnaby Rd on Friday 3 Dec, kick-off 1900
The U23 Inter Service Championship has been far more of an evenly shared affair than the senior version. Although the Army has been successful for the last two years, the Navy's win in 2007 broke a period of RAF dominance with 4 Inter Service Championships in 5 years.
The Navy U23s know that nothing can be taken for granted and to win against the RAF will require the continued dedication that has been much in evidence this year. Under the ever watchful Head Coach CPOPT Clayton Patilla (HMS Nelson) and Assistant Coach CPO Neil Evans (HMS Collingwood), the players have defined themselves through their desire to work and support each other, as well as applying themselves to the basics. This no nonsense team-based approach has enabled the U23s to remain unbeaten this season, whilst dealing with the regular team changes caused by pre-deployment training, operational deployments and professional courses.
Although the team contains two players, in Mne Dennis Scotthorne (42 Cdo RM) and AB Will Cairns (FPS COMPORFLOT), who are already capped at Senior level there are several others within the Navy U23s who have provided evidence that they should be included in the Senior XV preparations for 2011.
Over the last three seasons the U23s have regularly produced talented players who have gone on to represent at senior level. The ‘exciting future' promised by the U23s will ensure that if the existing Senior squad does not deliver, then there are eager young Navy players more than ready to take their place.
The Navy U23s beat the Army U23s at Aldershot by 20 -18, which was followed by the Army defeating the RAF U23s 17 - 7 at RAF Cranwell. This means that any of the 3 teams can still win the championship! The game on Friday is an ideal opportunity for Navy Rugby enthusiasts to get behind the players of the future and help ensure that Burnaby Road remains an unhappy ground for the boys in light blue to visit.
Navy Players - 4 to watch:
AET Jon Humphries (848 NAS): playing at full back, Jon is having one of his best seasons in a Navy shirt. His counter attacking from deep has been balanced with an accomplished kicking from both hand and off the ground. He must be in the running to be Senior XV fullback now that Mne Rob Lloyd has retired.
Mne Josh Terry (1 AGRM): one of the most destructive scrummagers in Navy Rugby, Josh has ensured that the U23s' pack has been on the front foot. In combination with team captain Dennis Scotthorne, Josh's technical lineout work has also been the equal of any of his peers. Away from the dark arts of front row play, Josh has continued to develop his open game but remains far happier in the recesses of the ruck and maul.
NA(SE) Aaron Hunt (RNAS Yeovilton): capped at Rugby League and in his 4th season with the U23s, Aaron is in the form of his life and beginning to deliver potential he has long promised. A key leader in the back line, Aaron not only brings pace and physicality to the attack but also subtlety of passing. He is another player who is likely to challenge for a place in the Senior XV squad in the very near future.
MA Sam Laird (Keogh Barracks): having shone for both Command and U23s, Sam is in his 1st season with Navy Rugby and has the potential to emulate Mne Mike Egglestone from last year and force himself into the RN Inter Service side. His game is based on a huge work rate that ensures the opposition have to continually work hard to retain possession.