Cornish Pirate wins the Cossack Sword
The Cossack Sword trophy was presented to the Royal Navy Rugby Union by former selector, Captain Leigh Merrick Royal Navy, to represent 'ground gained and held'. The award is highly valued because only players within the Senior XV squad are eligible to vote, acknowledging the winner's significant contribution to the team throughout the season.
Sam Matavesi joins a long list of previous highly deserving winners, including Royal Navy Rugby Union team mates, No 8, David Fairbrother; lock, Edd Pascoe; and last year's winner, flanker, Ben Fox. Although only having joined the Royal Navy in 2017, Sam has a wealth of rugby experience behind him, having played for Camborne, Plymouth Albion, Racing Metro (Paris) and Redruth. He has also represented Fiji internationally on 3 occasions and now plays for the Cornish Pirates.
A Supply Chain Logistician, Sam first came to prominence while still under training at HMS Raleigh. He successfully managed to complete his basic training and win his first cap for Navy Rugby during last year's Inter Service campaign. He now has 5 caps to his name, having represented the RNRU in all the eligible matches he could have played in. The caps are awarded for the annual matches against the French Navy, the Royal Air Force and the Army. Sam has also had the highest honour in Services Rugby, by being selected to play for the UK Armed Forces.
Senior XV Assistant Director of Rugby, Major Scott Ashley, noted "There were numerous candidates for this year's award but the winner, Sam Matavesi, won the majority of the votes for his continual display of outstanding performances." It is unusual for a player so new to the Senior XV squad to make such an impact after a relatively short service career; however, the Royal Navy Rugby Union are delighted that Sam is part of the team and look forward to benefitting from his wide experience and skilful play for many years to come. Well done Sam.
Image credits Royal Navy Rugby Union/© Keith Woodland and John Walton