CS U23 Struggle In Wales
Combined Services U23s, captained by Mne Jonny Stephens (42 Cdo RM) lost out 29 - 0 to Welsh Universities at Cross Keys. Naturally the team were disheartened to record their second loss and again not to get on the score sheet but they should take immense pride with much of their play and in particular their defence. CS U23 Head Coach, CPOPT Steve Sinclair (HMS Drake) was happy to report that a number of the Navy players had again put in strong performances. Richie Ives (HMS Nelson) continues to improve at Tighthead prop whilst at Loosehead Tom Blackburn (HMS Thunderer) is adding far more mobility to his game. A reward for the hard work he is putting into his fitness. Sunday was the first run out for Ben Tait (CTCRM) at hooker. Coming off the replacements bench Steve mentioned he was impressed with his all round performance and believed he would be pushing for a place in the 22 for Twickenham. Finally in the forwards it was pleasing to see Ryan Wells (42 Cdo RM) back to his best after a couple of, for him below par, performances. Behind the scrum Jonny was as solid as ever at Scrumhalf and again Wayne Dugan (HMS Lancaster) impressed both at Fullback and Outside Centre. Next week will see many of the players back with the Senior squad when they take on London Welsh. Commenting on the result Navy Director of Rugby, Geraint Ashton Jones said: "I really feel for Steve at the moment. He is trying to blend a team together with very little contact time and from players who play very different systems. I believe it is for this reason that they are struggling to score at the moment because the unity is not quite there. I am sure that their next game against Scottish Universities will be another step forward for the team. Also although the results haven't gone their way from a selfish point of view I am very happy with the progress that the Navy players are making through CS U23. It has helped some of them to have more game time and when they come back to the Seniors they are pushing hard for places. It is good to see a few of the more established players having to look over their shoulders. Again their next match is when we are playing the Irish Defence Forces [Fri 14 March] so our resources will be stretched but I certainly hope that we will be again be able to get a good number of our squad in to the CS U23 side."