Don’t ‘Tel’ Richmond to Quit!
As the Carrier Strike Group continues east during it’s 2021 deployment, HMS Richmond’s Rugby Club were able to enjoy Mediterranean opposition during a port visit to Haifa, Israel.
The ship’s team comprised of 28 mixed experience players were invited to play against a combined opposition picked from local rugby clubs, which included the well-drilled Tel Aviv Rugby Club, and thus the name ‘Israel Barbarians’ was coined!
The Royal Navy side who were playing together for the first time in 2021 were excited by the prospect of playing an international fixture, especially during the global pandemic. They were well supported by approximately 50 supporters from the Ship’s company and British Embassy, who provided a raucous atmosphere for the game.
The 35 degree heat was almost as tough as the opponents and HMS Richmond got off to a slow start, quickly conceding 2 tries as their lack of playing time showed! But the Ship’s team began to adapt and overcome, making best use of the rolling subs and regular waters to refocus and improve during the first half.
The experience and talent of the Barbarians did not subside as they continued to pile on the pressure. However the sailors from the Duke class frigate did not let their heads drop, and managed to get on the scoreboard before halftime.
The ship rang in the changes at half time which brought a vast improvement and HMS Richmond began to go toe to toe with the opposition. There were scores for both teams but crucially the Royal Navy side kept within touching distance.
As the game entered the final 20 minutes the deficit was down to 2 points and both teams players seemed dead on their feet, but the ship’s team found an inner drive and edged slowly closer to the Barbarian try line. A well taken quick tap and go penalty within the opposition 22 allowed HMS Richmond to threaten the try line and a neat offload allowed them to bundle over the line in the corner as the clock went red.
The 34-31 scoreline in favour of HMS Richmond was testament to a tough and entertaining match against a wonderful home team. The teams were able to share their rugby camaraderie after the game at a BBQ hosted by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Israel.