Fine Start, Can Do Better
The RN U23 team started their defence of the Inter Service U23 title with a sound victory against the RAF U23 last night. Once again the result was bourne of excellent team work with everyone contibuting to the performance. Nial Copeland was named man-of-the-match but it could have been any of the front five including his second row colleague, Kev MacCrossan, who left the field early after a neck injury. Fortunately after an examination at QA Hospital Kev was able to rejoin the players at the after match celebration. As importantly Kev was also able to receive the famous 'Silver Tie' which now denotes him as a capped U23 player. He was joined by 15 others who received their ties from Navy Rugby's Chairman, newly promoted Cdre Rob Thompson. Though naturally pleased with the win, team captain Will Cairns is well aware that the team will need to continue to improve and raise their game before the deciding encounter away to the Army at Aldershot. The team know within that they have the ability to win but also know that they will need to eradicate some of the errors that were in their game last night. The match was sealed as a contest shortly after half time when the Navy extended their 8 - 3 interval lead with two quick tries immediately after the break. The Navy team then seemed to relax a little and following a third second half try lost a little composure as perhaps they mentally relaxed too much. To their credit the RAF U23 team kept putting the Navy team under presssure and this was rewarded with a late second half try. The performance was watched from the crowd by two RN U23 graduates. Last season's centre pairing of Wayne Dugan, who went on to Senior caps, and Lewis Taylor, who was man of the match for the victorious Inter Service RN Rugby League side were both impressed by the class of 2008. Wayne, who is currently rehabilitating from a serious ankle injury had earlier in the week presented the playing shirts to the team. Image - Cowboy John, 2007 Captain after last season's win v the RAF U23 at RAF Halton.