Light Blues First Up for Royal Navy’s 2016 Inter Service Preparations
With their proposed opening match cancelled, the Royal Navy get their 2016 season underway at Grange Road on Wednesday when they visit Cambridge University. As ever the early games will see a number of permutations tested before the squad settles down. Cambridge University, under new captain Daniel Dass, will be looking to bounce back from last weeks 31-11 to the Army. The Royal Navy will be aiming to repeat last season’s 31-3 victory.
The Royal Navy’s first match of the season already looks set to be a fascinating encounter where the backrow battle in particular should be worth watching. The Royal Navy will take the field with Ben Fox, Jarrard Hayler and Lewis Cooper in the six, seven and eight shirts and they are likely to have an interesting match up with new Cambridge University skipper, Daniel Dass a flanker who has been packing down at No 8 and is at the heart of a new look Light Blues backrow along with Leonard, at openside, and either of the young blindside flankers Erogbogbo or Rose. By all accounts Dass produced a display worthy of his new role, albeit in defeat to the Army, and his battle with Hayler at the breakdown should be ferocious. Both players only won their first caps last season but seemed to have quickly become established as key players in their respective sides.
Alongside Jarrard will be Ben Fox, capped in 2012 and looking to re-establish himself in the Royal Navy pack following some good performances in IDRC, and the uncapped Lewis Cooper who continues to build on his growing reputation and who enjoyed a successful winning Inter Service season with the U23 XV. The team is again led by Ben Priddey, who will be at the centre of a new look front row alongside two uncapped players, Harrison Marsh and Chris Warner, with Edd Pascoe and John Lamsin reuniting their second row partnership. For Marsh it will be his Senior XV debut and he is another player who has come through the successful U23 XV side.
Behind the scrum, Jon Humphrey moves forward from his more usual role at fullback to manage the game from fly half where he will partner the fourth uncapped players, Cory Moore. Outside Humphrey it is an experienced backline where Matt Tichias partners Sam Davies at centre with Eldon Myers and Seta Raumakita on the wings. Like Ben Fox, Eldon Myers is another looking to re-establish himself in the Senior XV having missed the 2015 season following his first caps in 2014. Finally, Tom Davies starts at fullback, and along with Matt Tichias, is one of only two players in the starting XV that started the game last season.
Royal Navy Starting XV v Cambridge University:
Harrison Marsh, Ben Priddey * (Capt), Chris Warner, Edd Pascoe *, John Lamsin *, Ben Fox *, Jarrard Hayler *, Lewis Cooper, Cory Moore, Jon Humphrey *, Eldon Myers *, Matt Tichias *, Sam Davies *, Seta Raumakita *, Tom Davies *
Replacements: To be announced
* Denotes capped player
Cambridge University v Royal Navy KO:19:15, Grange Road, Cambridge, CB3 9BN
Article by Geraint Ashton Jones
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones, © John Walton, © Travis Prior