Marine Nationale v RN Senior XV
Marine Nationale 24 v 3 Royal Navy Senior XV
The second match of the day would see a Royal Navy Senior XV take on the Marine Nationale, still smarting from last year's loss to the Navy in Plymouth. In front of an 8000+ crowd in the Stade Mayol, the fixture known as ‘Le Crunch' would be played out.
The officials were to play a big part in this fixture and made their present felt after 3 minutes with the sin-binning of an RN player for what many saw as a legitimate tackle. The subsequent penalty was missed by the Marine Nationale No 10, unlike his later attempts that were on target.
As always, this fixture lived up to its billing as a physical contest and it was not long before the referee brought the 2 captains together after a number of off the ball incidents.
There were several opportunities for the Navy to break the Marine Nationale line and only last gasp ‘ankle taps' stopped both Sgt (Gaz) Evans and Logs (CS) (Josh) Drananui making more of their breaks.
The 3rd penalty gave the Marine Nationale a chance to put the first points on the board which they did from the half way line; 3-0 after 18 minutes.
The Royal Navy was under pressure for periods of the game but the Marine Nationale, although getting over the gain line, never really looked like scoring. It was to be the penalties that were to undo the Royal Navy and after 28 minutes the Marine Nationale increased their lead with another penalty. 6-0.
Loose forwards Mne (Foxy) Fox, MA (Sam) Laird and ET (WE) (Ian) Cooper all worked hard at the break down and managed on several occasions to turn over the Marine Nationale attack. However, the Marine Nationale extended their lead just before half time following a sustain period of pressure leading to a penalty 9-0 HT.
The start of the 2nd half was delayed as the local Toulon hero Johnny Wilkinson came on to restart the game. Johnny had already been to visit the Royal Navy training sessions the day before.
Even with this inspiration the officials continued to penalise the Navy and after 6 minutes the score ticked over to 12-0.
The Navy Head Coach brought on ET (ME) (Dale) Sleeman at centre and moved Mne (Nathan) Huntley to fly half and brought off Capt (Tom) Glover. Huntley started to challenge the French line and his long pass over the French ‘hinge' defence started to the give the Navy the upper hand.
The penalties continued to be called and by minute 51 the Marine Nationale were 12-0 ahead. The lead was reduced by Navy Skipper POAET (Dave) Pascoe 12-3. However, was short lived, as again the Navy were penalised for off side, 15-3 and less than 3 minutes later this increased to 18-3.
In the last quarter of the game the Navy was reduced firstly to 14 and then 13 men for 10 minute each. This cost the Navy another 3 points (21-3) and with it put the game out of reach, even the entry into the game Mne (Seta) Ramakita and AET (Kye) Beasley for their first Senior XV caps could draw the game back and the Marine Nationale finished the game as they started with a penalty making the final score 24-3 and taking the 2012 Babcock Challenge Trophy.
The Navy can take heart from this performance as 9 out of a possible 11 new caps were awarded to: - Ramakita, Beasley, Bamford, Quarnivalu, Glover, Fox, Huntley, Humphrey and Smith.
Next week sees the RN Senior XV enter the Babcock 2012 Inter Service Championship against the RAF on Wed 18 Apr at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth KO 7pm.
The RAF having been beaten by the Army 59-0 at RAF Halton.
NA (AH) K Mason (HMNB Devonport), Sgt G Evans (1 ASRM), Lt T Blackburn RN (RNAS Culdrose), NA (AH) J Quarnivalu (RNAS Culdrose), POAET M Cormack (RNAS Yeovilton), Mne B Fox (45 Cdo RM), MA S Laird (HMS Collingwood), ET (WE) I Cooper ( HMS Ambush) , POAET D Pascoe (Capt) (RNAS Culdrose), Capt Glover RM (CTCRM), S/Lt A Vance RN (HMS Sultan), AB D Bamford (HMS Dragon), Mne N Huntley (40 Cdo RM), Logs(CS) J Drananui (WMO Devonport), AET J Humphrey (RNAS Yeovilton)
Rep: Lt D Smith RN (HMS Vanguard), AET K Beasley (RNAS Yeovilton), S/Lt H Mitchell-Heggs RN (HMS Sultan), Mne S Ramakita (42 Cdo RM), AET G Jones (HMS Sultan), Mne J Foster (40 Cdo RM), ET (ME) D Sleeman (WMO Devonport).