The New Zealand Navy players were fired up as they approached the pitch for the encounter against the RN team. They had just received some words of wisdom in the dressing room from Wayne 'Buck' Shelford the ex All Black Captain and as the National Anthems finished they moved into position to face the RN team and lay down the gauntlet by performing the Haka. A prelude for battle and as the game started it was clear that it was exactly what they had in mind. Although the wind was once more in the faces of the RN team for the first half it wasn't anywhere near as strong as the previous encounter but this time the heat would certainly play a factor. The initial exchanges were nothing short of brutal with New Zealand boots flying in everywhere and their rucking was pushed to the very limits of the law and beyond. It was clear that they were not holding anything back and were intent on imposing their sheer physicality. In the set piece the RN had the upper hand and they had little difficulty in retaining their own line out and scrum. The New Zealand scrum was being wheeled time and time again. With the Kiwis pressing their defence and always pushing the very edge of the offside line they gave the RN backs little time or space to move the ball out of the initial phase and Tom Glover at fly half was subjected to some fierce tackles and not always before he had released the ball. The first try came from the Kiwis on 5 minutes following a powerful run by their impressive inside centre; he set up his winger to run the ball into the corner. The kick was missed and the game moved on. With the Kiwis looking to capitalise on the conditions Lloydy Lloyd was confident under the high ball and linking with Dave Berry and Greg Barden the RN advanced deep into their opponents 22 metres. Forced into touch the subsequent NZ line out was frustrated by the pressure from the RN jumpers and the ball spilled forward. A powerful scrum followed and Dave Pasco exploited the space behind the scrum to chip the ball ahead to chase and then catch his own kick to score a try in the corner. Unable to convert his own try the score now stood at 5 all with 15 minutes gone. The kick off was well collected by Simon Burns and with the other forwards joining the maul one of the NZ second row resorted to killing play by coming in at the side but the referee blew the whistle and after briefly speaking to the player showed him a yellow card and gave him ten minutes on the sidelines. On 20 minutes the RN eight forced the ball over the line from a well won line out and impressive jumping by Marsh Cormac. It was Simon Burns who emerged from the drive as the try scorer and as the kick just shaved the uprights to go wide the score moved to 10 – 5 to the RN. After the restart the Kiwis kept the pressure by reverting to their kicking game probing deep into the RN 22 meters but Andy Vance, on the left wing, took the ball well and made some excellent ground offloading the ball to Lloydy, Dave Berry, Justin Doney and finally Dan Parkes but as the maul started to gain some momentum the Kiwi players almost inevitably came in at the side to stop the RN advance. The referee once again produced a yellow card and the Kiwi team were down to 13 players. With the RN making every effort to exploit their superior numbers the ball moved from forwards to backs and then to forwards with Colin Milkins having a powerful break which was strongly supported by Jim Hyde. The NZ team were now back up to 14 men on 30 minutes but the pressure from the RN forced them to knock on and the scrum that followed set up good ball for the three quarters with Lloydy on the end of series of passes to go over the line but he was wrapped up by 2 NZ defenders and the ball was held up. Shortly afterwards the NZ kicker made the most from a penalty award in the middle of the park and took the 3 points on offer. Now back up to their full numbers they came hard at the RN and although a series of attacks were continually rebuffed the NZ team made the pressure pay and eventually scored in the corner. The points converted the score now stood at 15 – 10 to NZ with very little time left to play in the half. Half time score RNZN 15 – RN 10 Dave Berry stood down for Bee to come onto the wing and Greg Barden to move into the centre. The game started at a frenetic pace and neither side settled into their stride. The RN seemed unable to breakdown the Kiwi defence but the RN was also doing the utmost to ensure that their opponents could not build on their lead. The NZ three's did manage to string a series of passes together but Andy Vance pulled off a tremendous tackle to stop the advance. The first score of the second half went to NZ once again running the ball into the corner but this time the conversion was missed. With 18 minutes gone it was now 20 – 10 to the Kiwis. More changes followed as Justin Doney was replaced by Paul Laidler, Jesse Owens for Jim Hyde and Woolly Wooltorton on for Colin Milkins. The black wall of defence was now repelling every RN attack and the NZ team seemed to be making little of the wind or heat and the RN were continually deprived of any quality possession. Dave Jones was now on the right wing with Bee moving to inside centre and Jamie Caruana in at fly half. The RN were doing their best to make openings and their rucking game reflected the intensity of what the Kiwis had offered in the first half. Every time the ball was moved away from the forwards the Kiwis ensured they were right into the RN players faces and didn't allow any wide play. The NZ team were happy to run the clock down at every opportunity which only served to heighten the RN frustration. A break by Gaz Evans with Dan Parkes in support did manage to get the backs going until they were forced out of play. With a little under 10 minutes to play Jon Court came on for Simon Burns. Jamie Caruana came close to scoring but was held short but a penalty was conceded by the NZ team at the subsequent ruck. Opting to take the scrum Gaz Evans picked up at the base and ran at the Kiwis but their cover was ready for this and the move was once again stifled. Although the RN had forced the Kiwis back they defended as though their lives depended on it and despite the fact that the RN had been camped in the NZ half for the whole of the last quarter at the final whistle it was the Kiwis who were celebrating. The RN were never allowed to play their game and the passion and physicality of the NZ team was to be admired. The best team on the day did take the spoils and had inflicted the first defeat of the RN in the history of the Commonwealth Cup. It was inevitable that the RN would lose a game eventually but many of the junior RN players will have taken much from this fixture and hopefully their development as players will benefit from the experience. It was still a bitter pill to swallow but with one more game to go the thoughts must now turn to the fixture against South Africa. Final Score RN 10 – RNZN 20 The team for the second fixture against the Royal New Zealand Navy: 1 AET Dan PARKES 2 SGT Milky MILKINS 3 CPO Simon BURNS 4 LAET Marsh CORMACK 5 LT Jim HYDE 6 LMA Marc SALAMA 7 LAET Justin DONEY 8 MNE Gaz EVANS 9 LAET Paco PASCOE (Captain) 10 SLT Tom GLOVER 11 LAEA Andy VANCE 12 SLT Dave BERRY 13 OM Jamie CARUANA 14 CPL Greg BARDEN 15 MNE Lloydy LLOYD 16 LAET Jon COURT17CSGT Woolly WOOLTORTON 18 CPOMEA Jess OWENS19LT Paul LAIDLER 20 LWEA Cowboy JOHN21LPT Dave JONES 22S A Bee BUINIMASI SOUTH AFRICA NAVY v ROYAL AUSTRALIAN NAVY At half time it looked as if things were going to the form book with the Aussies holding the lead at 17 – 0 but the South Africans had more to offer than any of us anticipated. The excited crowd could not believe what they were seeing as the SAN ran in their first try with 10 mins gone. The crowd went crazy and the SAN started to really impose themselves. The second try was scored between the posts with 15 mins to go. With the extra points added the score now stood at 17 – 12. The SAN were now forcing the game and things all started to go their way. With 2 more tries scored and converted with only minutes left to play the score was an incredible 26 – 17. The final whistle blasted and the SAN had well and truly arrived in the Commonwealth Cup and their confidence well and truly boosted. The final set of matches will provide an exciting climax to this excellent competition. Final Score SAN 26 – RAN 17