Commander Charlie Neve, Royal Navy reports:

NATO LIONS RFC were hosts to Formia RFC Saturday 4 May at Carney Park, Naples, Italy. Formia is a town mid way between Rome and Naples, about 1 hour away, and are a regular opponent for the LIONS. Formia recently toured the UK playing with, and utilising the facilities of, the Preston Grasshoppers.

The LIONS have got into a winning habit recently and the stronger, more skilful Formia team were not shown any complacency in preparations during the week. A very well attended training session mid-week caused Head Coach, Lt Col Neil Marks (GBR(A)), some selection headaches with so many players competing for places in the starting 15. This is a ‘good place' to be and the strength of the bench was utilised fully, particularly in the hot conditions of Southern Italy in early May.

LIONS got off to a good start spending the first 10 minutes inside FORMIA's 40 metres territory. But too many silly mistakes, 3 knock-ons and a couple of penalties did not allow the LIONS to get into a real scoring position. It was after12 minutes that LIONS finally made a break down the left wing after outside centre PO Shane Anderson, USN made a blistering break in midfield and got a pass out to left wing LT Jason Kreutter only for him to be bundled into touch just 10 metres from the try line.

On 15 minutes LIONS had a scrum just inside the FORMIA half. The LIONS scrum has improved over the last few weeks and their new found skill and scrum positions comfortably won their scrimmages throughout this game, building on an attacking flow. In particular LIONS No 8, PO Kevin Young USN, had an outstanding game, making metres and carrying the ball well. From this scrum on 15 minutes LIONS inside centre, Capt David Bredy (FRA(A)) took the ball into contact, staying on his feet and making 15 metres before deftly passing the ball to Fly-Half, FRA Civilian Stephane Belleguic who was able to weave past the last line of defence and run in under the posts for LIONS' first try. Belleguic also converted.

On 20 minutes Formia applied some pressure on LIONS with 2 line outs inside the LIONS 22, but the LIONS defence was too good. The game began to get a little more physical as the half progressed, LIONS were awarded a penalty on 30 minutes but the kick attempt was missed. However, a resulting 22 drop out was taken in the deep by LIONS and BELLEGUIC made a positive break, he passed out to Bredy who went into contact, the resulting forward pods of the LIONS attack, with Cdr John Tolg, USN leading with LOM CIS Matt Hitchcock, GBR(N) and Young backing up, made good ground and were able to pass out to Belleguic who retained the ball. He was tackled by the Formia full back inside their 22 but managed to pop the ball up to the on-coming, supporting Bredy who ran over for LIONS second try. Bredy converted.

Half time saw a few changes by LIONS, with a large bench of 10 players it was inevitable this would disrupt some of the set play. FORMIA made capital of an error by LIONS on Kick Off, taking the ball and driving into hard contact. However, LIONS were able to steal the ball   back and PO Shane Anderson, USN, making ground from the centres, ran 70 metres to score, unhindered, between the posts - just 2 minutes into the second half. Bredy converted.

Only 5 minutes later more LIONS substitutes were made, but the strength of the bench did not alter the flow of the game. LIONS were on top. On 50 minutes Anderson made another superb break through 2 tackles off a LIONS scrum 10 metres out. His break was so powerful he went under the posts to score again. Bredy converted.

The rest of the LIONS bench poured onto the pitch and the last 15 minutes was spent mainly in the FORMIA half, attacking strongly but due to a determined FORMIA defence were unable to penetrate the line again.

This was a physical match, both teams should be commended for their determination to win. FORMIA were unlucky not to score on a few occasions but the strength of the LIONS' defence and their team spirit to win, shone through. The result was inevitable from early in the second half, but this was no walk over. The LIONS were just too good and too strong for the FORMIA skill and weight.

MoM: LION Stephane Belleguic (chosen by Formia) and LION No 8, PO Kevin Young, USN.

1.  USN Lt Cdr Gary Stevens; 2. USN Lt Adam Sezate; 3. USN PO Andrew Boshnsack; 4. GBR(N) LOM CIS Matthew Hitchcock;  5. USN Cdr John Tolg;  6. UK(Depen) Mark Woodall; 7. Capt Justin Gabbard, USAF; 8. USN PO Kevin Young; 9.USN PO Dave Greninger; 10. FR(Depen) Stephane Belleguic; 11. USN Lt Jason Kreutter; 12. FR(A) Capt David Bredy(Captain); 13. USN PO Shane Anderson; 14. USN PO Ross Massey; 15. USN PO Edward Johnson.

16. USN Lt Cdr Dean D'Ambrosio; (35 mins) 17. FR(A) WO1 Bernard Evesque; 18. USN PO Franco Garcia (Vice Captain)(40 mins); 19. USN PO Derek Piotrowski (50 mins); 20. USN(CIV) Scott Kearney (68 mins); 21. UKR (CIV) Valentin Alchynskiy (45mins); 22. FR(A) SGT Yannick Cambier  (40 mins); 23. USN CPO Tony Mazzulo (50 mins); 24. USN Civvy Tommy Johnson (65 mins); 25. USN PO Jimmy DeFazio (65  mins).

Referee: Lt Col Neil Marks, (GBR(A)