NAVY GUNNING FOR ARMY SIX SHOOTERS - PRESS RELEASE
ARMY V NAVY matches are the pinnacle of passion and commitment. The Services may well stand shoulder to shoulder to face the enemy but, when it comes to rugby, that’s a different matter. The Army, having won five Babcock Championships in a row, are determined to celebrate their Centenary with a stylish win at Twickenham. The Royal Navy, hardly shrinking violets, believe they could and should have beaten the Army in 2006. It’s game on. Director of Navy Rugby, Chris Alcock said “The Navy now emphasises youth, energy and pace. We know that if we play dynamic rugby we can beat the Army’s old guard around the park and cause a major upset”. But the Royal Navy will open with a Trafalgar style broadside. Lock Marsh Cormack and prop Dan Parkes, together with Royal Marines Will Pilkington and flanker Matt Parker, recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, are well suited to thunder into the darkest corners of the Army’s defence. “With percentage ball from our forwards, the backs are now strong enough to challenge the Army’s historical supremacy. If anyone can take advantage of a yard start it is Royal Marine centre Greg Barden and Josh Drauniniu, who scored two tries against the RAF at Newbury,” said Pilkington. Former England U18 Adam Dean is looking forward to playing at Twickenham again, having last been there with England a couple of years ago. The Army expect the Navy to be troublesome. Coach Andy Price (Welsh Guards) has certainly shaken the Army kaleidoscope. Price is a stickler for detail and despite some great early results is focussed on taking the game to the matelots. “At Twickenham experience counts. Proven players have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq and are right back to form, which is a huge bonus”. The Army is led by Newbury full back Mal Roberts who has featured in the five previous victories The back row, traditionally a launch pad for attack, includes Mark Lee, Ledua Jope and Isoa Damudamu who are all sevens internationals. Probably the most exciting player on the Army starting grid is new England 7s cap Damudamu who must be worth a couple of showpiece tries. “It’s pulsating to play for the Army at Twickenham, the atmosphere is massive and how often do you get the opportunity to play in front of 45,000 friends?” added Border Reivers’ Mark Lee, the captain of the Scotland Seven at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. The Army Rugby Union celebrates its Centenary at a time when there is a massive appetite for Services rugby. At Twickenham 45,000 partisans are guaranteed to see the sparks fly. The Army v Navy match kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday and a full day of rugby at Twickenham Stadium includes Combined Services U23 v English Universities U23 at 12 noon and the finals of the Daily Telegraph Emerging Schools Rugby Festival. Music will be provided by the marching Band of the Duke of York’s Royal Military School.