The 2013 fixture list could not have been better planned. After a good first outing against Ealing Trailfinders it is important for the U23’s to ensure they are prepared to work as hard for each other as they did last season. There is neither place nor time in their short season for any thoughts that it will ‘just happen’. Performances have to be worked for. So the second match of the season not only brings them in front of their home Burnaby Road crowd but also matches them against Chichester, who last season won the match far too easily. The perfect incentive to put on a show.
Two years ago the Burnaby Road faithful were able to bask in autumn sunshine and watch an excellent performance from the U23s. No doubt the team of 2013 will be looking to relive those memories of continuity and strong running rather than the error-strewn match last season. However it will not be easy. As a club Chichester have made an unbeaten start to their London Div 1 South campaign and the strength of their first XV is a fair reflection of their development programmes that keep producing young players of talent.
From a Navy perspective the squad should have a little more depth from the first match and also the greater understanding from another weekend’s training together. They will be looking to again get off to a bright start but also to ensure that they can keep the intensity of their game together for longer. A new front row will need to live up to the standard set by the two invited bookends at prop, Beasley and Copper, during the first outing. Whilst Matt Horton will be hoping to revert back to his preferred position of full back from his duties at half back.
Although the season is still very much in its infancy the back line and the midfield pairing of the two Sam’s - Davies and Benzie is full of promise. They, along with talented fly half Josh Jones have a responsibility to unlock the potential in the back three, whether that is Horton’s graceful running, the more powerful style of Tyrer or indeed Billy Whiz Ben Clarke on the left wing. Clarke will have fond memories of his display in 2011 where he thrilled the crowd with a try scoring performance of excellent attacking running rugby from all quarters of the pitch. Lets hope it is on show again this weekend
The Royal Navy U23 XV host a Chichester XV at US Portsmouth’s Burnaby Road ground on Sunday 22 Sep 2013. KO14:00