Preview Royal Navy U23 vs. Oxford University U21 XV
This Sunday the 28th of October will see the Royal Navy U23 squad visit the "City of Dreaming Spires" as they continue their preparations for the 2012 Interservices Championship. Founded in 1869, the Oxford University Rugby Football Club (OURFC) is one of the oldest in the world and with OURFC now a regular fixture for the Senior RN XV, it was about time the young tyros of the senior service had the opportunity to pit their talents, skill, and commitment against a side with a formidable reputation for rugby. Since their inception, 300 Oxford Blues have gone on to win International Honours and the annual contest against their auld enemy Cambridge University in the Varsity Match at Twickenham remains, to this day, one of the highlights of the British Rugby Calendar.
For the Navy U23s, their game against a Chichester RFC Select XV two weeks ago proved a formidable test for an embryonic but quickly developing U23 side. Faced with a physical set of opponents and a side keen to play attacking rugby, the RN succumbed to 35 points in the first half, but in a game of two contrasting halves the score remained unchanged in the second half due to a combination of dogged Navy defence and stubborn reluctance to let "Chi" have everything their own way.
In the finest traditions of both OURFC and Navy rugby, the game this Sunday looks set to be a fast and lively affair with possession likely to be hotly contested at the breakdown. Five U23 players return to the fold after their recent duty in Australia with the victorious Navy Senior Commonwealth Cup squad.
Head Coach Capt (Scott) Ashley (NCHQ) has some interesting selection decisions to make. Looking ahead to the game he said "This is a very important game to us, as it is our final opportunity to look at players prior to the announcement of our Inter Services Squad, who following this game will have a further opportunity to play together against Cambridge University before the game vs. the RAF."
Kick off this Sunday is at 2pm at St Edwards School in Oxford. All are welcome to come along to support and you can also follow the match here on the website, and on our Twitter feed at Twitter@RNrugby