RM Tour to Estonia / Latvia
Whilst attending a NATO StratCom Conference in Latvia last week, I was able to join the RM Rugby tour to Estonia and Latvia. On my arrival, the team had already conducted an outreach training session with the Estonian Scouts Battalion and beaten an Estonian Barbarians team (86-7) on the Wednesday. The first game was against the top Latvian club side (Miesnieki Army Sports Club), who fielded a number of national players. Royal was denied in the last play of the game; up 20-15, the Latvians proved too strong in the dying minutes, with a much stronger and bigger pack, scoring at close range to square the scores with the conversion to come; 22-20 the final score.
Saturday was the main event: the 3rd Estonian International Rugby Tournament. After comfortable victories against a French International Veterans team (28-7) and the Estonian National side (27-5) all was set for the final against the Wales Deaf Rugby Team who are the reigning world deaf champions and who won the tournament last year. It was a cracking game, with Royal enjoying the ascendency in the first half and going in 10-0 up; impressive given the number of knocks and niggles they had picked up during the week. However, the Welsh fought back and incredibly for the second time in as many days they were denied by a last minute try (10-10) followed by a conversion to win; final score 12-10. The day concluded with a fitting reception hosted by the Ambassador in the Greek embassy.
The DA and Ambassadors are extremely keen for the team to return next year, as are the Royal Marines who thought it was a cracking place to tour (with the locals very welcoming) and who are keen to avenge the narrow defeats next year!
Report by Col Ewen Murchison