RN Senior XV v Army Senior XVAnd so to the main event of the day as the RN Senior XV with 11 new caps so far this season, took on one of the most experienced Army teams seen on the hallowed turf of Twickenham. This was an Army team that was able to call upon a Premiership Prop and an England International Sevens player from the bench.
The game started with all the passion expected by the 65,000 crowd and it was not long before the trusted boot of Skipper POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) gave the lead to the Navy 0-3. However, this was answered by Army Full Back Cummings 3-3.
The loss of Sgt (Gaz) Evans (1ASRM) after 10 minutes gave replacement No 8 ET (WE) (Ian) Cooper (HMS Ambush) his 5th Cap. On the 20 minute point the Army scored a well worked try which was converted by Cummings 10-3.
The Army continued to probe down the wings and only a try-saving tackle from Navy Full Back AET (Jonathon) Humphrey (RNAS Yeovilton) kept the Army out. However, he was powerless to stop another Cummings penalty 13-3 after 25 minutes.
The Navy and Army kickers exchanged penalties making the score 16-6. The Army then further increased its lead and ended the half 19-6 ahead.
The Army started the half with a TMO try decision which gave them an 18 point lead, which was reduced by a Pascoe penalty 24-9. The Army Skipper Darrell Ball added to the Army score with a converted try from a scrum on the Navy 5m line.
The loss of both centres AB (WS) (Darren) Bamford (HMS Dragon) to injury and ET (ME) (Dale) Sleeman (HMS Ocean) to a blood injury didn't help the Navy team but did bring on LCpl (Jack) Foster (40 Cdo RM) for his first Senior XV Cap and Mne (Setareki) Raumakita (42 Cdo RM). Both of these young players performed well and made their presence felt, all the more commendable given the sustained pressure the Navy team was under.
The Army finished off the game with another 4 tries to give them a 48-9 win. Towards the end of the game Army back row and England Sevens International Damudamu was stretchered off the pitch with a serious leg injury. The RNRU players and supporters all wish him a full and speedy recovery.
The game over and with the Senior XV returning to their hotel, it gave the players a chance to reflect on a season that had seen success over both Varsity Teams and a record win over the Irish Defence Forces with a young team that has shown some great potential.
Cap 700 Mne (Jack) Foster (40 Cdo RM)
The end of season dinner that night saw the RNRU bid farewell to RNRU President Admiral Sir Trevor Soar KCB OBE
Physio (Pippa) Band
Winger Logs (SC) (Josh) Drauniniu (HMS Nelson)
The President presented the ‘Player of the Year' award and also the ‘Newcomer of the Year' award.The RNRU Player of the Year Award is the ‘Cossack Sword Trophy', originally presented to the Union by former selector Capt Leigh Merrick RN, for ‘ground gained and held'. The award is highly valued as only players within the Senior XV squad are eligible to vote, so it is a clear acknowledgement of the winner's contribution to the team throughout the season, decided by his peers.
The winner this season was MA (Sam) Laird (HMS Collingwood)
The ‘Proud Heritage, Exciting Future' award for the best player who had broken into the RNRU squad during the season was presented to:
Mne (Nathan) Huntley (40 Cdo RM).