Royal Navy defends winning record with 6th consecutive victory in Commonwealth Cup

The changing room was ready, shirts hung up the ensign hanging at the end of the room and Capt (Tom) Glover (CAF) had the warm up area set-up and ready to go.  The President of the RNRU, Vice Admiral (Phil) Jones CB, came in to see the new players and also Capt (Stu) McLaren RM (RAF Halton), for whom this would more than likely be his last game in a Navy shirt. 

As the President left, the changing room returned to business and Capt (Charlie) Chacksfield worked like a demon to get the lads ready for action!

Then it was to the warm-up area with Glover for 15 mins, then back inside for the final preps before the walk out to meet the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The teams lined up and the Anthems were played and sung. 

The RN today was playing in front of the very partisan crowd of not only Aussies, but Kiwis as well. The Kiwis only needed the Aussies to beat the ‘Poms' and not score more than 52 points and the trophy would be theirs to take back to New Zealand. So the southern hemisphere crowd was really rooting for an Aussie win!

The RAN started well and within 4 minutes were 5-0 up through veteran lock Jason Harrington, who is the only player to have played in every CNRC. The RAN's close to the ruck driving game kept the RN on the back foot and the big Aussie forwards punished the Navy defence, smothering any attacks. However, the RN stuck to its task as laid out by Head Coach CPO (Ash) Coates.

One of the new players, young AB (WS) (Chris) Davies (HMS Somerset), playing his first game in a Senior XV team, had a hard time in the early scrums, but he more than made up for this in his work around the field and in the lineout.


Mne (Scott) Puleston (30 Cdo RM) continued where he had left off in the Kiwi game, uncompromising and hard running at blindside. Mne (Seti) Raumakita (42 Cdo RM) chopped down the big RAN forwards and made sure they paid for every yard they gained.

As the clock ticked past the first ¼ the RAN forwards started to tire and this allowed the RN backs to begin imposing themselves on the game. AET (Jon) Humphreys (RNAS Yeovilton) made some significant inroads into the RAN back line, support as ever by Centres (ET (ME) (Dale) Sleeman (HMS Ocean) and AB (WS) (Tom) Davies (HMS Illustrious).

From a ruck, Scrum Half POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) went blind, drawing in 3 players including the left wing, before releasing Raumakita down the wing. A valiant last ditch tackle by RAN Full Back ABMT (Daryl) Seden could not stop Seti's try, which was converted by Pascoe: 5-7 at half time.

The Navy made changes at half time to the front row, bringing on AET (Kye) Beasley (RNAS Culdrose) for Mne (Josh) Terry (RM Poole) and Capt (Chris) McArdle (HMS Ocean) for Lt (Ed) Gaught RN (HMS Somerset).

As Pascoe converted a penalty to give the RN a 5-10 lead, the power house Sgt (Gaz) Evans (HMS President) left the field due to a knee injury. Evans was replaced by CPO (Sumo) Thompson (HMS Sultan).

Again great work by Pascoe and Raumakita allowed the ball to be driven in-field to the RAN 5m, before Pascoe released Humphreys who was brought down by 2 tacklers just before the line.  However, he popped the ball up to Mne (Greg) Wellings (RMASC) for his first try: 5-15.

The RAN forwards were looking tired, but still causing problems at the rucks and mauls. However Beasley had stabilised the scrum and was creating havoc in the loose.

It was at one of these scrums that the RN got a nudge on the RAN pack, the RAN Scrum Half lost sight of the ball and Raumakita snapped it up, before off-loading to fellow back row forward Thompson. He in turn shipped it out to Puleston and Sleeman hit the line at pace. He drew in the Wing and Full Back before passing to the speeding Wellings, who still had to work for the try. Pascoe converted: 5-22 after 54 mins.

The RN made a few more changes which saw Lt (Tyler) Smart (MWS Collingwood) and Mne (Josh) Blackburn (CTCRM) come into the fray.

From a scrum going backwards inside the Navy's 5m line, Pascoe released Sleeman who saw open space and got up to the 22m.  The ball was recycled and Beasley hit the ball at pace, making another 10m.  The ball was recycled again and Fly-Half Mne (Nathan) Huntley (42 Cdo RM) made Humphreys stretch for the ball. Humphreys then turned the RAN winger inside out before off-loading to the boot of Wellings who chased his own kick and scored his Navy Rugby Hat-Trick! Pascoe converted: 5-29.

Pascoe and Humphreys are replaced by LAET (John) Clay (HMS Sultan) and LH (WESM) (Nick) Bell (HMS Vanguard). Clay was straight into the action and released the backs which saw Davies (T) see a miss-match with the RAN prop; he took advantage of the odds and rounded him to score. Clay then went on to convert the try: 5-36.

The RAN had never given up and hit back with an unconverted try to finish the game 10-36 and give the RN its 6th consecutive win in the Commonwealth Cup.

Raumakita was deservedly awarded the ‘Man of the Match by the RAN coaching team.

Cormack, Pascoe, Humphries, Sleeman, Terry, Huntley and Raumakita were then selected from the Royal Navy to be part of the Barbarians Select XV.

The selection for this team is made by the Hd Coaches of the 3 teams and is managed by the country where the next CNRC is going to be played (New Zealand 2014).

The Barbarians were due to play Sydney University, but as the University cried-off. The Barbarians will be split into 2 x 7s teams and take part in the CNRC 7s competition.