RN U23 Tough Start to the Season

The Royal Navy U23s began preparations for defence of their Interservices title this weekend with a fixture against a lively Cambridge University U23 side at their Grange Road ground.

With a firm surface underfoot, the scene was set for a keenly contested match between a young developmental Navy U23 side and their well drilled Cambridge counterparts.  Both sides soon met head on, and with neither wanting to take a backward step, play moved continually back and forward across the half way line as each side sought to find their opponents try line. Cambridge soon succeeded and crossed the Navy line after 15 minutes, capitalising on their opponents being a man down due to injury. With the score now 7-0, Cambridge continued to attack the Navy defence and this was rewarded by a second try 10 minutes later which was converted. Not content to let the traffic be one way, the Navy repeatedly drove into their opponents 22 through good interplay between backs and forwards, and the resultant pressure enabled Fly Half AB Lewis (HMS VIGILANT) to kick a penalty, awarded for a Cambridge offside. A further penalty followed quickly thereafter, bringing the half time score to 14 - 6.

Following the half time break, the RN took to the pitch keen to take the game to their opponents, and aggressive Navy defence continually deprived their opponents the opportunity to cross the gain line. However, the students soon got points on the scoreboard when, following a missed penalty, the Cambridge Full Back charged through, caught the defence napping and gathered the rebound and scored. The Navy soon struck back, and after a darting run up the left wing by Mne Vakalutukali (40 Cdo), Navy scrum half Mne Foster (40 Cdo) crashed over for a try, which was subsequently disallowed by the referee.

With the breakdown being hotly contested by both sides, an inevitable infringement at the ruck saw the Navy reduced to 14 men. Further points duly followed for Cambridge, but the students were made to work hard to penetrate a committed and aggressive U23 defence. Determined to the end, the Navy responded in style and with only minutes remaining on the clock, winger AB (D) Wood (DDS) scythed through the Cambridge defence from deep and crossed under the posts. The try was converted by the trusty boot of Lewis, bringing the game to a close with a final score of 33-13.

For the U23s this represented a highly promising first outing with many positive points to focus on. The foundation has now been laid for the remainder of the season, and with several established players yet to join the squad the season has a promising look to it.


 RN U23 Squad List:

AET A Benton (849 Sqn)

Mne J Blackburn (Corps Colonel)

AET K Beasley (824 Sqn)

MID J Bethwaite (BRNC)

Mne J Brett (ASG Yeovil)

Mne K Bridgen (40 Cdo)

AET R Champion (846 Sqn)

Mne B Clifford (SFSG)

Mne L Davies (42 Cdo)

Mne J Foster (40 Cdo)



Mne W Mclaren (CLR)


Mne A Pearson (42 Cdo)

Mne R Vakalutukali (40 Cdo)

MA S Winfield (UK Med GP)


Mne J Wright (40 Cdo)

AB (D) Wood (DDS)

Mne D Taylor (42 Cdo)