RN U23 V HAMPSHIRE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT SQUAD
A good crowd turned out to see the RN U23s take on Hampshire at Burnaby Road on a sunny autumn afternoon. The RN were missing a number of key players through both injury and deployment but were looking to field a side that contained players who would be in the Inter-Services Squad come the end of the month. The RN were quick to establish early pressure with some good drives into the heart of the Hampshire defence. Some strong initial defence by Hampshire kept the RN at bay, but 4 minutes of sustained pressure led to hooker Dale Smith burrowing over for the score. (5-0) The RN tried to assert their authority but a loose passage of play with too many knock ons and stray final passes was frustrating RN efforts. After 16 minutes another ruck 10 metres out from the Hampshire line resulted in scrum-half Wayne John chipping over the top for full-back Joe Poole to nip through and touch down ahead of the turning defender. Poole converted the try to take the score to 12-0. The game then went through a fallow period, a series of stops for injuries, and a string of penalties awarded against the RN for in-discipline around the break down and scrum. The concentration and intensity of effort had dropped and Hampshire used this period to regroup. They started to make some good inroads in the RN defence. A quick tap penalty from the Hampshire Fly Half and a lack of concentration in defence lead to the 1st Hampshire try. (12-5); 4 minutes later the quick turn over ball and some good passing down the back line led to their second. 12-10 at half-time. The RN moved Wayne John to Fly Half and brought on Stephens at scrum half at the start of the 2nd half with immediate effect. Quick line out ball, and rapid movement along the back line brought Poole into the line from full back. Drawing the last defender he set up Josh Drauniniu to score in the corner. (17-10). The back line were starting to work well, with only the final pass preventing a rapid succession of scoring. The penalty count was also beginning to stack up against the RN, keeping Hampshire in the game and allowing them to kick for field possession. However 20 minutes into the half, quick turn over ball and a surging break by team captain Ben Ashfield through the centre set up Drauniniu for his second score. (22-10) The U23s then gave away another series of penalties culminating in a yellow card for Robbie Roberts for persistently delaying the release of the ball. The initial impact was limited as Drauniniu scored his 3rd try breaking from inside his own 10 metre line outstripping the covering defence to score under the posts. Poole converted to make the score 29-10. Playing with 14 had its impact! Hampshire launched a series of attacks through their back row leading to a good break by their fly half to send the left wing into the corner. The score finished 29-15 to the RN U23. The game saw a winning start for new Head Coach Dave Guyan, who will now coach the side into the Inter-Services following the recent and sudden retirement from the U23s of Steve Sinclair. The reduced squad forms up again next weekend to play Bath Rugby Academy on 5 Nov, kick off 1400 at Burnaby Road. Your support would be greatly appreciated.