RNRU Senior XV End of Season Awards
The Royal Navy Senior XV award two trophies at the end of every season - the Cossack Sword and the Proud Heritage Exciting Future trophy. This year's worthy recipients are Corporal Ben Fox and Able Seaman (Minewarfare) Gareth Rees.
The trophies were awarded by RNRU President, Admiral Sir Philip Jones, in the team changing room at Twickenham once the final whistle had blown in the centennial match. The winner of the Cossack Sword is voted for by the team members of the Senior XV for the player whose performance over the course of the season best meets the battling qualities invoked by the heritage of the Cossack Sword, for 'ground gained and held'. It was presented to the RNRU by former player and selector, Captain Leigh Merrick RN, and was first awarded in 2000. Ben first represented the Royal Navy in the 2012 season and was part of the 2016 Inter Service winning side. An athletic and robust back row forward he can also play in the second row and he prides himself on a high work rate around the field. He has won 9 caps so far and will hopefully go on to win many more.
Moving from the RNRU U23s into the Senior XV last season, Gareth Rees has already played in an Inter Service winning side on 3 occasions (twice with the U23s in the past 2 seasons and with the Senior XV in 2016). He is an energetic and sprightly scrum half, with an amazing turn of speed and superb agility. Now with 6 Royal Navy caps and one for the UK Armed Forces (at the time of receiving the award), he is quickly making himself indispensible, and one could be forgiven for forgetting that he only joined the Navy two years ago!
The Proud Heritage Exciting Future trophy was awarded for the first time in 2010 as an acknowledgement of the young and emerging talent within the Royal Navy. Gareth joins a list of talented players, including 2016 winner Jarrard Hayler, who was unfortunately injured earlier in the 2017 season and has been unable to play for the Senior XV this year, and his team mates Edd Pascoe and Nathan Huntley. Nathan won his 18th Royal Navy cap this year so that is a clear target for Gareth to aim for.
This year all the players in the match received a special cap designed to mark the occasion of the one hundredth match since the formation of the Army and Royal Navy Rugby Unions in 1906. Split into quarters, the cap has two dark blue quarters and two red quarters because it was awarded to both the Royal Navy and Army players.
Well done to both Ben and Gareth and to all the players who took part in the historic match.
Images Royal Navy Rugby Union © John Walton, Keith Woodland and Mark Andrews.
Army Navy Match © Lee Crabb