RNRU(W) v WELSH DEVELOPMENT SQUAD
RNRU(W) v WELSH DEVELOPMENT SQUAD SUNDAY 3 DECEMBER AT WELSH INSTITUTE OF SPORT, CARDIFF Everything possible conspired to try and make this fixture fail and only the determination by both Rugby Unions (WRFU(W) and RNRU(W)) made this fixture happen - and what a game it turned out to be! The Navy Women stepped up yet another level to meet the challenge of a well organised Welsh Development squad that was full of players on the fringes of the senior team, players of the future and senior players in key positions who were used to bring stability to the side. After a couple of days training the team eventually ran out onto a wet and windy pitch normally used by the Welsh Senior Team to play this inaugural fixture. Paula Bennett-Smith led the team in her usually uncompromising way which kept the Welsh on the back foot from the set pieces. The lineout worked well in the conditions with Whitby and Davis providing Kristy Forward with some good possession from which to release a new look set of backs. Sarah Jenkins returning to Navy Rugby after some absence came into the No 10 position. Normally playing at outside centre, she took on the challenge and responsibility with the experience belying her age. The Navy came under pressure from the kick off but with some creative kicking from Lou Clarke covering the Full Back spot they kept the Welsh at bay. Eventually the pressure told and a move wide to the right gave the Welsh a 2-woman overlap which they turned into a score under the posts (converted try 7-0 14mins). The Navy came straight back with the usual passion and determination, which kept the Welsh penned inside their own half for some time. On the occasions when the Welsh did break out, the Navy cover defence was strong and uncompromising. It was one of these Welsh attacks that saw Beer intercept in her own 22 and only a last ditch tackle by the Welsh left wing brought her down just 5m short of the line. The final act of the first half saw the Navy give away a penalty which was converted. (Half Time: 10 -0). Losing skipper Paula Bennett-Smith (Birkby 45mins) just after the break was a blow but with a bit of reorganising and the leadership of the team handed over to prop Vic Percival, the Navy set about pressurising the Welsh team in all areas. Whitby, Davis, Roseamon and Rivett caused the Welsh all sorts of problems and it was only an infringement by the Welsh (for which they received a yellow card) that stopped Whitby going over the line. Emily Atkins left the field injured (Osman 65mins) which meant more reorganisation and prompted a change of positions, with Garrett returning to the scrum half position. The Welsh came back and again continue to attack out wide but the Navy's cover defence was now aware of this threat with Beer, Coward, Jenkins and Clarke closing them down. It was only a brief lack of focus that allowed the Welsh to score, try converted (17 - 0) This would normally have seen the Navy heads go down, but this was a day of changes and the Navy went straight back and after another attacking run by Whitby and a passing movement out wide gave debutant Ayeshea Amihere a score in the corner. Try unconverted (17 – 5 Final Score). Special note should go to Full Back Lou Clarke for her kicking game out of hand whilst under pressure, her tackling which stopped the Welsh scoring on many occasions with little thought to her own safety and the support and confidence she gave to the new backs and those playing out of position. Squad: CPO Bennett-Smith (Capt) (HMS COLLINGWOOD), Lt Percival (HMS ILLUSTRIOUS), Lt Seagrave (SHRIVENHAM), SM Rivett, Davis (HMS CALLIOPE), MA Whitby (RMB STONEHOUSE), OM Atkins (HMS RICHMOND), OM Roseamon (HMS COLLINGWOOD), Lt Forward (RNAS CULDROSE 849 Sqn), Jenkins (DNR CARDIFF), Surg S/Lt Coward (HMS EXPRESS), NA Garrett (FOST), CT Beer (CHICKSANDS), LPT Amihere (HMS COLLINGWOOD) , LPT Clark (HMS NELSON), NA Osman (RNAS CULDROSE 771 Sqn), Lt Birkby (HMS ILLUSRIOUS), Lt Mullens (RNAS CULDROSE), S/Lt Kukk (BRNC DARTMOUTH).