Royal Navy Senior XV to play Rygbi Gogledd Cymru
The Navy Senior XV play their final match before Twickenham when they once again travel to North Wales to play RGC1404, which now forms part of the Welsh Rugby Union's National Academy. Last year the match was one of the best of the season for the Navy in terms of match preparation as the Welsh side produced a high tempo game, full of invention and the power to back it up. This year the Navy will be seeking to overcome last season's sluggish start and exert a little more pressure from the start.
As the season draws to an end the Navy coaching staff is able to draw from almost their full squad for the first time this season. Fly half POET(WE) (Wayne) John (HMS Liverpool) wasn't considered due to injury but the only other player still in the treatment room is Mne (Dennis) Scotthorne (42 Cdo RM) who continues to recover from his dislocated shoulder. A couple of other players were not considered, loosehead prop NA (Kyle) Mason (845NAS, RNAS Yeovilton) has been released to Malta for their game against Croatia and left wing Logs(CS) (Josh) Draunininu (HMNB Portsmouth) is involved in the Championship Semi Final for London Welsh against Cornish Pirates.
Following strong performances from the bench SLt (Tom) Blackburn RN (HMS Sultan) and POAET (John) Court (829NAS, HMS Westminster) hold on to their places in the front row whilst Cpl (Gaz) Evans (539 ASRM) returns to play at hooker. It is hoped that Capt (Stu) McLaren RM (DMOC) will be back in country to partner POAET (Marsh) Cormack (854NAS, RNAS Culdrose) in the second row whilst the backrow sees the return of ET (WE) (SM) (Ian) Cooper (HMS Ambush) from injury at No 8 with flanker LPT (Gareth) Cadmore (HMS Raleigh) retaining a starting position following his exploits against the RAF along with vice captain Cpl (Greg) Barden (HMNB Portsmouth). Also of note is that uncapped, but highly talented flanker, SLt (Jovin) Harper (BRNC) is named on the bench for what would be only his second game of the season following his injury against Oxford University.
The backline retains much the feel of the end of the RAF game. Mne (Scott) Llewellyn (Cdo Logs Regt RM) retains the centre jersey having made a try scoring impact from the bench, whilst newly commissioned Lt (Andy) Vance (HMS Sultan) returns to the fullback birth in to the position vacated by POAET(WE) (Dane) Smallbone (HMS Collingwood) who steps in for injured John's. Versatile scrum half / wing Mne (Johnny) Stephen (CTCRM) takes Drauniniu's place on the vacant wing.
Finally followers of Navy rugby will be pleased to know that three of the squad have been released to the Combined Services U23 for their final warm up game and hopefully the Twickenham match against Oxbridge Varsity U23. They are Mne (Setareki) Raumakita (42 Cdo RM), NA (Aaron) Hunt (RNAS Yeovilton) and AET (Jon) Humphrey (848NAS, RNAS Yeovilton). The other U23 players within the Navy Senior XV squad, namely Cairns, Cooper, Blackburn, Sleeman, Scotthorne and Laird have not been released.
The team in full is as follows:
SLt Tom Blackburn RN * (HMS Sultan)
Cpl Gareth Evans * (539 ASRM)
POAET John Court * (829NAS, HMS Westminster)
Capt Stu McLaren RM * (DMOC, RAF Halton)
POAET Marsh Cormack * (854NAS, RNAS Culdrose)
LPT Gareth Cadmore * (HMS Raleigh)
Cpl Greg Barden * (HMNB Portsmouth)
ET (WE) (SM) Ian Cooper * (HMS Ambush)
POAET Dave Pascoe * (Capt) (771NAS, RNAS Culdrose)
POET (WE) Dane Smallbone * (HMS Collingwood)
Mne Jonny Stephen * (CTCRM)
Cpl Calum MacRae * (CTCRM)
Mne Scott Llewellyn * (Cdo Logs RM)
ET (ME) Jon Marlin * (HMS Chatham)
Lt Andy Vance RN * (HMS Sultan)
Capt Tom Evans-Jones RM * (LWC Warminster)
NA Ben Priddey * (RNAS Culdrose)
AB (WS) Marc Roberts * (HMS Bulwark)
Lt Niall Copeland RN * (HMS Collingwood)
AB (WS) Will Cairns * (CFPS)
SLt Jovin Harper RN (BRNC)
MA Sam Laird * (HMS Collingwood)
AET Gareth Jones * (RNAS Yeovilton)
ET (ME) Dale Sleeman * (HMS Cumberland)
SLt Stu Lewis RN (RAF Shawbury)
AB Darren Bamford (HMS Collingwood)
* Denotes Capped Player