ROYAL NAVY SET TO DEFEND THE COMMONWEALTH CUP IN AUSTRALIA
The Royal Navy Senior XV travels ‘down under' to defend its unbroken record as the holder
of the Commonwealth Cup. This year the teams will go head to head in Sydney, Australia
between 1ST and 13th October.
The concept of a Commonwealth Cup dates back to 1997 when the RN Rugby Union
invited the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) to tour the UK. As the Royal Australian Navy (RAN)
intended to tour the UK in the same year, it was decided to hold a Tri-Navies rugby tournament,
to be held every three years. This then developed into the Commonwealth Cup to be contested
between the RN, RAN, RNZN and the South African Navy (SAN). Unfortunately, the SAN is unable to
take part this year.
Royal Navy Rugby Union Chairman Capt (Chris) Alcock OBE said of the competition:
"After 12 years it is great to be returning to Australia to once again compete in the
Commonwealth Cup. Having personally had the honour to play in the 75th Anniversary game,
it is poignant that we are now playing in the year that the Royal Australian Navy celebrates its
Centenary. Whilst we wish our Australian colleagues a most safe and successful Centenary, it
will be a huge challenge to return as Commonwealth Cup champions once again. But I have
been hugely impressed by the energy that has been put into the preparation and I am confident
the boys will give their very best."
The Australians and New Zealanders will recognise some of the faces they lined up against in
Plymouth in 2009. The RN squad is captained by POAET (Dave) Pascoe (RNAS Culdrose) who is
taking part in his 5th Commonwealth Cup, having represented the Royal Navy in each of the
competing countries: Australia in 2000, New Zealand in 2003, South Africa in 2006 and at home in 2009.
He knows only too well how tough a competition this is and he will undoubtedly lead from the front as usual.
Dave said of the competition: "I'm looking forward to the challenge of the Commonwealth Cup.
Both the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy have been getting stronger with every
tournament, so I'm by no means expecting it to be an easy retention of the trophy".
Dave went on to say of the squad: "We have an exciting tour party and I believe that if we can get the
balance right on and off the field, we will be successful in the goals we set ourselves as a squad.
The most important goal for us all is to retain the Commonwealth Cup".
RN players are drawn from all the Navy Commands, with the biggest contingent (11) coming from
the Royal Marines, 7 from the Fleet Air Arm, 5 from the Surface Fleet, 1 Submariner and 2 from shore bases.
There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad, with some wise old(er) heads providing that all-important balance to the team. POAET (Marsh) Cormack (RNAS Culdrose) is set to take charge of the lineout and some strong runs from ET(ME) (Dale) Sleeman (HMS Ocean) and Sgt (Gaz) Evans (1AGRM) should always be expected by their Australian and New Zealand opponents. Mne (Seta) Raumakita (42 Cdo RM) will make his mark in defence. Capt (Stu) McLaren RM (RAF HALTON (DMOC)) makes his return to the Senior XV, which also welcomes new faces MA (Sam) Winfield (MDHU DERRIFORD) and Mne (Scott) Puleston (CTCRM). For the first time in the competition, the Royal Navy welcomes Royal Marine brothers Mne (Josh) and Sgt (Laurence) Blackburn (CTCRM and RM Poole).
CPO (Ash) Coates (Fleet) RN Senior XV Head Coach said of the squad: "The Commonwealth Cup allows the team an opportunity to address the disappointment of the Army v Navy performance in April. We intend to take those lessons forward into the defence of the trophy, which we can then use as a catalyst for the forthcoming season".
"This tour also allows us to view a group of players in a pressured environment". Ash went on to say: "I feel both enthusiastic and excited that as a group we can perform to our full potential and retain the Commonwealth Cup."
The Competition kicks off on Wed 3 Oct with RAN v RNZN, which is always a very hotly contested match.
Competition dates of note are:
Mon 1 Oct: Opening Ceremony
Wed 3 Oct: RNZN v RAN
Sun 7 Oct: RN v RNZN
Thu 11 Oct: RAN v RN
Sat 13 Oct: 7s Competition and Baa Baas v Sydney Uni
The support of Commanding Officers and colleagues is essential in ensuring that players are released to take part in this prestigious competition and is, as always, greatly appreciated.
The RN Squad:
JONATHON JASON BRYNLEY
42 CDO RM
9ASRM (HMS OCEAN)
RAF HALTON (DMOC)
42 CDO RM
JOSHUA JAMES MAXWELL
* Denotes Capped player
You can follow the RN's progress on this site or follow us on Twitter @RNRugby