On 22 September the Royal New Zealand Navy will open the 2014 Four Nations Maritime Rugby Cup (within which the Commonwealth Navies Rugby Cup now sits) against the United States Marine Corps! History tells us that the USA declared independence in 1776 a year after the US Marine Corps were formed; so hence the tag CNRC is no longer applicable. However they will be warmly welcomed, by the New Zealand Navy’s own Haka, as a new team to the tournament. Famous around the world for their fervent loyalty to each other and their Corps, they are sure to bring a physical and determined edge to their matches, embodied by their motto Semper Fidelis (always faithful). This is perhaps more apt than their motto until 1871 of First to Fight!
The US team will arrive at HMNZS Phloem in good shape following the All America Armed Forces Sevens tournament held at Glendale, Colorado on 15/16 August and a training camp from 18 August until 12 September. At Rugbytown, Glendale the USMC will be seeking to rest their sevens title, which they last won in 2012, back from the Army who won the tournament last year. They will no doubt be boosted by the form and recognition Elliot Joses has received. He was voted as the US Marine Corps Sportsman of the Year in December 2013 following his call up to the US Eagles Sevens training squad in January. With Combined Services honours and Navy honours he will be one to watch out for in Auckland.
The US Marine Corps will be the fifth team to have competed in the International Navies tournament. In 2006 the South African Navy hosted the tournament at Simon’s Town.
Navy tight head prop, Mark Owen, has experience of playing the US Marine Corps having been part of the successful Royal Marines side that toured in 2012.
Images by ©Travis Prior 2013 www.facebook.com/travis.prior.52
Images provided by Travis as a tribute to US Servicemen and women. Images taken at the 2013 US Armed Forces Rugby Championship, Rugbytown, Glendale, Colorado