Senior XV Release Players for Memorial MatchThe Navy season kicks off with 2 games on Wed 2 Feb with a very different feel about them. At Iffley Rd, the Senior XV will open their account with a match against Oxford University. Meanwhile, the Navy Mariners will be taking on their younger adversaries from the Fleet Air Arm at St Ivel Barbarians RFC for the Paul Dunn Memorial Trophy.
The Memorial Game has grown year by year and is a fitting tribute to one of the greats of Navy Rugby. Wherever Paul Dunn served, rugby flourished and considering he was still playing in to his 50's it is appropriate that the Mariners take on the challenge of his beloved Fleet Air Arm. As an acknowledgement of the contribution Paul made to the RNRU and the importance of the occasion the Senior XV have released 6 of their Fleet Air Arm players to take part in the game. The contingent, led by Navy loosehead prop Kyle Mason, include 2 of this year's successful U23 squad in Aaron Hunt and Jon Humphries along with the successful Navy Cup winning Capt, HMS Heron's Stan Mortensen. The group is completed by Navy capped backrow player Gareth Jones and new to the Navy set up, Joivin Harper, the former England Clubs U18 openside flank forward.
Paul Dunn made his debut for the Navy alongside current Mariners Head Coach, Mike Connolly, in the great side of ‘74' and went on to win 11 caps before his last game in 1980 the year in which current Navy Chairman Cdre Rob Thompson won his first cap. Paul epitomised all that was worthwhile in the game and Navy Rugby. Off the field he was able to engender warmth, camaraderie and the strongest bonds of teamwork and lasting friendship. He never willingly took a backward step and his work rate and competitiveness was rarely matched.
Commenting on the game Lt Cdr Geraint Ashton Jones said "Having been both fortunate and privileged to share the game of rugby with Paul the Memorial game's growth his great to see. The competition on the field will provide the Mariner's with a great start to their 2011 Inter Service challenge and if the occasion can also provide the Senior players a little more insight in to one of the Navy's best players then so much the better'.
Geraint went on to say about the Senior XV game ‘The Senior XV will be at Iffley Rd that night and this game will give a few of the new players an opportunity to press their claims. Last season the Navy let Oxford off the hook at Burnaby Rd, this year we will be looking to start the season much stronger. However, they are always a side that challenge you in many ways, so it should be a good test as to where we are at this early stage in the season.
Fleet Air Arm v Royal Navy Mariners, St Ivel Barbarians RFC KO 1900
Oxford University v Royal Navy, Iffley Rd, Oxford KO 1915
Royal Navy Team to play Oxford University
Blackburn, Priddey *, Roberts *, Scotthorne *, McLaren *, Copeland, Lark *, Cairns *, Pascoe * (Capt), John *, Kamikamica, Sleeman *, MacRae *, Lewis, Marlin
Replacements: Evans-Jones, Terry, Cadmore, Laird, Ranscombe, Smallbone *, Raumakita
* denotes Capped Navy player