Strong Squad Named For Kiwi Challenge
New RNRU Director of Rugby, Mark Deller, has been able to name a strong lineup, which includes seventeen capped players, in the twenty five man squad for the 2014 Commonwealth Navies Rugby Cup which will be held in Devonport, New Zealand in September. Dave Pascoe is the only survivor from the last time the Kiwis hosted the cup in 2003. 2003 was a year for the New Zealand Navy to forget as they lost to both the Royal Navy and Australian Navy on their home HMNZS Philomel pitch, which for a proud rugby-playing nation is not something they would wish to repeat.
In the front row Ed Gaught will be playing in his third Commonwealth Cup and is joined by Tom Blackburn and Marc Jones who both played in 2009 but missed the trip to Sydney in 2012. For capped props, Kye Beasley and Mark Owen, it will be their first taste of CNRC action.
The back five will once more be led by Marsh Cormack who debuted in 2006 with a man of the tournament performance. He is joined by Chris ‘Sumo” Thompson a survivor from the Sydney tour in 2012. Ian Cooper, Dom Taylor and Dave Fairbrother are the other capped players in the pack and are joined by Brian Weekes Trophy holder, Edd Pascoe, Maltese International, Jack Basher, and Jack Tindle. All three had an excellent season last year for the Royal Navy U23XV and will be looking for the opportunity of proving themselves at the higher level.
Behind the pack Dave Pascoe will continue his competition with Johnny Stephen for the scrum half shirt with Nathan Huntley at fly half and Richie Cadywould providing fly half cover along with full back options. The Aussies and Kiwis will remember Seti Ramakita as a man of the match winning openside flanker but he will travel to New Zealand as a centre/flanker where he will be joined by another who toured in 2012, Tom Davies. The other outside backs are capped players Sam Davies and Watisoni Vakalutukali along with another 2012 returnee, Jon Humphrey and two relative newcomers in Matt Bowden and Sam Jones. Matt made a good impression in his first outing in Navy colours last season against Oxford University whereas Sam Jones is a newcomer to Royal Navy representative rugby but comes with a growing reputation from the Royal Marines rugby squad.
The Royal Navy open the defence of the Commonwealth Navies Rugby Cup on 22 September against the Royal Australian Navy and play the New Zealand Navy on 26 September.
Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones