Two Changes for Royal Navy’s Twickenham Clash
Royal Navy Selector, Andy Kellett, has made two changes from the side that started against the Royal Air Force. Gaz Evans, a replacement in that match for injured Tom Cowley retains his place as does Dale Sleeman, at centre, following his return from injury. For the first time this season the three try scorers from last year’s Army Navy match all make the starting XV as the Royal Navy seek a first win since 2010.
Gaz Evans is one of two changes in the starting XV
The front row has a settled look about it with Kyle Mason set to win his twentieth cap packing down at loosehead prop with Ben Priddey, at hooker, and the Royal Marine’s Josh Terry at tighthead prop. Kyle joins Dan Parkes, Nick Bartlett and John Ackerman amongst the props in the Royal Navy’s top ten list of most capped players.
Kyle Mason will be winning his 20th cap on Saturday
The back five is re-jigged to accommodate Gaz Evans at Number 8. Dave Fairbrother moves across to the blindside flank with Matt Harvey moving forward to make an all Scottish second row pairing with Marsh Cormack. Dom Taylor’s recent form gives him the nod over Sam Laird for the specialist openside flanker shirt.
Matt Harvey forms an all Scottish second row with Marsh Cormack
Behind the scrum it is no surprise that having proved his fitness against the RAF, Dale Sleeman returns to inside centre and his final game in the Royal Navy shirt. He will resume his now established centre partnership with Matt Tichias with Nathan Huntley inside them at flyhalf.
Dale Sleeman resumes his partnership with Matt Tichias, effective in both attack and defence.
The back three sees Eldon Myers retain his place on the left wing to win his second cap alongside Jack Fleckney, on the right wing, with Jon Humphrey again at full back. Finally Dave Pascoe, at scrum half, captains the team for the twenty second time.
Jack Fleckney, scores the final try at Twickenham last year. It is the first time that last year’s try scorers, Jack, Gaz and Dale, have started a match together this season.
With the attritional nature of the Army Navy match it is more than likely that the replacement bench will play an equally important part. Mark Owen makes his first Army Navy squad, long over due since his first cap in 2010. Mark is joined by fellow Army Navy debutants Harry Collins, Tom Cowley, Ratu Vakalutukali and Sam Davies. The final two bench players are Johnny Stephen and another who makes his last appearance for the Royal Navy, Sam Laird.
Dave Pascoe leads the team for the 22nd time in a capped match
The full Royal Navy team is as follows:
|1||NA(AH) Kyle Mason + * **||RNAS CULDROSE|
|2||LA(AH) Ben Priddey * **||RNAS CULDROSE|
|3||MNE Josh Terry *||RM POOLE|
|4||AB(CISSM) Matt Harvey*||HMS TRENCHANT|
|5||POAET Marsh Cormack * **||RNAS CULDROSE|
|6||CPL Dave Fairbrother*||45 CDO|
|7||MNE Dom Taylor *||42 CDO|
|8||CPL Gaz Evans * **||30 CDO|
|9||CPOAET Dave Pascoe * **(Capt)||RNAS CULDROSE|
|10||MNE Nathan Huntley * **||30 CDO|
|11||ETWE Eldon Myers*||HMS COLLINGWOOD|
|12||ETME Dale Sleeman * **||HMNB DEVONPORT|
|13||L/CPL Matt Tichias * **||HMS TAMAR RM|
|14||MNE Jack Fleckney * **||40 CDO|
|15||AET Jon Humphrey * **||845 NAS|
|16||MNE Harry Collins+*||40 CDO|
|17||MNE Mark Owen*||CDOLOGS|
|18||MNE Tom Cowley*||42 CDO|
|19||MA Sam Laird * **||RAF HENLOW|
|20||MNE Ratu Vakalutukali*||CDOLOGS|
|21||LPT Johnny Stephen *||BRNC DARTMOUTH|
|22||ETME Sam Davies*||HMS OCEAN|
|23||MNE Greg Welling * **||RMASC|
|24||MUSCN Ed Pascoe||RM Band Portsmouth|
|* Navy cap|
|** CS Cap|
|Article by Geraint Ashton Jones|
|Images by Alligin Photography / © Geraint Ashton Jones & © Lee Crabb