Army 62 pts—Cambridge University 10
THE ARMY fielded a mixture of senior players and ‘freshers’ to beat Cambridge 62pts-10 at Aldershot on 28 January. Coach Andy Sanger said “some new faces but it was vital to give young players a show at the earliest opportunity to meet the challenges of the Inter Services.
The first twenty minutes was intense. The Army attacked with a welcome degree of flair. Certainly the presence of lock and skipper Darrell Ball (RE) gave a sense of cohesion up front but it was the slick handling and running in the backs that notched up 21 pts in fewer minutes.
Key was a reinvigorated Jack Prasad (Scots) who linked ‘7s style’ with centre Peceli Nacamavuto (RE), who made great yards and scored a superb individual try. Both spotted the gaps and exploited the middle against an experienced Cambridge defence.
A succession of well supported breaks, one gem by newcomer Connor O’Reilly (Para), and quick rucking drove the Students on to the back foot. Once in possession the Army showed admirable ball retention and, but for brave Cambridge defence, would have exceeded the six tries scored in the first half.
The Army is not short of pace on the wings. Sebu Naulogo (Yorks) touched down twice within 10 minutes whilst Sammy Sema (RE) found the right gears to out- sprint the students in the final moments. Naulogo and Sema have physical presence and are hard to hold out wide. Nacamavuto, in fizzy form, danced and drove the angles to bring the forwards back into into play.
Forwards Pete Austin (RA), Will Jones (Welsh), Ball and Sam Richardson (RMAS) each finished off great movements.
The front row was solid with Austin again making his mark with telling carries. Austin no longer runs in the shadow of the Ospreys Mattie Dwyer (WG). Both bring a different quality to the game with Austin, the lighter, getting into the nooks and crannies. Loose head Aidan Gill (RA) had a strong first outing and looks prepared to compete with Ricky Reeves for the No 1 shirt
The second half continued in the same ‘ding-dong’ fashion. Although the Army had created a 40pts-5 advantage, the Cambridge students continued to attack at every opportunity. The Reds pack was forced to cover, regroup and cover again but twice the ‘Uni’ broke through for points. The Army crossed another four times for ten tries and a 62pts—10 victory.
Coach Andy Sanger declared he was “really pleased with the performance of a ‘mixed selection’ and particularly the newcomers who showed their paces whilst growing in confidence alongside the senior players. There is no doubt they will be challenging from now until the Inter Services”. He added “We will need to step up a gear when we travel to Worcester on 25 February. Sixways will give the new guys a real taste of what it takes to pull on the Red’s jersey at Twickenham on 9 May”.
Army v Cambridge Squad
1. LBdr A. GILL 32 Regt RA
2. GNR P. AUSTIN 12 Regt RA
3. LBDR K. DOWDING 12 Regt RA
4. SSGT D. BALL 42 Engr Regt
5. GDSM G. BILTON 1 Bn WG
6. LT W. JONES 1 Bn RW
7. LCPL C. MUNDY 5 FS BN REME
8. LCPL M. KOROIYADI 62 (WG) Engr Regt
9. CPL T. CHENNEL 11 TRG BN REME
10. PTE J. PRASSAD 1 Bn SCOTS
11. LCPL S. SEMA 32 Engr Regt
12. LCPL P. NACAMAVUTO 39 Engr Regt
13. PTE C. O’REILLY 2 Bn PARA
14. PTE R. NAULAGO 1 Bn YORKS
15. CPL U. BLAEKINASIGA 1 Bn YORKS
17. CPL W. ROSS-ALLEN 667 SQN AAC
30. LCPL C. BUDGEN 1 Bn RW
19. LCPL L. JOPE 26 Engr Regt
20. OCDT S. RICHARDSON RMAS
21. CPL A. VAKASAWAQA 39 Engr Regt
22. LCPL G. WESSELS 101 Engr Regt
23. SGT T. TAMATAWALE 17 P&M Regt
24. SPR J. DIXON 26 Engr Regt
25. PTE R. BULUMAKAU 1 Bn SCOTS