On a day when the last three Army Rugby Union Cup winners were all in action, it’s becoming clear the ‘big guns’ are starting to stretch their muscles. As we get to the business end of the league season, the Royal Welsh, 17 Port & Maritime Regt and the Welsh Guards all won away to ensure the leagues statisticians will need to get the calculators out to see ‘who meets who’ in the quarter finals in January 2014.
Having lost to the Royal Welsh in their opening game the Welsh Guards travelled to Ireland to play 2 Rifles. The Rifles have taken the scalps of past winners 7 Para RHA and the Royal Welsh, but in a lung busting effort they left Belfast with a win; 16 – 10.
In Scotland the Royal Welsh had driven the short trip from Tidworth to Edinburgh to play 2 Scots, and having dispatched 4 Regt RA last week by a cricket score they knew Army Fly Half, Jack Prasad’s team would be a sterner opponent. The Scots didn’t disappoint and a tough battle saw the Royal Welsh eventually take their tally to played four won three, 24 – 14 the final result.
At the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, the officer cadets playing in their first season in the Premiership have already shown they are not just here to make up the numbers. They narrowly lost to 1 Bn The Yorks a few weeks ago and with 17 Port losing to the Yorks a fortnight ago both teams knew that a win would get them back on the Premiership track. The Officer Cadets are in full time training to become Army Officers and most had taken part in a tough endurance navigation exercise in the morning; they are though exceptionally fit and have the skill and flair you see from ‘well educated’ rugby players. However it was 17 Port that took the game to the Academy and some slack tackling by the Academy defence had the ‘Dolphins’ edge into a narrow lead at HT 20 – 14.
The Officer Cadets came out of the blocks strongly in the second half and crossed the line twice, several players have real quality and will without doubt be on the Army coaching staffs radar once they commission. The 2011 winners were not going to leave this famous institution without the points and with well-timed replacements their strength in depth had them cross the whitewash three more times to take the final score to 41 – 21.
This was a highly entertaining match, the ARURS match officials played their part in ensuring the players played within the law and referee Bobby Moore displayed how to manage the match and get the respect of both teams without the need to issue any cards. So a few more Wednesdays to go before we know who meets who in the quarter finals, if you want good odds, put a fiver on the last three winners of the famous cup to be there in the mix.