Army 39 pts — Cambridge University 5 pts
THE ARMY REDS welcomed senior players back to training but nevertheless fielded a largely experimental XV to beat Cambridge 39pts-5 at Aldershot on 20 February. The performance fully justified the decision of Army senior coach Axel Rees to “ring the changes on the evidence”.
A succession of well supported breaks, one gem by James Read, and quick rucking frequently drove the Students on to the back foot but what Cambridge failed to gain from ruck and maul they made up at the lines-out. Once in possession they showed admirable ball retention and, but for vigorous Army defence in the last trenches, would have scored two tries in the first half.
The Army is not short of pace on the wings.
Darrell Ball, in good voice, gave the pack cohesion. Back-rowers Mundy and Jope were lively and Ball was inevitably on hand to provide the momentum lacking against Oxford. Jope was more than a handful in the Students ‘22’ and rammed home the first try. Bulumakau scored the second whilst Cummings kicked accurately for an 18 pts lead at half time.
Coach Axel Rees was satisfied, but not completely, at the final whistle. “The newcomers are showing their paces, growing in confidence around the senior players and challenging for places” he said. “We will need to step up another gear when we travel to Worcester on 6 March but this was encouraging and Sixways will give the new guys a real taste of what heights they have to reach”.