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Army V RAF – 2012

Army Firepower Downs Air Force – Interservice Championship 2012

The Army won this first encounter of the 2012 BABCOCK Inter Service Championship by a clear 59pts-nil. The Royal Air Force put in a brave and, in parts, skilful performance, and must be considered unlucky to lose by such a wide margin. Maybe local knowledge and the ability to fly off grass runways was a bonus.

The Army scored steadily in the first quarter and only unforced errors prevented the match being sewn up well before half time.

The RAF pack was, in the presence of many of their former internationals, very competitive. It certainly gave nothing away in the tight or the line out. Sadly for all the graft up front they lacked penetration and with Mark Lee and Joe Kava in bristling mood they found it almost impossible to gain meaningful penetration.

For the Army it was, therefore, just a matter of numbers and time.

Lee opened the scoring, firstly putting the defence in a froth and then seizing the loose ball to dive over the ruck. Mattie Dwyer thundered in for the second whilst winger Semesa Rokoduguni bagged a brace inside ten minutes. His first was a magnificent stretch through four defenders. Full back Ceri Cummings converted three of the tries for a 26 pts-nil lead at half time. Coach Andy Sanger seldom reveals what is said at the interval but this time it had a calming influence.

The Army picked up an uncluttered attack rhythm. Jack Prasad danced and ducked through the first line of defence to find the Red hoards at his side offering untold options.

It was attack on a grand scale with the whole Army team flying in close formation. Rokoduguni landed another couple whilst the ever present Gerhard Wessels also scored two. Ben Seru crossed for the final try with a magnificent burst of raw speed.In the second half Cummings converted four out of five attempts—excellent stuff. The pack had, with a mounting score and increasing confidence settled into the roles of provider / supporter. The front row was solid against a strong Air Force trio with Kenny Dowding performing well at loose head prop.

Also having his best game in a Reds’ shirt lock Dave Bates was noticeable in the loose. He frequently took the first few hits from the defence and with Paul Llewellyn, a hulk of a No6, invariably on hand the forwards completed off-loads normally reserved for the training park.

Coach Capt Andy Sanger reflected ”I am proud of how the boys tackled what could have been a tricky encounter. The RAF were well prepared and we started slowly but gradually skipper Darrell Ball led the boys to play some free flowing rugby. We intended to run the ball away from the Air Force’s heavies—and it worked. I was very pleased that the RAF did not cross our line– nor did we give away kickable penalties”

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