BA(G) managed to finish their season on a high with an encouraging 22 – 13 win over Austria in Vienna. However, victory didn’t seem quite so certain until well into the second half. The first half saw the Austrian’s pin BA(G) in their own half with some good kicking from hand. This was not helped by the penalty count against the visitors; albeit from some refereeing decisions which on occasion baffled both sides. This put BA(G) under plenty of pressure and the Austrians will probably rue some missed opportunities. The few attacking opportunities for BA(G) were often stifled by a solid Austrian defence and a lack of accuracy with the ball in hand. As a result the home side took a 6 – 0 lead into the half time break.
The second half saw the visitors up the intensity of their attack. LCpl Mathew Saulalai (SCOTSDG) had been breaking the gain line throughout however it wasn’t until the 58th minute that he made a clean break which saw him touch down for a well deserved try. Skipper LCpl Jack ‘Schulugen Mate’ Kirmond (5 Rifles) was able to convert and BA(G) took the lead for the first time. It took less than 5 minutes for BA(G) to score again with some concerted pressure which lead to Capt Dan Reid (2 Scots) going over wide out to the left. The South African Jock showing good strength to finish the move. The conversion was unsuccessful so the score was 12-6 going into the final 15 minutes of the game.
Further BA(G) pressure lead to a Jack Kirmond penalty. The Austrians were then able to exert some pressure of their own; searching for a score which would bring them back into the game. It was however BA(G) who managed to score again, replacement scrum half LCpl Stu Hagen (26 RA) making a break from a quickly taken penalty. He seemed as surprised as anyone that he managed to ride a couple of tackles and make a considerable amount of ground. Good support play allowed him to off load and further close follow up allowed quick ruck ball 5 metres out . LCpl Tyler Dunning (35 Engr) seized the opportunity and bundled over the line. The conversion was successful; score 22-6 going into the final minutes of the game. Austria was to have the last say; their scum having been dominant throughout the game, they were awarded a penalty try for persistent infringements. A successful conversion was followed by the final whistle and a final score of 22-13 to BA(G).
This was a much improved performance from last week’s against The Netherlands. Lineouts were completely revamped and some good movement allowed the forwards to secure good ball for the backs to play with. The backs looked good going forward and could have been more devastating on a wider pitch. The second half performance was built on both forwards and backs consistently breaking the gain line and going to ground rather than throw the 50/50 offload which was so frustrating for BA(G) in the first half.
There were impressive performances throughout the team. LCpl Scorby Ratubalavu (PWRR) was again on form; running some fine supporting angles and being a constant nuisance in defence. Mathew Saulalai will probably give the Austrian centres nightmares for weeks to come with his hard running. It was promising to see LCpl Lee Jones (5 Rifles) come off the beach to win his first BA(G) cap and once he settled look comfortable at this level; his throwing in the lineout was accurate and he made an impact in the loose.
Director of British Army Rugby 15’s Captain Paul Jones (QDG):
I would like to end the season by congratulating the players for a win against Austria. But more importantly I would like to thank them for their continued commitment to BAG Rugby. The squad is constantly recruiting new talent but about 60% are regular committed players. They will be rewarded with their BAG Caps in the next few months. The season would not have been so successful if it was not for the overwhelming dedication of the management. I would personally like to thank the following: SSgt Chris Williams APTC (Head Coach), WO2 Rob Lockyer QDG (Manager), WO2 Rob Jones QDG (Forwards Coach), WO2 Jason Davies QDG (Backs Coach), Cpl Woody Mairara PWRR (Asst Coach), Sgt Callum Keen RLC (Kit Man). Also Abbie the Doctor and Lara the Physio.
I look forward to the 14/15 season with pre-season training in September. This will be the last season for BAG as the draw down from Germany commences. More detail will follow later on in the year for Pre- season training in Dempsey Bks.
BA(G) v Austria 2014 – Image Gallery
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