British Army 62 — Australia SRU 0 (nil)
“We didn’t really see that coming” said Army Head Coach Andy Sanger when the British Army opened with a 62pts-nil win over the Australian Services Rugby Union at Aldershot.
Nor did anyone else! After 20 minutes the Aussies were hammering the Army line and the ‘last trench’ work of the Reds was little short of heroic. Time and again the big men in green and gold launched themselves at the line, it was not enough to rattle the Reds’ defensive structure and the visitors were unable to find a way through.
Honestly, at that stage it was anyone’s game and just what the IDRC needed to liven things up. There followed an hour of steady graft up-front followed by some expansive play that brought Junior Bulmakau and Semesa Rokoduguni into play. Power and pace on the right with twist and turn on the left and truckloads of support play. Between them five tries.
That upfront graft was spearheaded by a tight front five with Maku Koroiyadi at his best. Launching, accelerating, dipping and crashing are the hallmarks of the Fiji international who has attack engraved on his bones.
ASRU played with a flamboyance and strength but after a 56 hour journey to English soil it is little surprising that it took time to settle. Manager Brendan Dumbrell praised the work of his forwards where lock Aaron Louden and hooker Scotty Ashurst stood tall. The warning is that these guys can play rugby and someone is going to see it as the Aussie backlash comes in.
Andy Sanger was happy with the controlled expansive rugby played by the Reds. “We introduced three new caps to representative Army rugby and each played their part in a great game of rugby”. Oh, and Budgie who moves from ‘player supreme’ to the realms of medical and physiological phenomenon.
This was the British Army’s historical best although we could have done without the opening 20 minutes of heartache. First an Aussie assault to test the mettle, a clearing kick of great significance and then attack with some running rugby. Let’s have a lot more!
IDRC is still very young but has already shown that we are in for a vibrant competition and do not write off the Aussies and they are looking forward to France on Monday 12 October—that is a danger signal.