Combined Services (W) 12pts—24 Australian CS (W)
THE Australian Services tourists produced a clean sweep with an inspired final quarter against the Combined Services at Caerphilly on 7 November.
It was in all ways a Remembrance Day match with both sides showing excellent skills and determination. One somewhat ‘old rugby sage’ labelled it the best women’s game he had seen in the past decade.
The Brits started well with England international Jane Leonard, playing at scrum half, scoring an almost unopposed try within five minutes. The CS looked to put cream on the cake but they had forgotten the maxim ‘Aussie Rules’—which for the younger generation translates into ‘win or die in the attempt’.
The Aussies struck back patiently and fiercely through their back row and only terrific Brit tackling prevented the scorers getting a bit of a sweat on.
Aussie No7 ‘Bits’ Allen scored a brace for a 12pts-7 half time lead but vitally the team had shown across–the –board awareness and the fitness of a well knitted touring squad with huge belief. They also showed they could read a rugby match. Where to strike and when.
The third quarter was breathtakingly close with the CS frequently being held just short of the line.
Skipper Sarah Mitchelson led by example taking crash balls where she was well supported by Rosie Hague and the nugget prop Charlie Maxwell—my CS player of the match.
Camped on the Aussie line Mitchelson called for one last effort followed by another but the Green and Gold defence held and then broke out for a top-class try, quickly followed by a second.
Game over—tour over—big Aussie smiles and a well deserved clean sweep, not so much because they won but because they went into the hard yards with a plan and belief –and both worked.