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Sappers regain Corps Festival title

The Royal Engineers secured the Festival title after a thrilling final at the Army Rugby Stadium Aldershot. In a match noted for aggressive defence the Sappers retained their composure in the knowledge that ‘more of the same’ should eventually win the day. It did. RE 17pts—RLC 5

The Sappers attacked and backed up their conviction with a series of 15 man surges that took them close to the RLC line. The Loggies stood firm and, vitally, they stood deep. A scoreless draw at half time did not so much mark a stalemate as the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Powerful forward thrusts into the third quarter, a hard scrum drive, found Sapper flanker Noxy Laqekoro well marked but motoring strongly 20 m out. Those who have seen him play 7s knew it was ‘on’ and the Sapper supporters started celebrating at the 10m point.

Noxy waited until he had grounded the ball before that stadium wide grin emerged.

The Sappers sealed their success during a flip-flop bounce-about where the ball could have gone anywhere. Army 7s skipper Gerhard Wessels, normally a centre but playing at No6, touched down. Army U 23 full back Will Reeve converted one Sapper try and slotted a penalty.
The RLC responded with a great forward try taken up by prop Joe Baker, who looks a completely different shape from 2011-12, and scored by replacement forward Luk Raluqa. Scrum half Gareth Barry also looked sharp and keen to wear a red shirt.
Ben Hughes, Sapper coach, was clearly pleased with his first victory at the helm. As skipper Fraser Deeming lifted the trophy high, he emphasised that the majority of his squad were new to Sapper rugby and said “I look forward to working with such young talent as centre Cavs Tabuna and No8 Joe McLean. The last couple of days have shown that we have strength in depth”.

The early season Corps Festival, sponsored by Optimum Nutrition, has proved to be a great pipe opener for Army rugby.

Maybe some of the ’stars’ were absent but others such as Matt Bowman REME confirmed a place in the pecking order. Vitally coaches at Corps level will know whether they have topped up their winter barrels for the ‘full’ Inter Corps fixtures to be played throughout the season.

League 2

AGC 31pts—RAPTC 14

Womens Final

AGC 10 pts–RA nil

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