15 Jun 13
The West Country beckoned for the Reds which has been challenging in the past couple of years not only for the rugby, but also for the weather which hasn’t been the traditional summer weather to play 7s rugby.
Team assembled and ready for the challenges of the day, first up in the pool stages were Bryanston Old Boys 7s who had some very interesting players participating in their ranks. From the kick off it was a battle of defence coupled with attacking that pushed out wide seeing both teams score converted tries before the break, giving a score of 7-7. From the beginning of the second half the Reds stepped it up a gear applying pressure and gaining confidence running training park moves to score two tries giving a final score of 19-7 to the Reds. The score looked great if you were a Red, however, the team had to work hard for it and blow out the cobwebs to get their bodies in gear to play 7s on a chilly day.
Next in the pool stages were Colbalt Crusaders who had played well earlier in the day and are a team to be respected. However, the Reds didn’t only have the opposition to worry about, they had to contend with the shower of rain that started at the first whistle and ended after fourteen minutes! That said, the Reds had a determined manner about the style they wanted to play, great hands and missed passes that put players in gaps that were exploited by speed and dynamic running lines to see the Reds go in at the break two tries up with a score of 12-0. After the break and rain pouring down like a fire hose wasn’t a great affair for either team, both scored a try a piece from a contact battle that resembled XVs rugby. Thankfully the Reds, showered and cooled down, won the pool game 17-5 at the final whistle.
Pool stages complete, next up were the quarter finals against CLIC Sargent Godfathers which is a charity team playing for a great cause and supported by the 7s community. However, the respect off the field is where it ended, from the kick off returning 7s ex international Pte Prasad’s light feet and swift hands tricked the defence to score two converted tries to give a lead at the break 14-5. After the break it was the same as the first half with the defence strong and running lines that would impress the selectors of the Olympics which finally saw Cpl Swann and LCpl Matacagi crossing the line giving the Reds a final score of 26-10 and a place in the semi finals.
Clouds looming and rain starting to fall again, the semi finals against Marauders was going to be challenging not only for the talented opposition but also the rain that decided to fall in the same manner as a early morning downpour. Receiving the ball from the kick off the Reds worked the ball between the team members to push the Marauders defence and looking for gaps to appear which finally came in the 3rd minute seeing gas man LCpl Matagaci fly up the middle of the field to score between the posts which was closely followed by Cpl Tamatawale scoring to give a half time lead of 12-7. From the restart and no let up in the rains performance, the Reds continued to starve Marauders of the ball which finally saw possession turn into points through some fine skills and pace from gas man LCpl Matagaci. Taking the lead from the restart, Cpl Swann didn’t want to be left of the scoreboard and blasted his way up the field to score an outstanding single effort which was respected by the damped crowd. Wanting the final whistle and winning the game 24-14, the Reds retired to the tent firstly to warm up and prepare for the final against the touring French team Le Bleu who had played well to get to the finals and, if judged by last year’s performance, they wanted to walk away with the title. Stopping them were the Reds who had been soaked through the day but had an abundance of character wanting to defend their title.
Fired up, the Reds fielded the park ready for the battle which started after receiving the ball from the kick off and pressurised with a passion not seen during the day. Ball carrier plus supporting players flying in at different angles saw the Reds scoring two tries (LCpl Matagaci and Pte Prasad) to the cheers of the spectators who had been in the clubhouse watching the Lions! Not to be defeated, Le Bleus continued to apply pressure to be rewarded with a try and seeing the Reds leading at the break 12-7. Break over and a calm chat from the coach, the Reds changed up a gear and choked Le Bleus of any possession by ferocious tackling to turn over the ball and dominate the field. This constant pressure converted into points with Cpl Tamatawale, LCpl Matagaci and Pte Prasad all going over the white line to score three unanswered tries resulting in a final score of 29-7 but more importantly taking the trophy for another year.
Overall it was a great weekend that challenged all in the team; logistically, coaching, playing and spectators. However, more importantly, the team showed the true character and core values of serving operational soldiers to succeed in the eyes of adversity to take away the trophy. Thank you to all our supporters and friends on the 7s circuit, without your support we wouldn’t be here to play as YOUR TEAM.