The Army A team hosted the French Army in what has now become a traditional starred fixture. The French still have a huge ‘homeland security commitment’ and it is to their credit they honoured the fixture considering how stretched their Army currently is. Some familiar faces returned that had played for the French Combined Service during IDRC 2015 so the Army A knew le Blue would be ‘up for it’
Army 7s regular Lt Will Reeve skippered a side that had a good selection of Army U23s from the Autumn Inter Service campaign along with some ‘up and coming stars’ from unit and Corps teams. An evening kick off with driving rain seems the norm for a rugby fixture in Aldershot at the moment, however both sides displayed attacking flair from the start. The A team had been training with the Army Senior XV during the week and it had clearly paid off. Tight scrum and lineout work set up some solid platforms for the Army A scrum half Maj Dom Shaw. It only took 4 mins for Signaller Nalewabau (11 Sig Regt) to cross the white wash following a tight driving maul from a line out. The skipper added the extra two points.
‘Kick, lineout, catch, drive, repeat’ was the simple instruction and 20 minutes later A team No 8 Sgt Taura (14 Regt RA) had another 5 points for the A team, the junior REDS look comfortable and went in 12-0 up at half time.
No red wine for the French at half time, but clearly a few words had got them coming out of the blocks for the second half. The French were now playing with a strong wind at their back and it was time for the Army A defence to be tested. Tackling practice held firm however the French started to notch up points and were soon 15-6 down with two well taken penalty kicks. The Army couldn’t do the same and several penalties into the strong wind went wide. The French are passionate about their sport and the disappointment in a 15-6 final score was clearly evident. This match wasn’t about the result, the Army coaching staff had delayed their flights to join the senior team in Spain to play the Russian National team so they could see the young guns in action. Some had clearly impressed! Some good friendships have developed between the sides and we very much look forward to the return leg in France next year.