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Army Rugby V Worcester


Worcester Warriors 66—30 Army

Never (fully) trust the statistics ! This was as adverse an outcome (numerically) that the Army has suffered in recent years but it is important to get behind the numbers to uncover the true worth of this match from an Army perspective.

Worcester Warriors fielded a pro side with Internationals –Premiership players in key positions. It was therefore vital that the Reds dug deep in the knowledge that errors would be punished and that the scoreboard would show no signs of sentimentality . Many of these Warriors would be playing for their contracts.

With that as background the Army scored four tries and ratcheted up 30 points before an appreciative crowd and a match commentator who would be well employed by Army recruiting.

Jope takes the defence
Jope takes the defence
In Chris Budgen, Mattie Dwyer and Rickie Reeves the Army had a formidable platform—easily the match of the Warriors. A re-invigorated Ledua Jope at No 8 carved holes from the back-row, -vitally kept possession and provided the pack with a target where they rucked and mauled accurately.

It was a travesty that the ‘ref’ who never quite mastered the underlying spirit of this particular game even thought of sending him to the ’bin’.

At No9 Ian Martin, back from ‘Ops’, showed his old form and hinged sweetly with James Read who probably had his best game in a Reds’ shirt. Read has developed an air of authority, is clearly comfortable on the ball and his kicking is both long and accurate.

Outside the ever steady Gerhard Wessels, in the No13 shirt, fresher Tom Hiscock (Welsh Guards)showed great hands and ran strongly. He has a future in an Army shirt as does Sam Speight—another Fiji flyer.

Sam Speight - Fiji flyer
Sam Speight – Fiji flyer

Back to reality—the score. The bulk of the points came from or originated with what Worcester coach Mark Hewitt called his anchor men and around whom their game developed. Amongst notable full blown pros were England No9 Shaun Perry and Samoan centre Josh Matavesi.

Move on– we will take the positives, especially when we were at one stage leading 10pts–7. The Reds were fitter and working together over a half dozen sessions has reaped huge benefit.

Enosi Nabukebuke - ears pinned
Enosi Nabukebuke – ears pinned
Importantly to a man they wanted to carry the ball, ruck and maul with fire and give attacks around the flanks a chance. Enosi Nabukebuke (Welsh Guards) pinned his ears back for his first try from 40m and superbly controlled Read’s terminally guided cross kick for a second. Luke Bellinger (RA) worked hard to be in the right place for a short range crash-over whilst Read took an interception to run 40 m. Ceri Cummings scored 10 pts with the boot.

Coach Axel Rees was full of praise for the way his team ‘manned up’ to a severe test. “We are getting stronger in all departments and the players are gelling session by session and tonight showed real character.

We take nothing for granted—Bedford Blues in the Mobbs Memorial Match will be another huge test”.

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