The Army senior team finished off their Inter Service warm up matches with an impressive victory over the Russian Club champions Krasny Yar at the Browns International Sports Training complex near Faro in Portugal. The Russians had returned to Browns after last years camp when they went on to win the Russian Club league and cup double. The REDs are presently on their fourth visit to Browns and were keen to reverse the loss to the Russian team from last year.
Alan Brown had advertised the fixture well, the Algarve was well aware of who was here and some 600 ex pats turned up to cheer the Army team on. Head coach Axel Rees has some selection headaches to ponder over the next few days before he announces his team to play the RAF at Halton on Wed 16 April. Good performances from squad players in the Corps and Premiership finals have ensured not many are guaranteed their starting place.
The opening exchanges were a mark and tempo on the 80 minutes to come, the Russians were big and powerful with a smattering of Aussie twang in the half backs and they were here to win, the Army had picked a pack full of power with an explosive back line. It was the Russian champions who opened the scoring though and lead by seven points after seven minutes. The REDs responded well and moved up to the Russian clubs 22, with a good catch and drive Joe Jope received the ball and used all his power to crash over from close in. James Dixon is making a mark for his kicking accuracy made the conversion.
Krasney Yar moved three clear from a penalty before Tams Tamatwale broke from his own 22 to outpace the chasing green shirts. Dixon added the extras and the REDs lead at half time 14-10.
The second half was an even contest with both teams scoring two further touchdowns, Ray Bishop displayed the pace that made him a favourite with the JP Morgans sevens circuit last year and back from iRB International duties with Scotland in Hong Kong Joe Nayacavou put his marker down to the coaching staff.
With a multitude of replacements it was inevitable that some continuity would be lost, however it was clear that the REDs are ready to face the Inter Service campaign with confidence and are raring to go with a squad of high quality players.
Royal Air Force…here we come !