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Ecstatic Army Men’s skipper Bdr Pete Austin (RA) said he was proud of his team after they won the Inter-Services Championship with a 45-21 success against the Royal Air Force.

Austin opened the scoring before another first-half try from LCpl Solodrau Radianirova (REME) gave his side a 12-7 half-time lead, Bdr Owain Davies (RA) with a conversion.

Lt Al Gliksten (RA) crossed before the RAF cut the deficit to 19-14, only for a blistering burst including a penalty try and further scores from Rfn Imi Qorowale (2 Rifles), Sgt Matt Dawson (Int Corps) and Cpl Iferimi Bolodau (R Sigs) to kill the game, Davies and Cpt Matt Smart (1 R Yorks) adding a kick each.

Reflecting on victory, Austin began: “The first half against the RAF is always incredibly difficult, they’re a very physical team with good leadership, but in the second half we found a bit of space to exploit.

“The bomb squad made a big difference – they always do – and it’s what you need, impact off the bench is a brilliant thing to have.

“I’m ecstatic and very proud of the boys.”

He continued: “Last week was physically and mentally draining, but we have a brilliant medical team and they got the boys to exactly where they needed to be.

“The whole season has been a whirlwind, insane. We’ve had so much change in the team – fresh guys playing and the way it’s all come together is brilliant.”

The captain’s emotions were shared by man-of-the-match Lt Frank Kelly (AGC (SPS)), the inside centre providing his side with relentless go-forward.

He said: “It’s great to be champions and the atmosphere was really good. After last week it was emotionally difficult to get back up, but we did it and showed our strength in the second half.

“I think they tired a little and we just kept building momentum, showing a professional edge.”

And the star man ended with praise for his midfield partner Radianirova, who took his try tally to two in two and looked dangerous throughout with his electric footwork.

Kelly admitted: “I’m surprised no-one in the Premiership has picked him up yet, because he’s exceptional and very young, so he’s got a bright future.”

Words © Richard Ashton

All images – Alligin Photography © Army Rugby Union