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Capt Stu Cross (RMAS/Yorks) said that the Royal Navy were worth their win at Twickenham on Saturday afternoon.

The 39-22 win secured the Navy their first Inter Service Championship crown since 2016, and was their first win over the red shirts since 2010, and what it meant to the dark blue camp were clear come the final whistle.

Of course where on one side there is elation there is the polar opposite on the other, but Capt Cross was quick to pay credit to the victors.

“There’s plenty of disappointment, but the first thing is that we have to congratulate the Navy,” Capt Cross commented. “They came here to play, played for 80 minutes, and were good for the win in the end.

“If we look at the first half our discipline let us down. We gave them easy ins into our half, which we shouldn’t have, but the Navy then took the opportunities when they had them.”

Jordan Gott’s five penalties saw the teams be tied at 15-all as the clock hit 40 minutes, and with a promising attack the Army were looking to end the half on a high. But with a turnover and an overlap the Navy sprang a counter from deep, centre Setareki Raumakita putting right a wrong from earlier in the game to score a try which would give the Navy a lead they would not relinquish.

Raumakita had previously gifted the Army their opening try with a floated pass that was gratefully snapped up by Spr Cameron McDonald (RE), who combined with Maj Will Reeve (R Gurkha Rifles) to cross for a second a couple of minutes later.

Spr McDonald completed his hat trick in the second half, but by then the Navy had gone over for their second try shortly after the resumption of play, and the margin was too big to overcome.

“It was on a knife-edge at the end of the first half,” Capt Cross commented. “We were in the ascendency and in their 22, and unfortunately the rugby ball doesn’t always bounce the way you want it to. It bounced their way, they went the length and had the momentum going into half-time.

“We came out with a bit of intent, and while they scored first we came back at them and I’m really proud of the boys for their second half effort.”

With a new coaching group, a new captain, and a dozen players being capped for the first time during the course of the campaign, the Army camp has seen plenty of change over the last few months.

Capt Cross acknowledged this, but also said that those new faces had taken their opportunity, particularly against the French Army and the Royal Air Force.

“People looked at this season as a transition,” he added. “We had a lot of seasoned players go, but that provided others with an opportunity and through the season we’ve built and built. And while it didn’t go our way today, our performance against the RAF, particularly in the second half, shows that transition hasn’t always come into effect.”

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks

Images – Alligin Photography © Army v Navy Match