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Player of the Match LCpl Aaron James praised his 1 Royal Welsh teammates after they beat Lyneham Knights 46-12 to win the ARU Knock-Out Cup.

Having fallen behind to a Cfn Ben Hurford John try, the Dragons led 10-5 at the interval as James kicked a penalty before converting Fus Luke Dyer’s score.

The fly-half did the same after Fus Ben Bulubuluwale crossed early in the second period, albeit Lyneham cut the gap to five with a converted try of their own.

However, Welsh then stormed home, inside centre Fus Lewis Allen, LCpl Rasousou, Fus Kaloucava, twice, and Fus Fifita all touching down as James added two more conversions.

The star man admitted: “It feels quite surreal – I’ve been in two finals and we lost both times, so it’s lovely to finally be on the winning side.

“It was a very good team performance. We’ve been away on CSTX so hadn’t been able to train this week, but it came together anyway, and we’re delighted.

“The forwards were brilliant, usually Infantry teams don’t have the biggest of packs – we have to be fit – but our guys did a super job.”

With five of the tries coming from the three-quarters, two via cross-field kicks from James to Kaloucava, it was a real team performance, though, and James continued: “I saw early in the first half that the wing wasn’t really dropping, so I was looking to ping the corners – it was our game plan to keep them turned back and not be able to run at us.

“Lewis outside me was very good, I’ve played with him on a couple of occasions and we’ve got a good connection. I enjoy playing with him and he makes life a lot easier.”

And while the final score was emphatic, he admitted: “The scoreline definitely didn’t show how close the game was – it was very physical and in the first half they had the majority of the ball.

“But we managed to get some breaks and finished our chances – experience mattered 110 per cent.”

Looking at what it means the squad – who will enter the Knock-Out Vase in the New Year and whose first team are unbeaten in the ARU Premiership – James concluded: “It’s a top team to be a part of, we’ve got a lot of Welsh Fijians as we call them, and they bring in a lot of a family feel – we’re all brothers together. We have food together, spend time with each other and it’s special to be a part of something like that.

“Rugby’s very important to us, a huge part of my life and it’s something I enjoy doing. When you’re in work it’s something to look forward to and it’s a big thing for all the squad.”

Words © Richard Ashton

Header and featured image – Alligin Photography © Lee Crabb