Lt Col Tim Osman (RA) found plenty of reasons to be positive despite his Army Men’s squad losing fixtures 36-21 and 57-10 to British Police and Championship side Nottingham.
LCpl Phil Graham (32 Engr Regt), Rfn Vili Salusalu (5 Rifles), Douglas McGregor-Smith (174 (PRO) COY) and Sgt Scott Westwood (4 Regt RA) all touched down as a Developmental Red Shirts side were edged out by the Police, while against a powerful Nottingham side, Cpl Rhys Roberts (RAMS att 1 Rifles) and Spr Taitusi Qainuci (36 Engr Regt) were the try-scorers as their side battled bravely to the end.
Despite both games being lost, the squad was able to spend plenty of valuable time together and Head Coach Tim revealed: “It was a good week and I’m happy. We had 46 players all involved in one place, so it was a great start to our camp heading towards May (Inter-Services).
“Results-wise I’m not overly-fussed – the Police had a much better organisation than the team we beat last year., they’ve developed as a club to get a stronger showing and that was demonstrated with a decent side. It was a good run-out for the 15 who played on Wednesday.”
He continued: “Realistically with the side Nottingham put out it was always going to be tough, but the spirit was there and we used the bench, so again it was good to have 24 guys getting some game time.
“We dug in, but it shows the difference when you’re playing big, strong guys who don’t miss tackles – it’s a tough ask but what we need to aspire to.
“I thought the guys did pretty well – the penalty count was high, probably more than 20 from them – so I was a little disappointed we didn’t get the just desserts.
“It’s always nice to win but I was more interested in the shape and some of the activity we did with the boys.”
With Inter-Service Under 23s winning captain Rgr George Goen (2 Irish) and No. 8 LBdr Semi Tokaduadua (4 Regt RA) featuring and other newer players also catching the eye, Lt Col Osman said keeping a production line open is key as he explained: “Seeing some of the guys coming through is all part of the club’s ambition and we’ve got to show them the pathway is there – ultimately if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
“There were good performances which have been reflected with further opportunities coming next week at Cambridge.
“As I said in our training camp before Christmas and in early January, there are opportunities around and guys have got to step up and take them when they have the chance.”
The Red Shirts will enjoy another two-day camp before their game at Cambridge University next Wednesday at Grange Road, KO 1930hrs.
Words © Richard Ashton
All images – Alligin Photography © Cat Goryn