Army Masters v Aylesford Presidents XV
The Army Masters continue their preparation for the 2017 Inter Service competition. There has been some turbulence to the squad but momentum is being maintained and the key small investments in game plan, approach and training methods are bearing fruit.
This all started with the team meeting the day before and continuing with their Strength and Conditioning as they did back in Oct, taking this a step further to ensure the Masters are well prepared physically for the Inter Services. The Masters would like say a big thank you Bridgitte Swales and Ed Archer for all the training they have conducted for the team.
It was an easy decision to make to play a RBLI Aylesford Presidents XV side being so close to remembrance. It allowed us to prepare the team against a befitting opposition, raise the profile of Army Masters Rugby and our mantra as ‘Competitive Ambassadors’ and help a military charity widen its reach and appeal. A great day, a great game and a very nice memory to have for those who took the field.
The day started with a visit to the RBLI Village in Aylesford, after a tour of the village and the factory it was time to for all the Masters to gather and remember all those who had fallen. Col Sandy Fitzpatrick MBE laid a poppy wreath followed by a minute silence.
After a light lunch at Aylesford Bull’s Rugby Club, the Master’s changed to have a light training session prior to the evening game. It wasn’t long until the crowds started to arrive at the club with an opening game from a couple of junior rugby sides that really set the scene, while the Masters and the Presidents XV prepared for what was looking to be a great evening of rugby.
It was time and what started out to be a very physical fixture with the Presidents XV proving to be strong in the forwards, turned out to be a comfortable win for the Army Master’s as the strong backs showed their strength.
Within the first ten minutes of the game came the first try for Cpl VK Vukinavaua; who made a strong run from the centres within his own half after the Presidents XV lost their ball at a well contested lineout by the Master’s forwards. This was an easy conversion for WO2 Brad Sutherland. 7-0
A great restart by the Presidents XV lead to a knock on by the Masters, good strong set piece at the scrum resulted in the Army Master’s being on the back foot. However the determination and strong defence by the Master’s resulted in WO2 Gareth Slade Jones collecting a spilt ball and running out of his 22, passing the ball to the winger who ran down the touch deep into the oppositions half before being knocked into touch. The second try came from Sgt Lesley William, after a scrappy lineout by the Master’s scrum half on the back foot gave a good ball to the backs and put them back on the front foot able to use a strike move resulting a try in the corner. Again this was converted by WO2 Brad Sutherland. 14-0
The Masters started to give a couple penalties away due to the physicality of the Presidents forwards but defence proved to be strong. Against the run of play the Masters managed to steal another line out ball but foul play by the opposition resulted in a penalty to the Masters which WO2 Brad Sutherland converted. At 17-0 it looks like the Masters are slowly running away with the game.
After another good restart by the Presidents XV the Masters again gave away another penalty. This gave the opportunity for the opposition to make a couple of changes and bringing on ex Masters player Bruno Green who’s first touch of the ball carved a hole through the Master’ s defence and poor tackling resulting in a very good individual try under the posts. This was converted making the score 17-7.
Most of the first half saw the Masters scrum under all sorts of pressure but again despite this and scrappy ball for the backs this resulted in a good try by WO2 Brad Sutherland in the corner who then missed his own conversion. The score now was 22-7.
Again the Presidents XV restart was good however WO1 Jackson made a great run with the opposition having to deploy their scrambled defence resulting in a penalty being awarded to the Master’s. This was kicked to the corner for a 5m lineout, however what should have been set play by the Masters resulted in the lineout being disrupted but with the ball not being cleaned up by the Presidents XV prop WO1 Mark Easley crossed the line for the final move of the first half. Again this was not converted 27-7 Half Time.
The coaching staff rang the changes with fresh players eager to stake a claim for the up and coming Inter services competition in April 17. The changes however backfired slightly and the Presidents XV side were able to use their now even stronger maul to their advantage and stroll over the line for an easy try. This was not converted by the Presidents XV 27-12.
The second half turned out to be very physical with big hits being put in from both sides, after some nice play by the Master’s Sgt Tamatawale picking up from a quick ruck side stepping a player and had an easy run under the posts. A dropkick conversion missed the score was now 31-12.
With game starting to slip away from the Presidents XV as the Army Masters Backs started to show their strength with more tries by Sgt Tom Tom Turagabeci and a spectacular try by Sgt Lesley Williams making a 70m powerful run from deep within his own half. This was a spectacular evening and a great game to watch with fantastic support from the side lines. The final score was Masters 46 -12 President XV.