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Seamen arrive on the Last Wave

The Dolphins overcame fellow ‘Loggies’ club 23 Pioneer Regiment to reach the Final of the Army Premiership Cup.  The expected result was far from assured until the Pioneer pack, a robust unit, tired in the third quarter.  And then, as if by magic, the Pioneers re-emerged to produce, in the last fifteen minutes, consistent team play and a cliff hanger.

Running on empty, the Pioneer pack stood tall. Led into the teeth of the defence by No8 Joe Kava they delivered some thunder rugby against a team that, all too early, appeared to believe the game was won. Kava is something of a bullock in overdrive and difficult to slow down—let alone stop.  Too frequently the Dolphins appeared unaware of the dangers lurking in the ‘red zone’ leaving a down hill run to the posts.  The Welsh will have noted the absence of a cover plan in any measure of depth until Damudamu arrived on the scene.

It required Army threequarters Malakai Magnus and Gavin Ferguson, who ended up with two tries apiece to seal a notable victory for the seaman. The ‘hammer’ and the ‘anvil’ were effective craftsmen against a more than resilient Pioneer side.  Ferguson was constantly at the heart of the action and is a tough nut to drop.  He carries strongly and has front row type strength when he sniffs the whitewash.

Magnus is the eagle eyed predator who can read the game well from almost anywhere in the backs. His second try appeared simple—a 90m sprint where no one was anywhere near coming second. That was the physical fact– but a mental oversimplification. It was the reading of the somewhat predictable play and the likelihood of looped ball falling into his grasp that earned ‘Maggie’ the points. His celebration during the final 60 m of his dash might have raised a few of the older eyebrows—but then…..Nearly 50 points were scored in this Army semi final. 

Both teams had firepower which they used aplenty until the Magnus second try which sealed the result. 23 Pioneer Regiment are a good side and would have made worthy finalists.

The Dolphins, one of the most consistent clubs in the Army, will be tested by the Royal Welsh up front for a full 80 minutes. The players all know each other, and on the pitch don’t deal in ceremony. It will be interesting to see if anyone comes up with something a bit new for Wednesday 14 March at Aldershot.

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