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The Army Sevens team returned to action in the best possible fashion this weekend, winning the Cup title at the historic Melrose Sevens.

After beating Stirling County, Seventise and Currie Chieftains during the course of the day, the Army came up against traditional Sevens powerhouse outfit Samurai in the final.

As would have been expected the contest was a nip-and-tuck affair, and a try from Pte Livai Suluagalo (Yorks) opened the scoring Samurai tied things up before the break, bringing the score to 7-all.

But the contest was broken wide open shortly after the restart, as the Army crossed for two tries in quick succession, Pte Josefa Qalomaiwasa (Yorks) and Pte Lemeki Tulele (R Anglian) giving their team some much-needed breathing space.

This was needed, as the Samurai came back to make the score 19-14. But the win was sealed late on by a long-range score from a guest player, Kane Taear-Bourge, who had been drafted into the squad after impressing for Seventise earlier in the day.

Tournament rules meant that injuries had to be replaced by players from other teams who had been knocked out, and Taear-Bourge – coincidentally a serving Royal Marine – showed why he deserved to be made a temporary red shirt by sprinting away from the cover to dot down between the sticks.

The conversion made the final score 26-14, and Director of Sevens Rugby, Maj Jon Lord (RAMC), was understandably delighted by the performance put in by the group.

“It’s really pleasing to get a win in our first tournament, especially against the Samurai, who were our main rivals in 2021,” he commented.

“The Melrose tournament is one of the most prestigious and historic on the calendar. Whilst writing history, becoming the first British Army team to win in the home of sevens rugby, it was equally important for us in setting our standards for what we want to achieve throughout the 2022 season.

“The artificial surface at Melrose was perfect for running rugby and the teams put on a great display of Sevens for the crowd.

“We’ve got a packed calendar this year, and are already looking forward to Rosslyn Park and both Rounds 1 and 2 of the Super Sevens Series in May.”

Elsewhere neither LCpl Lloyd Wheeldon (3 Para) or Gnr Senitiki Nayalo (7 Para RHA) were on the winning side in their respective Championship Cup clashes.

LCpl Wheeldon started for Doncaster Knights, who welcomed Cornish Pirates to Castle Park. A tight opening half saw the teams match each other try for try to go into the break at 5-all. But the Pirates opened up the second half with a converted try, which they added to with another seven points a few minutes later to make the score 19-5.

On the hour a penalty try brought the Knights back into the match, and they tied things up with five minutes to play. There was more to come, with the Pirates going back in front with a converted try on 77 minutes to make it 26-19, and while Doncaster crossed for a fourth in added time they missed the conversion, leaving the tie evenly poised at 24-26 going into next week’s second leg at the Mennaye Field.

The tie between Gnr Nayalo’s Coventry and Ampthill is also close at the midway point, after Ampthill won 27-21 at Dillingham Park.

This match, too, swung from one way to the other, with Coventry leading 14-10 at half-time thanks to two converted tries scored in the opening 10 minutes.

But back came Ampthill, scoring three minutes into the second half and adding another try just past the hour to lead 22-14. It took three minutes for Coventry to respond, and for the next 15 minutes there was just the one point between the teams.

However Ampthill scored on the final whistle to give themselves a little bit of breathing space before the teams meet again at Butts Park Arena next Saturday.

Tickets for the 2022 Army Navy match (April 30th, Twickenham) are now available.

CLICK HERE for information about Army Navy

Words © New Dogs, Old Tricks.

All images © Rob Gray Photography