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Students give Army a lesson

To go under by 14 pts—24 to a far from bright Oxford University team at Aldershot was not a great start to the Army season. No escaping the hard truth– it was a poor performance where senior players remained below the parapet and some ‘’recruits’ failed to emerge from the smoke.

It is too easy for those in the warm seats to be critical. It is therefore better we all label and bin any short-lived difficulties, providing, to quote the modern phrase, we all map a “pathway” to better days.

On a bright note if the Army had played with the vigour and shape they found in the last 15 minutes they would not have lost. A win might certainly have ‘perverted the course of justice’ but maybe to ‘win ugly’ comes in handy when the coach starts his debrief !

No8 Ledua Jope in full flight
No8 Ledua Jope in full flight
The catalyst for fourth quarter improvement arrived when Iggy Putty (RLC) came in from the wing to scrum half. Small of stature but a lively runner he lifted both a cruising pack and a disconnected 10—11—12. The scrum manned up when Rickie Reeves was restored to the front row.

The line-out, where Ed Whitely (RA) had had a strong first game in a red shirt, started delivering the basics. That said Whitely, a largish unit, should have put himself about far more and must make himself available for the contacts and the hard carries.

When the gloom started to lift, ‘Bull’ Bulumacau (1 Scots)on the right wing, with speed and balance, created opportunities only to be pulled down short by a well organized cover defence.

At the same time No8 Ledua Jope (RE) came off the back to create platforms in mid field. Isolation can be one of the curses of the modern game and Jope was, too often, given an undeserved ‘shoeing’.

‘Bull’ Bulamacau opens up on the right wing
‘Bull’ Bulamacau opens up on the right wing

In response to three good Oxford tries the Army pack rumbled over for two whilst fly half James Reed (R Welsh) kicked a penalty.

Right. We march from here.

With nine weeks to go to Twickenham, a new sense of urgency should mean Cambridge University feels the Reds’ corporate wrath on 20th Feb at Aldershot. Worth a watch!

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