Army Masters (45) Thakatani Asti Rugby (0)
World Masters Games 2013 Turin Italy
The Army Masters secured a place in World Masters Games history by successfully defending the tittle won four years ago in Australia by beating Italian side Thakatani Asti at the Grugliasco Rugby ground in Turin on Friday evening.
The score line does not truly reflect what a hard fought contest the game was against an Italian side determined to win a competition on their home soil. The first 20 minutes of the match were brutal in the contact area and only two pieces of individual skill and strength from Masters Flanker Dave Goddard separated the teams in this period. The Masters led from the front by Skipper Camie Hastie playing his last game for the Army side built phase upon phase against the Italian defence and as with any side defending this sort of attacking play the gaps started to appear. With that space now available then who better to exploit it then Bruno Green who finished off his 40 yard dash to the line with a Chris Ashton dive in the corner to the delight of the large crowd. So at half time the Masters were 3 scores to the good, but the Italians were still in the game and Head Coach Tiny Baker left the side with no illusions that the was still a lot of work to be done. So it proved as Thakatani competed hard at the breakdown to slow and frustrate the Masters and deny that quick possession, they had done their homework from our previous games and knew that was a way to interrupt our game plan. However when Scrum Half Jimmy Newton spotted a gap he slipped his opposite number and with a little dash was then able to feed winger Billy Moore for the first score of the second half.
The Masters forwards now had their tails up and with big carries from the likes of Ewen Cameron and Mark Eastley were now making big inroads into the Italian half and from one of these attacks Mark Kane who had just replaced Lee Davies in the centre was able to run in and score a try to just about make the result and match safe. The coaching staff ring the changes and the fresh legs bring a new impetus to the attacking play of the Masters and Jimmy Newton tops a fine display when he sees a gap in the Thakatani defence to slip through to score under the posts. Not to be out done Camie Hastie picks up from a ruck 10 metres out a couple of minutes later to bust through the defenders and score another try to top off a great individual performance as player and captain. Bruno Green followed this with his second try of the game after a good carry by replacement forward Scott Kelly.
The Italians are tired now and the referee saves them from further punishment by blowing the final whistle. Celebrations followed that will live long in the memory of the Masters squad who for some this was their last game in the Army Red Shirt. Medal presentations in the fading light of the Torino evening were witnessed by a large crowd of not just locals but other competitors in the World Master Games from around the world and there were many comments after the game how much they had enjoyed watching the fine rugby put on display by the British Army Masters.