army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Upward Trajectory Continues as Navy Women Denied by Powerful French Outfit

The Royal Navy's Senior Women showed how far they have come this season by pushing the Marine Nationale all the way in Vannes last weekend.

The Royal Navy's Senior Women showed how far they have come this season by pushing the Marine Nationale all the way in Vannes last weekend.

A superbly taken try by Laika Swain even had the heavily partisan crowd cheering as the Navy put in a huge defensive effort to cause the well drilled Marine Nationale to falter. The scoreboard read 34 - 5 to the hosts but with a further 10 minutes of game time the fresher RN side could have closed the gap.

On a hard track the Navy, though playing the phases, were unable to extricate themselves out of their 22 from kick off. The French were dangerous with ball in hand and immediately took the game by the scruff scoring early on having already knocked the ball over the line.

A big work on for the side should be kicking from hand; the confidence from finding touch would support a mental reset so they can build momentum and shape in the game.

There was parity across the set piece as the coaches turned out a good product on the field. In open play the French continued with their big ball carriers ignoring the obvious overlaps. The Navy continued to work extremely hard in defence.

Receiving a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on created an even more formidable defensive effort as the hosts only scored one try in that 10-minute period. A huge effort by new cap Jasmine Abel stopped a near-certain try; retreating at speed she recovered the ball just short of the try line and held her ground until support mustered around her.

The first half ended 24 – 0 but as was a common theme of the game, the Navy were able to hold up their opposite numbers over the try line.

It was 10 minutes into the second half before the French were able to get back into scoring mode. The smothering play and big hits by the Bryan and Fifita in the forwards and on-field captain Sinclair and centre partner McLaughlin caused also sort of difficulties for the opposition. They presented difficult questions of RCMN attack, but the French were able to conjure up an answer.

Down to 14 following a yellow card of their own, the French began to show some fragility. The RN confidence going forward increased as they won the contact, breaking tackles across the field. Dominating over several phases and advancing quickly when the opposition were penalised, allowed Swain to crash through the waning defensive line to score in the corner.

Marine Nationale scored their last points 15 minutes before the final whistle with Dixon finally arriving on the field immediately bolstering the defence and providing some opportunities for attack. |The game ended 34 – 5.

This was a huge team effort by the Senior Women. They brought continuity to the way they played keeping the ball alive against a quick to the breakdown team as well as fronting up to a much bigger pack at scrum time.

Team captain Rose Dixon who received a huge cheer as she entered the field said, “It was a really tough game against a well drilled French outfit, they were strong and powerful runners and really tested our defence. That said, the Royal Navy Women fiercely defended against the French side, and we ran some cracking lines with plenty of ball in hand. Our team has been on a consistent upward trajectory, there is plenty to be built upon in camp in preparation for the RAF and this game has put us in a great place to continue building.”

Royal Navy v RAF | Sat 20/04 | 

Army v Royal Navy | Sat 04/05 |

Pic: Jarrad Hulm

Jamie Campbell-Baldwin

All articles