army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Army Senior Men secure Le Crunch victory

A combination of slick attacking play and gritty defence proved a winning combination for the Army Men as they beat their French counterparts 33-22 in Pau.

The Red Shirts made a dream start inside two minutes as a well-weighted pass from fly-half Spr Jack Johnson (RE) created space for Tpr Levi Roper (QDG) to run in from some 35 metres out, the centre stepping smartly inside the initial challenge before showing a fair turn of foot to the line.

Johnson added the extras, but the French cut the deficit with a 40-metre scrum penalty shortly afterwards.

They missed a chance to further trim the deficit when the visitors infringed at the breakdown, but a straightforward chance was hooked left from 25 metres out.

The French Army did, though, cut the gap to one as they forced another penalty after winning a scrum against the head, but they then butchered a glorious chance to hit the front when spilling the ball inches from the line on the right.

The pressure was well and truly on the away side, but some tenacious defence – even when reduced to 14 men as Sgt Matt Dawson (Int Corps) was sin-binned for cumulative team offences near their try-line – restricted their opponents to a third penalty for a 9-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

And having successfully kept France from crossing the whitewash, a moment of magic from Johnson put the Army back ahead, the stand-off’s sublime side-step creating space to run in from the 22.

He successfully converted his own score, and with France again knocking-on when having good field position just before the break, the visitors had a 14-9 half-time advantage.

That, however, was wiped out early in the second period, another scrum penalty kicked by the French before a three-pointer for a misdemeanour at the breakdown edged them in front.

The Red Shirts rallied, though, and in a topsy-turvey encounter regained the lead when Lt Frank Kelly (AGC (SPS)) burrowed over from close range for a try again added to by Johnson.

And the centre doubled his tally at the start of the final quarter, midfield partner Roper making a fine break before sending Kelly away for the score and breathing space.

Johnson’s kick made it 28-15, but the French came again and forced a second sin-binning for the Army, Cpl Sean Beevor (QOGLR LAD) this time the man to go after conceding a penalty near the whitewash.

And the hosts set-up what could have been a titanic finish when awarded a penalty try for a high tackle, only for the Army to regroup and seal the deal as Rfn Vereimi Qorowale (Rifles) scorched down the left for the final and decisive try.

Army v Royal Navy | Sat 04/05 |

RAF v Army | Sat 11/05 | 

Pic: Alligin Photography

Richard Ashton

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