army v navy 
Saturday 4th May 2024


Plenty more to come, says Osman

Army Senior Men’s Head Coach Tim Osman believes there is plenty more to come despite his side heading into the Inter-Services Championship on the back of an emphatic 80-8 victory against Irish Defence Force.

The Red Shirts ran riot with their backs in scintillating form, Imi Qorowale, Owain Davies and Solodrau Radianirova all crossing twice in the first half as Jack Johnson and Levi Roper also touched down.

Seven Johnson conversions made it 54-8 at the interval, Luke Johnson kicking a penalty for the visitors as guest debutant Aaron James grabbed their only try.

The second period proved slightly more even, but Army still ran in four more scores with Roper doubling up, prop Gareth Smith finishing a fabulous team move, Pita Ratukadreu collecting a sublime Johnson cross-kick and Davies completing his hat-trick late on.

Osman began: “It was a good performance, but there’s lots to work on too.

“We’re aware of the running talent, pace, and off-loading skills we’ve got when there’s room to play, and the guys exploited that.

“A lot play Sevens, and the gas from the Fijian backs especially is lethal and very hard to defend against.

“Some of the foundations to get us to that place need a bit of work – it was probably a bit easier than either of the games coming up – so there’s plenty to take into training camp.”

At the heart of a one-sided first half were Doncaster Knights wing Qorowale and his fellow Championship player Matt Dawson, the duo proving too hot to handle for their opponents with pace and physicality.

The Head Coach continued: “Without disrespect to anyone else, they should be dominating. It’s the reason they play that level at their clubs and we’ve also got Shane Nayalo to come back, but we know the other Services sides also have a lot of quality.”

With the game sewn up by the break, Osman was pleased with the attitude of his side in the second stanza, while also credting a gutsy away team.

He revealed: “In the second half we wanted to focus on process – work on things we’re trying to put into play like the kick-chase, aspects of defence, and I felt we took more out of that than the first.

“The Irish carried on going, were up for it and kept going right to the end, so it was a good run-out for us.

“We knew in advance they were struggling with unavailability due to operational reasons and injury, especially in the backline, but their pack especially gave a very good account of themselves, the line-out was competitive and we suffered a couple of scrum penalties.”

Feeding into the one black mark on a positive evening was the ongoing discipline issues, the Red Shirts again conceding far too many penalties and also seeing Vereti and Dawson sin-binned.

Osman admitted: “Some of it is over-eagerness, especially in the wrong parts of the pitch where you don’t necessarily get the same leeway you’d get in others.

“When we fall foul of taking the wrong options you then suffer resultant yellow cards.

“We weren’t overly happy at half-time because of the errors we’re continually making with discipline – the definition of stupidity is to make the same mistake over and over again, and we’re shooting ourselves in the foot when we don’t need to do that.

“It’s an area we continue to work on, although not very well when you look at the penalty count when we had such dominance. We’ve got to learn from it and stop conceding 20 penalties per game.”

While Qorowale was the star performer on the night it was his fellow back-three man Davies who ended with a treble, his first for the Army.

And the hat-trick hero reflected: “It was a great team performance. The boys did well and maybe the result didn’t fully reflect the game because the Irish were very physical and brought a challenge to us.

“I don’t score too many tries, but I feel very comfortable at full-back – I played there a lot before moving to 10 so it’s fine.

“It’s great to have guys like Imi and Solo around me – they’re the gas men, I’m normally just a passer!

“We’re still building as a squad, we’ve still got a lot of things to work on, but we’re in a good place and moving forward ready for Inter-Services.”

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