Royal Navy 116 – Canada 0
With the score board showing a Nelson, the RN leading 111 – 0, Canada were enjoying some rare possession as they broke up field. The continuity that they had lacked was found and the, until then, resolute defence of the Navy was breached. A try under the posts? Alas no; referee Paul Mente saw the second movement after the tackle and instead of Canada celebrations they were once more defending for their lives, as the Navy broke the length of the field and hooker Harry Collins completed the hosts scoring with a flourish and dive in to the left corner. Final score Royal Navy 116 Canada 0.
The result was never going to be in doubt. Through out the squads the Navy had too much rugby no how, pace and up front technical ability. On the whole they paid the Canada Armed Forces the respect of playing simple, direct rugby without recourse to individual selfishness. The Canada side left nothing on the field, as their work rate in, almost continuous defence, was enduring as was their desire to take the game back to the Navy on those rare occasions when they secured the ball.
The Navy scores were all a reflection of the teamwork they brought to the match.
Time and time again they created space through strong running and passing before contact. First Johnny Stephen and then Cory Moore enjoyed a surfeit of front foot possession and it is rare that the fly halves, Richard Cadywould and then Nathan Huntley will have enjoyed such time on the ball to weigh up their options. For Canada they simply could not contain the variety of attacks that were sent their way. Sucked in to with stand the strong running forwards led by skipper Dave Fairbrother and ably backed up by Jarred Hayler they conceded scores out wide to Darren Bamford. When they cut down the width to the backs it opened up holes for the forwards to drive through. With thirteen tries between the three of them they grabbed the headlines but this was a true team performance.
For Canada there was disappointment and concern. Disappointment that they didn’t cross the line at the end to get a try, which their spirit deserved. And concern as to the welfare of their popular lock forward, Justin Gibbs. The big second row was stretchered off just before half time but was fortunately released from hospital later in the evening after a CAT scan revealed no serious damage.
Royal Navy: Josh Terry, Harry Collins, Tom Blackburn, John Lamsin, Edd Pascoe, Ben Fox, Jarrad Hayler, Dave Fairbrother (C), Johnny Stephen, Richard Cadywould, Matt Bowden, Silvenusi Buinimasi, Sam Davies, Greg Welling, Darren Bamford
Replacements: Ian Cooper, John Court, Joe Burton, Stew Bartllett, Cory Moore, Nathan Huntley, Matt Tichias, Jon Humphrey
Canada: Chris Wood (C), Brett Borix, Andy Nash, Justin Gibbs, Shawn Hollett, Matt Haynes, Eric Young, Alistair Klima, Connor Severin, Brett McIntyre, Jesse LeBlanc, Mike Dunning, Conor Anson-Cartwright, Chris Manning, Richard Garcia
Replacements: Pat Wight, Andrew McCracken, Marc Jacquard, Craig Murphy, Mat Waterman, Craig Warr, Harley Fletcher, Park Horton
Referee: Paul Mente (South Africa) Ass Refereees Gerwyn Taylor (ARURS), Kitione Ligavatu (Fiji)