The Australian Defence Force Rugby Union men’s team is in New Zealand to play the French Armed Forces and New Zealand Defence Force representative teams in a tri-nations competition.
The highly competitive squad was selected following the Australian Defence Championships earlier in the year and two Brisbane matches, one against a Queensland Suburban team and the now annual fixture against an Australian Police side.
Leading up to these matches, the team also benefited from a training session with the Queensland Reds under the direction of Reds’ Head Coach Nick Stiles and Defensive Coach Jason Gilmore.
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Edmund Tomsana from HMAS Darwin said he felt privileged to spend time with the Queensland Reds team.
“The wealth of knowledge those guys have is incredible and we were really fortunate to have some of it imparted on us,” Able Seaman Tomsana said.
“I know we will take everything we learnt onto the field in New Zealand.”
The first Brisbane match against Queensland Suburban on 9 August, allowed Head Coach, Sapper Keli Fukofuka to give his development players a good hit out against a quality side.
“Only 6 of the 24 man squad that played in the Queensland Suburban match were current Australian Defence Force representative players,” Sapper Fukofuka said.
“We made Queensland fight for their 17-15 win and I couldn’t be happier with the way they came together during the match.”
On 11 August the Defence side fielded a much more experienced team against a determined Australian Police team, who were still smarting from their drilling last year.
It wasn’t Australian Police’s day however and Australian Defence Force Rugby Union convincingly won 45-0.
“The boys were very clinical in the first half and earned the right to play an expansive game,” Sapper Fukofuka said.
“The second half was closely contested, but the defence from our boys was first class and the police were unable to cross out line even after sustained pressure.
“We were extremely proud of the commitment of the boys to attack and defend especially when we were reduced to 14 men.”
The team will play against the French Armed Forces on 23 August and the New Zealand Defence Force on 26 August.
The team feels their preparation has put them in good stead to have success in both of their international fixtures.
Captain of the team Lieutenant Joshua Friend said he was proud of how the team had worked together over the past month.
“This is an excellent opportunity to represent the Australian Defence Force at an international level against teams with proud histories such as the French and the New Zealanders,” Lieutenant Friend said.
“I believe that the team has really come together over the last week and a half of our training camp and while we don’t get to practice together often, each and every player will give their best and I think we will come away with some success.”