Past-times should never come between nations, but when rugby is on the cards, Australians and Kiwis have to take sides. Navy sides from both nations left nothing on the field in a recent fixture in Western Australia.
Five men’s teams, including a combined team from New Zealand ships Te Kaha and Endeavour, plus two womens teams competed with an old salts team also having a run against the locals.
Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer, and Fleet Command Warrant Officer Stephen Downey, spent their afternoon between fields, soaking up the atmosphere and admiring the skills and competitive spirit on show.
The first game was hard fought between HMA Ships Melbourne and Success. Success played with better structure around the ruck which was managed by Able Seamen Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Jack McMillan and Will Halafia moving the ball into space.
Melbourne, led by Seaman Combat Systems Operator Jake McPherson running the ball, were very enthusiastic, but were well matched by solid defence that allowed Success to take the honours.
Melbourne were at it again against Parramatta and then Darwin and the evasiveness of Seaman Boatswain's Mate Thomas Ketchell and Able Seaman Maritime Logistics - Supply Chain Julian Lee was notable.
Adelaide then played against the combined Kiwi side, showing good structure with Seaman Marine Technician Bryce Dwyer managing a big forward pack from five eighth.
The Kiwis achieved better completion in the rare chances that were offered which secured them the victory.
Adelaide showed they will be serious contenders for the upcoming Mons Cup on 31 March with forwards Seaman Marine Technician Gibson Pearson, Able Seaman Aircraft Technician Aircraft Aisake Nadredre and Leading Seaman Aviaton Technician Aircraft James Meredith leading the way.
The Fleet Base West Tammars proved there was sbenefit of having a couple of training runs together.
Against Adelaide they focussed on keeping the ball in hand which they were able to execute well through mainatining structure and therefore continuity.
Leading Seaman Marine Technician Daryl Seden controlled the game from number 10 continually finding holes for Seaman Marine Technician Kane Coyne in the centres.
Adelaide did utilise the wind well keeping the Tammars scoreless for some time but the possession and retention the Tammars managed was too much in the end.
Standouts were Leading Seaman Aircraft Technician Aircraft Alexander Wilson, Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Brad Thomas, and Able Seaman Marine Technician Erik Schneider.
The Tammars continuity led by Leading Seaman Marine Technician - Submarines Rhys Fowler and Able Seaman McMillan allowed them to maintain possession throughout the game removing the threat of a very fast Darwin and Parramatta backline.
A couple of stand out runs from Leading Seaman Electronics Technician - Submarines Shayne O'Reilly and Leading Seaman Boatswains Mate Bradley Gibb led to good scores.
Success fought hard in the last game against the Kiwis. They threw themselves at the try line but couldn’t overcome stout defence by the Kiwis.
Again it was the ability of the Kiwis to complete their opportunities that was the difference in the end.
Royal Australian Navy Rugby Union Head Coach Warrant Officer Communication and Information Systems Dave Carter welcomed the tough competition.
“The standard of play was very high,” he said.
“Fourteen new players have been invited to the Rugby Union development camp and will be considered for national representative honours at the forthcoming Australian Defence Force Rugby Championships.
“Special mentions go to Seaman Boatswain's Mates Eddie Tomsana and Isaac Ingui in the backs, while in the engine room Leading Seaman Electronics Technician Bradley Thomas, Leading Seaman Gibb, Leading Seaman Wilson and Seaman Marine Steward Jacob Crosland were impressive,” he said.
A well fought womens match took place between the Adelaide and a Ba Baas team, big hits and sleek skills were displayed during the fixture.
Adelaide fielded a full side with 22 players which augers well for Mons Cup and nationals to be contested in Brisbane in early May. Command Warrant Officer Downey said it was “terrific” to watch.
“The contest was brutal, there was much more interest in that fixture than the men’s matches,” he said.
The Western Australian chapter of the Navy's 'Old Salts' was hosted by a combined Rockingham Rocking Chairs and Mandurah Prawns. The Old Salts team was made up of Fleet Base West and visiting players.
Even though the final score was 9-all, the Old Salts displayed a plethora of ball skills and amazing fitness in their domination of the opposition.