Army turns tables for UK Rugby in Defence champs

This article has photo gallery Published on LTCOL Adam Boyd (author), CPL Janine Fabre (photographer)

Location(s): Aldershot

Topic(s): Sport, Rugby Union, Health, Fitness and Wellbeing

The Australian Services Rugby Union men's team battle the British Army team in their first pool match held at Aldershot on 8th October 2015.  (photo: CPL Janine Fabre)
The Australian Services Rugby Union men's team battle the British Army team in their first pool match held at Aldershot on 8th October 2015.

The first round pool match of the 2015 International Defence Rugby Competition between Australian Services Rugby Union and the British Army was an eagerly anticipated replay of the 2011 final. 

The match was played at the home of British Army Rugby Union, at the Aldershot Garrison, under fine conditions and on a lush green pitch, in front of vocal home crowd. 

The British team left no stone unturned with their preparation over the past year, anticipating to take on an Australian team fired up to seek revenge for the 2011 final loss. 

As was the case in 2011, the Australians were outclassed by British Army, eight tries to nil. The final score was 62-0. 

British Army ran away with the game in the second half, after the Australian team had displayed plenty of steel in the first half, restricting the tournament favourites to 19 points at half time. 

Front rower, Royal Australian Navy Leading Seaman Brad Thomas was one of Australia's best during the match. 

“It was a very physical match, especially in the scrum," Leading Seaman Thomas said.

"I think we did quite well in the first half, but overall, we let ourselves down with less than satisfactory ball retention and tackle effectiveness."

Australia's two lead up matches to this year’s championships suggested their second half performance was likely to be better than the first half, so the team was confident of maintaining pace with the British Army after half time. Unfortunately that did not occur.  

Across the match, the damage was inflicted primarily by British Army’s backrow and their two wingers. One of those wingers was Semesa Rokoduguni, who was capped for England in 2014. All of British Army’s eight tries were scored by their backrow and wingers. 

Australian Services Rugby Union had but only a few genuine scoring opportunities. Their most positive period of play occurred midway through the first half when they were camped just short of British Army’s defending try line for several minutes. The Australians threw everything at the opposition during that period, hopeful of eventually finding a crack in their armour. That crack never appeared; not in the first half, nor the second half.

Australian Services Rugby Union’s next match is against the French National Military Team on Monday. They need to win that match to secure a place in the quarter finals. 

Earlier today, France defeated Canadian Armed Forces 82-10. As such, the Australian team can expect a very tough day in the office on Monday.