HMAS Cerberus has won the men’s division of the 2016 Mons Cup rugby union competition, narrowly beating Fleet Base West 10-7 at Randwick Barracks in late March.
HMAS Albatross, favourites to win the cup for the fourth year in a row, only managed fourth after losing 19-7 to HMAS Cairns in the battle for third place and the Wally Long Plate.
The Barbarians won the women’s trophy, accounting for both HMA Ships Adelaide and Success in a round robin format.
Director of Navy Rugby Union, Commander Darren Grogan, said it was one of the most competitive cups in years, with eight men’s and three women’s teams competing from bases and ships all over Australia.
“The standard of both men’s and women’s rugby continues to impress, along with an improvement in the depth of players, most notably in the women’s competition,” he said.
Mons Cup was an important event that supported the Fleet Commander’s intent to pursue programs that test boundaries, develop self-confidence, encourage commitment to the team and promote a war-fighting culture in Navy, Commander Grogan said.
“This year saw the most participating teams for many years, and there would have been more except for Navy’s commitment to Operation FIJI ASSIST,” said Commander Grogan, referring to HMAS Canberra’s deployment to Fiji to provide aid following Tropical Cyclone Winston. Canberra made history last year as the first ship to field both a men’s and women’s side.
“While providing a great platform for unit cohesion and teamwork, Mons Cup fosters a healthy inter-ship and establishment competition that is played and viewed in the best traditions of the sport, presents as an opportunity to make career long mates and affords many a chance to catch up with old shipmates,” Commander Grogan said.
He praised the participating ships and bases for demonstrating their commitment to supporting both the women’s and men’s format of the game.
Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Stuart Mayer attended and was impressed by the standard of play.
He presented the Men’s and Women’s Most Valuable Player awards to Seaman Boatswains Mate Thomas Ketchell and Seaman Marine Technician Michaela Peck respectively.
The Mons Cup is an annual Navy rugby union competition which was first played in 1969 at HMAS Penguin, Sydney.