Monthly Archives: February 2012

Navy Rugby’s Link with CURFC

I have just added three more players to the Navy Rugby Great Players page.  They include Dan Parkes, third most capped player of all time, Spencer Brown who some corresponders believe is part of the answer I set below and one of the most interesting players I have found with Navy Rugby links (who was also a Cambridge University blue), David Bedell-Sivright.


Round Two – Cambridge University

This week sees both the Senior XV and the Mariners continue their preparations for the 2012 Inter Services, their matches against the Royal Air Force and of course the culmination of the season, the Army v Navy match at Twickenham.  Though the Senior’s are away at Grange Rd there will be rugby at Burnaby Rd where the Mariners will host those other Mariners, from Havant.  Navy Rugby’s Mariners will be looking to build on their first match success down in Guzz where they despatched a Devonport Services side.  A full match report can be found here.

The Senior’s will also be looking to continue their success and achieve a rare double over the Varsity sides.  Like the Navy side the light blues of Cambridge also had a win in their last match, despatching the Anti Assassin’s 19-14.  Having lost the Varsity match this year I am quite sure that Cambridge will be looking to use the game to unearth talent ready for their 2012 Oxford encounter and with both sides suited to a running game the width and firmness of the Grange Rd pitch is likely to ensure a fast and open game is played.

There are now eight players on the Navy Rugby Great Players page.  I will be adding four more this week including a couple from the top ten list of all time Navy Capped players.

Proud Heritage

The question for this week is deliberately set from Navy Rugby’s more recent history.

Can you name the last three players to be awarded International Caps in the XV-a-side game who have also worn Navy Rugby’s famous dark blue shirt?  For a bonus point one of the three also has a notable first for the country they played for, what was it?



Wednesday 29 February 2012

Cambridge University v Royal Navy, Grange Rd, Cambridge KO 19:15

Royal Navy Mariners v Havant Mariners, US Portsmouth RFC, Burnaby Rd, Portsmouth KO19:30

Directions to Grange Rd click here.

QBE Announce Winners of Pro Rugby Competition

More Success for HMS Sultan

HMS Sultan @ Royal Navy RUgby Union Knockout Cup Final

They say all good things come in threes. Earlier this season HMS Sultan reached the final of the Navy Rugby’s knockout cup, yesterday they won their regional head of Navy Rugby’s annual 10s competition and to cap it all they have been announced as winners of the QBE Rugby Pro Competition.


The judges were impressed by the commitment and desire to play rugby shown by the players of HMS Sultan.










They were also impressed by HMS Sultan's close affiliation with Naomi House Children's Hospice.

HMS Sultan were one of twelve grassroots clubs to win the award and have won a days coaching provided by London Irish and will also receive £1000 worth of kit.

The announcement on the QBE Rugby website can be found by clicking here.

Community Spirit Wins Through

Further information on Naomi House Children’s Hospice can be found here.

Further action photographs of HMS Sultan from both the knockout cup final and the regional 10s competion can be found on the Rugby page.


Navy Rugby 10s – Portsmouth Regional Heats

Navy Rugby’s 2012 competition started yesterday with three regional heats held in Plymouth, Portsmouth and Scotland. At US Portsmouth five teams took part from HMNB Portsmouth HMS Collingwood, HMS Heron, HMS Sultan and the lone ship representative HMS York.

A full page of images has been posted on the rugby page which can be found here.

The story of the day

In my opinion John Clay was clearly man of the tournament.  Despite missing the final through injury he did enough in the other four matches to earn the title.  Playing at scrum half he brought control to Sultan’s play.  Kept bringing their big runners in to the game, and was often on hand to score the try at the end.

John Clay by far was, for me, the Man of the Tournament

John Clay on way to scoring one his many tries for HMS Sultan


Playing at scrum half John Clay proved to be HMS Sultan's playmaker

And was prepared to do his share of the 'dog'

The Tries

Many great tries were scored during the day. I particularly remember one scored by Sultan in their first game against HMNB Portsmouth. Just after halftime they attacked from deep in their own half down their left flank. The inter passing and off loads allowed them to score from 70m without a meaningful tackle being made. It would have graced any match.

Last season there was some controversy around the ‘Chris Ashton’ swallow dive tries. Now everyone has to start somewhere?

Start of gently not from too great a hight.

Start to extend to full diving position.

Ball grounded when fully extended as superman

Lift legs for added dramatic effect.

Sometimes the try scoring tackle arrived too late but with a Collingwood v Sultan encounter it is never too late….or is it?

I'll just try and hold him up

Its not working

Try Scored

The Humour

This photo stood out for me when editing. The ball has just been popped up out of the attempted tackle to the support runner out of shot.

Caption please?


Sponsored by Raging Bull and with the caption Fit to Fight - clearly HMNB Portsmouth are keen to promote a certain image.


Mark Jones is the 'raging bull' at the bottom of this briefest of scuffles.


Despite a better performance from HMS Heron in the final, HMS Sultan were clearly the team of the competition and deserved their win.

HMNB Portsmouth v HMS Collingwood

HMNB Portsmouth pipped HMS Collingwood to third place. Though they struggled it was great to see HMS York represented at the tournament.

The touchline never misses a tackle. HMS Sultan v HMNB Portsmouth

The reason for Sultan’s success? A well balanced, well coached team.

HMS Sultan repeatedly brought their big running forwards into the game. If John Clay orchestrated the game the forwards ensured that possession and field position was maintained.

HMS Sultan repeatedly brought their big running forwards into the game. If John Clay orchestrated the game the forwards ensured that possession and field position was maintained.

Sultan's forward though they had the size, they were also always looking for the off load or the simple pass.

And Finally

On what ended up as a cold, wet day with an increasing biting wind, thanks should go to the two referees who were ‘watch on, stop on’. Contributed to a good day of rugby.

The Forgotten Man

Finals are on 14 March 2012 in Plymouth

The Greatest Try, Courtesy of the Royal Marines

As promised the answer to last week’s question about great tackles is Lt Haydn Mainwaring RM.  I have added Haydn Mainwaring to the Great Navy Players page with a full description of his tackle on Avril Malan in 1961.  I assure you it is well worth a read.  I am also sure that all followers of Navy Rugby wouldn’t mind a few such tackles on the 18th and 28th April.

The answer to the second question about an historic first is held in abeyance due to the cancellation of the Women’s game at Plymouth on Wednesday.

The Great Navy Players also has two other new entries.  Both are Scottish Internationals namely Cecil Abercrombie and Treymaine Rodd.


Dave Pascoe’s Covering Tackle

Yesterday in the summary of the match I posted one photograph of the covering tackle. Today I have posted the photograph again in the context of the shots I took just before.

Covering tackle from Navy captain Dave Pascoe

Second shot in the sequence with Dave starting at the shorts and working down!

Oxford University fullback stretches for the line

The ball is lost, no try. Score remains 0-0

The try saving tackle set me thinking.  Now I know the youtube generation like to post clips of the ‘big hits’ from rugby union or ‘the greatest tries’ but of course youtube is but a blip in the history of rugby and perhaps we shouldn’t loose sight of the heritage and lore that has long be passed from generation to generation.  It gives rise to the second of my questions on the rich history to be found in Navy Rugby.

Proud Heritage Quiz

Which former Navy player and Royal Marine is acknowledged to have made one of the best and most important tackles in the history of the game.  I will give the answer next week when I add him in on to the Navy Rugby Great Players page.

Also I will let you know whether another first in Navy history was recorded when the RN(W) take on Plymouth Albion on Wednesday.

Finally congratulations to the Mariners who also won on Wednesday night.  The RN Rugby twitter  is showing a 33-26 win over Devonport Services with Arty Shaw named as man of the match!


Royal Navy 10 Oxford University 0


For the full official match report please click here.

First outing for the RN and a satisfying one, home win, preventing the opposition from scoring, senior players performing well and youngsters looking to take their chances.  Only downside was the injuries to a few of the players.


Team worked very hard for each other in defence and this was typified by an early try saving tackle by captain Dave Pascoe.

In attack the team created a number of openings for themselves but had to wait until just before half time to get their first score.


Capitalising on Oxford University being reduced to fourteen men a simple 8, 9 14 from a scrum allowed the try in the corner for Roko Kurusasa who regrettably didn’t finish the match due to a serious looking injury following a midfield collision.  Dave Pascoe kicked the conversion from the touchline for a 7-0 half time lead.

The game proved to be a scrappy affair.  Both sides had a player placed in the sin bin in the first half and also each had a player sent off in the second.  For the Navy it was gentle giant Jorgi Quarnivalu being flagged by the Assistant Referee whilst in the second half it was Tom Glover being despatch for an altercation with the Oxford scrum half.


Clearly all the action was getting to the Match Officials’ assessor who felt in need of one of those ‘condor’ moments.

Andy Kellett, in his first match as DoR, probably found the result all the more satisfying given the number of injuries his team had to deal with during the game.  The whole back row had to be changed before halftime and the second half saw further injuries in the back line.  It is always sad to see a player leave the field on a stretcher and hopefully Roko will have a full and speedy recovery.


What was particularly pleasing was right to the end the Navy worked hard for each other to keep their goal line intact.  A number of players can be very pleased with their performances and the coaching and support team have the best of starts from which to build.



Full match album will be on the site’s rugby page from Friday.

Next week the RN Women play Plymouth Albion on Wednesday 22 February.  It is also likely to be a historic occasion and another first for Navy Rugby.  It will be the first time what has happened since 1907?


Proud Heritage Answer

As with most research, answers are always open to debate.  There is anecdotal evidence that the famous Navy and England scrum half of the 1920’s Cecil Kershaw, also played for Oxford University.  However this does not seem to be feasible when placed against his Service record.  Regrettably there does not seem to be a definitive list of all Oxford University ‘blues’.

A number of Service rugby players attended both Oxford and Cambridge Universities after WWI, funded in part by what would now be called the Ministry of Defence.

For more details on Cecil Kershaw and some other Navy great rugby players please click here.

Navy Rugby 2012 – Intro

Navy Cup – check

Inter Command – check

U23 Inter Services – check

And so another season and another Inter Service campaign starts with the Navy Senior XV taking on Oxford University at the famous Burnaby Road home of US Portsmouth RFC.  When the fixture list was announced this match was due to be the third of the three Service sides fixtures against the Dark Blues however having beaten the RAF 29-10 at Iffley Rd on 25th January last week’s proposed fixture agains the Army was cancelled due to the weather.  The Oxford University team  contains eight blues and despite having some mixed results earlier in the season they won the game that matters most to them beating Cambridge University 28-10 in the 2011 Varsity Match.  The Navy have announced a team containing six capped players with one more on the bench.  Full team announcement is on the Navy Rugby Website.

For all the oggies out there who are unable to travel to US then get to the Rectory, home of  Devonport Services RFC where the RNRU’s Mariners will also be having their first outing of the season against DSRFC Vets.

The RNRU’s Women team start their campaign next week.  All the representative fixtures can be found on the Navy Rugby Unions website fixture page.

A full photo gallery from the Senior match will be available on this site from Friday.

Royal Navy v Oxford University @ US Portsmouth RFC, Wednesday 15th February 2012. 19:15KO

Proud Heritage Quiz

Name the capped Royal Navy player who also won a blue for Oxford University and a Grand Slam with England.