Army Women Crush Air Force

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Army won the match, 77 – 0, scoring 13 tries, six in the first half and seven in the second half. In a 70-minute match, that’s an average of one try every 5 minutes and 22 seconds, which, for the uninitiated, is no mean feat. It was the second biggest winning margin in the 19-year history of women’s matches at the Australian Services Rugby Championships (since 1997), behind last year’s 85-0 demolition by Army over Air Force.

Army was simply too strong, too fast, and too experienced for their Air Force counterparts. Combinations by the backs worked, gaps were exploited, passes stuck, the forwards executed effective charges in tight play, and almost every scoring opportunity was seized. Army scored their first try at the 3 minute mark, and their last try in the final minute of the match. Eight of Army’s tries were scored by their backs, the remaining five by their forwards. Army entered Air Force’s 22m zone on about 15 occasions across the match; they scored 13 times. That’s a pretty clinical effort. On the other hand, Air Force only entered Army’s 22m zone on one occasion, at the 65 minute mark, and that encounter was brief. The final 5 minutes of the match saw Air Force achieve sustained possession of the ball in their attacking half for the only time in the game, but it was snuffed out when Army five eight, Lucy Lockhart, intercepted the ball and dashed 60m to score under the posts. She then converted her try, bringing her overall match tally to 17 points (1 try, 6 conversions).

Army’s Wallaroos, Alisha Hewett at lock and Mollie Gray at no.8, were expected to have a significant impact on the match, and they did. They each scored two tries, and made numerous effective charges with the ball. A wise, older spectator sitting next to me thought Alisha Hewett was particularly effective with her straight, hard ball running.

Player of the match, based on feedback from the coaching collective, was Army prop, Lieutenant Danielle Cahill. The Army Coach thought she was relentless in attack and defence for the entire 70 minutes. ASRU coaching staff echoed the Army Coach’s assessment, adding she made significant impact at the line. She was followly closely by Army captain and openside flanker, Hayley Robinson, and Army outside centre, Courtney Kerr. Hayley led from the front, scored one try, made good yards on several occasions with the ball in hand, and was also highly effective in defence. Courtney was rock solid with her line running and her offloads to support players.

The notable performance for Air Force was Brodie Stewart at hooker. Despite Air Force being on the back foot for most of the match, Brodie still attempted to make an impact in the tight contest, amongst the forwards. She executed a number of strong tackles, and had a strong ball carry. Air Force did win one key statistic from the match; the penalty count, around 11 – 6.

Army - Courtney Holmwood, fullback (3 tries); Alisha Hewett, lock (2 tries); Mollie Gray, no. 8 (2 tries); Laura Fletcher, wing (2 tries); Hayley Robinson, flanker (1 try); Lucy Lockhart, five eight (1 try, 6 conversions), Talesha Quinn, centre (1 try); Sheree Smith, wing (1 try).

Air Force – no scorers.

Best player points: Danielle Cahill, Army prop (3); Hayley Robinson, Army flanker (2); Courtney Kerr, Army outside centre (1).

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