Six-year inter-service rugby win streak ends

By LCpl Mark Doran

A converted try three minutes before the end of the game sank the hearts and hopes of a gallant Army men’s team as they surrendered a six year domination of inter-service rugby to Navy at Viking Park in Canberra on May 21.

In a complete turnaround, Navy’s forwards dominated play and used their strength to win the match 25-22.

The sailors dominated possession and territory for much of the first half and made the most of their opportunities by scoring the first two tries of the match.

Army showed patches of potency mainly through its outside backs and responded by scoring two tries which had the soldiers trailing 15-12 at half-time.

For most of the second half the match was balanced, but the Army attacks encountered strong Navy defence. Army scored a converted try to lead 22-18 late in the second half. A try in the corner and successful conversion by LS Adam Powell close to the end of the game ended any hope of making it seven in a row.

Assistant coach Maj Peter Conroy said the Army men’s team tried to play an expansive game and the backs demonstrated plenty of attacking flair.

“Unfortunately they were not well supported by the forwards which allowed Navy to successfully slow their attack and minimise their opportunities,” he said. “Navy had done their homework on Army’s defence and were quite enterprising in their attack.”

A combined Navy/Air Force women’s team defeated Army 10-5. The teams traded blows for most of the match – one minute Navy/Air Force was on the attack only for Army to respond by launching a counter-attack.

The Navy/Air Force team scored the first and last tries of the match with the final strike being delivered with a try close to full-time.

The Army women’s team had just finished its tour of New Zealand before the Services Rugby Championship. This was the first tour made by the women’s team in six years.

Open side flanker Capt Kate Porter said the Army women were hoping to use their fitness against Navy/Air Force by controlling the ball within the forward pack before spreading it out wide.

“During the game we realised our set piece play was considerably more reliable than the opposition’s, although an attempt was made to take advantage of that, we were unfortunately unable to capitalise and the ball was often lost,” Capt Porter said.

Army women’s coach Maj Stan Carnes said the team’s best players on the day were Cpls Penny Dukes, Mollie Gray, and Kelly Boye.

“Cpl Gray and Cpl Boye played at a high standard and received points in the games we played on the NZ tour,” Maj Carnes said.

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