Sweet revenge in rugby competition

By Michael Brooke

Army poured cold water on the Navy centenary of rugby by edging out their arch rival 33-29 in the Australian Services Rugby Union (ASRU) carnival at Sydney’s Victoria Barracks on May 19.

The win gave Army a measure of revenge for their loss in the 2011 ASRU carnival, when Navy scored the winning try in the last minute of play. Army not only won the ASRU Wg-Cmdr John Caldwell Shield, but had 11 players named in the ASRU warriors representative team to face Tasmania in Hobart on July 14.

They are Cfn Adam Nixon, Lt Matthew Hamill, OCdt Hudson Brown, Cpl Issac Harris, Cfn Jeremy Nelson, Pte John Tanuvasa, Cpl Narongchai Jindanapalai, Cpl Harely Whaikawa, Maj Scott Davidson, Lt Luke Ebneter and Sgt Ben Jones.

The ASRU carnival was especially memorable for flanker OCdt Brown, who was named ASRU Rookie for 2012, and inside-centre Cfn Jeremy Nelson, who was named ASRU Player of the Series. Cfn Nelson’s success can be attributed to his blistering speed and attacking prowess. “I’m stoked to get the award as this is my third year with Army rugby and second year with the ASRU Warriors,” he said.

Cfn Nelson said he loved playing rugby because he grew up in New Zealand where rugby is second only to religion. OCdt Brown took pride in being one of the smallest players on the field who never failed to punch above his weight. “I like being the underdog as the smallest forward on the field, which always inspires me to produce a non-stop effort,” he said.

OCdt Hudson, who is also the ADFA team captain, said the superior fitness of the Army members helped them hold off their opponents.

Coach Lt-Col Peter Conroy also acknowledged Maj Scott Davidson’s effective leadership as team captain and Cpl Adrian Sutter’s brave efforts playing with a broken rib. Lt-Col Conroy said discipline, patience and aggression enabled Army to turn a 19-18 half-time lead into a 33-29 victory. “Our reserves were key because we knew the arm wrestle with Navy would intensify in the last 20 minutes, when fatigue was taking its toll on all the players,” he said.

Lt-Col Conroy said patience and discipline were crucial because in 2011 Army conceded 27 penalties to Navy’s 11, which contributed to their heart-breaking two-point loss. “We did a bit of soul-searching after last year’s loss and were extremely well prepared this year,” he said.

Army got their campaign underway with a 51-3 annihilation of Air Force on May 13, which boosted the soldiers’ confidence to pull the ASRU title from Navy’s grasp.

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