Britannia Royal Navy College winners of the Royal Navy Rugby Cup

  • Author: Nichola Winstanley
  • Date: Thursday 15th January 2015
Britannia Royal Navy College winners of the Royal Navy Rugby Cup Britannia Royal Navy College winners of the Royal Navy Rugby Cup

In December the BRNC Rugby Team, coached by Petty Officer (Physical Trainer) Stephen Fidock, faced the strong opposition of HMS Seahawk in the final of the Royal Navy Rugby Cup, securing the win by 12 points to 7, the first time in 14 years.

With the match played under the flood lights at Devonport Combined Services Rugby Club, in Plymouth, both teams made a scrappy start with a number of handling errors.  HMS Seahawk showed the dominance that would continue throughout the game in the scrum, with the lighter pack of BRNC repeatedly being pushed back. However, in the open play and at the break down, the determination and speed of the BRNC team allowed them to clear their lines and apply pressure which led to a number of penalties being award against HMS Seahawk during the breakdown.

HMS Seahawk were the first to score after 17 minutes with a try and a conversion to make the score 7 - 0.  Five minutes later a more focused Dartmouth side levelled the score at 7 – 7 with an accurate cross field kick by Midshipman (Mid) Dane Smallbone putting Mid Daz Pounder in for a BRNC try, which Smallbone then successfully converted from the touchline. In the 34th minute Mid Joe Adams broke the Seahawk defensive line to score BRNC’s second try. With the conversion kick missed the score remained at 12 – 7 to BRNC for the rest of the half.  

As the game re-started the building pressure from BRNC continued for the first 25 minutes, with the College team forcing HMS Seahawk to give away penalties during the breakdown and continuing to break the gain line with aggressive running by the centres.  Into the final 15 minutes HMS Seahawk started to show more attacking flare, creating a number of line breaks. However, the final pass never delivered a score.  

Despite HMS Seahawk camped in the BRNC half for the final part of the game, and within a converted try of victory, it finally came down to a turn over ball that allowed BRNC to clear their lines and win the game.

The Commanding Officer of BRNC Captain Henry Duffy said:  “This is the first time in a long time that BRNC has fielded a team into the Navy Cup competition as we re-introduce competitive sport into the College curriculum.  This is not a team built over years nor is it picked from a cast of thousands at, say, an air station.  The pool we have to choose from is a shallow one in numbers but not in talent and I am extraordinarily proud of them.”

BRNC played the Royal Marines of 42 Commando (Cdo) in the semi-final beating them by 10 points to six, just two days before they faced HMS Seahawk.  The team reached the semis after wins against HMS Triumph and the Commando Training Centre, Lympstone.

Capt Duffy said:  “The team were up against tough opposition in all their games and were definitely the under-dogs, but I think that was their secret weapon; they weren’t expected to win.  To be successful in the Royal Navy you need courage, commitment, discipline, trust in each other and team work; attributes which are as valuable in the heat of operations as they are in competitive sport and these guys proved they have it all in spades.”

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